Cosplay Cafés are tea shops or small restaurants where the waitstaff's costumes (and frequently the decor and food) are themed around a scenario or fantasy. They typically offer cold and hot tea and coffee drinks, fancy desserts and light meals, often highly decorated and "cutesy", served with Fan Service With A Smile.
A Maid Café features attractive waitresses who dress and "perform" as obsequious and obedient maids. A Butler Café is similar but with "butlers" and "footmen". Waitstaff at Maid and Butler cafés usually use extra-polite language, including the obligatory greeting "Welcome home, Master / Mistress!"
Cosplay Cafés feature a wide variety of other themes, such as "Little Sister", "Miko", "Tsundere", "railway café", etc. Other specialties include "josou" (female clothing) cafés, featuring cute guys in pretty dresses, and "dansou" (male clothing) cafés, featuring Bifauxnen women in male drag. (Many Butler cafés are dansou cafés.)
School Festivals frequently feature cafés as a class activity, and there is a better-than-even chance it'll be modeled after a Maid Café (or possibly a Butler Café if the class is mostly male).
For the more "adult" version, see Hostess Club / Host Club. Frequently uses French Maid Outfit. Compare Fan Service With A Smile. If a couple goes to one together, the menu is extremely likely to include a Date Crêpe and perhaps some Sweetheart Sipping.
- Ai Kora: In chapter 15, Maeda's buddy Shibusawa suddenly becomes obsessed with moe girls, and takes Maeda to a maid cafe.
- And Yet the Town Moves: The main character gets a job in a maid cafe, slice-of-life and mystery-solving ensues.
- In Asteroid in Love, the Earth Sciences Club's exhibit during Mira's first year involved having a classroom turned into a cafe with exhibits related to astronomy and geology, while the members dress up as meido and serve desserts from the Suzuya Bakery. Most of the members are embarrassed by their costumes, but for a Club Stub visibility is key to their continued survival.
- Beelzebub: A high school culture festival Maid Cafe appears during the volleyball arc.
- Blend-S is a Work Com surrounding one. Specifically, while the waitresses don't dress up beyond the norm for waitresses, they play up different stock female character archetypes, like having a Tsundere or Imouto waitress.
- Bodacious Space Pirates: Marika Kato and her best friend work at a Maid Cafe, although they seem to act like ordinary waitresses.
- Chrome Shelled Regios: One of these is popular in Zuellni, particularly with the male students. Felli tries to get a job there. Hilarity Ensues. Later on, both Layfon and the 17th frequent it.
- In one of the Code Geass school festivals, Shirley's swim club does a swimsuit cafe.
- In a poster from the "Ashford Academy School Festival"-themed calendar, Shirley, Nina, Kallen, and Lelouch are dressed as maids/butler for one of these.
- Excel Saga: "Teriha" (actually an amnesiac Excel) wants to repay Dr. Shiouji for letting her stay at his lab. So her friend Umi, who is a Cosplay Otaku Girl, gets her a job at a maid cafe.
- Genshiken: In an omake short in the manga, Sasahara and Oguie go on an "otaku date", in which they visit a Maid Cafe. Ogiue comments that it is a surprisingly normal cafe, and Sasahara makes a comment to the effect of "From media coverage, you'd think it was like a hostess club".
- Girls und Panzer features a Tank Cafe, complete with waitresses in military uniforms, service call buttons that make tank cannon sounds, and cakes shaped like tanks, served by motorized miniature tank recovery vehicles.
- Hana-Kimi: In the Japanese Live-Action TV adaptation, the students decide to have a Maid Cafe for a school event. With all the guys dressing up in maid costumes to gain more female customers.
- Happy Boys: A Shoujo manga about five apprentice butlers (all hot, of course) in a Butler Cafe.
- The manga is adapted from a drama of the same name, the cast made up of a few actors who went on to star in Kamen Rider Kiva a year after it aired.
- Is the Order a Rabbit?: Syaro works at one of these and frequently wears a Meido-style uniform.
- Is This a Zombie?: Ayumu visits a Tsundere Cafe and ends up in a competition where he has to get each of the maids to show their dere side, with increasing difficulty.
- Kaguya's class does a cosplay cafe during the culture festival in Kaguya-sama: Love is War. Hayasaka just ends up wearing her actual maid outfit.
Subaru: Wow, Ai-chan, you're really in character!
Hayasaka: Thank you. I've spent a long time getting it perfect.
- Maid-Sama!: The heroine works in a maid cafe, and her coworkers are significant secondary characters. A rival butler cafe appears in Volume 5.
- In Kitsune No Yomeiri, the Golden Fox was a maid café opened by Kyouka's mother Kyouko as the first step in her plan to create a Kitsune kingdom in the Human World. It did good business due to Kyouko's aggressive advertising and her use of Kyouka as a waitress. Unfortunately, Kyouka burnt the building down after getting mad at some jerkass customers and accidently set fire to the magically transformed leaves the café was made from.
- K-On!: Ritsu proposes a Maid Cafe for their first year festival, as Mio is really suited to the look. "The adorable power of cute compels you!" The second season actually goes whole-hog and does the real thing.
- In Love Live!, this is Kotori's secret part-time job. Then, the rest of the group finds out, and they all work there for a day. Like almost everything else in the series, it's based on a real place in Akihabara - Cure Maid Cafe, which had a poster outside of the μ's girls in their maid dresses.
- Love Me For Who I Am takes place in a crossdressing maid cafe. Despite that, not everyone at the cafe is cisgender. The protagonist is nonbinary (which is why they struggled with whether they should work at the cafe), a co-worker is a trans girl, and the owner is a trans woman.
- In Lucky Star, Konata works at one as a part-time job, and it's later revealed that Patty works there as well. In episode 16 of the anime, the other main characters go to visit Konata during her shift, and she and Patty are respectively dressed like Haruhi and Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya. Konata even acts like Haruhi when serving her friends, complete with imitating Haruhi's voice (which is an Actor Allusion, since Konata and Haruhi are voiced by the same actresses in both Japanese and English).
- Maid Shokun: The main character gets a job in a maid cafe, Girls' Love ensues.
- The first scene of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid features two girls advertising the cafe that the work at. Tohru based her maid outfit off of their uniforms. This scene only occurs in the anime. She also gets a job at a separate cafe in manga by complete accident and quickly becomes the head chef (but quits soon afterwards because she's only interested in being subservient to Kobayashi).
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi: During the preparations for Mahorafest, Misa puts forth the idea of making a "No panties cafe". The author's notes explain it is a cafe where the maids have no undergarments... and the floor is full of mirrors. No wonder the girls shot it down immediately. ("Nopan clubs" are a Real Life form of Hostess Club, but not usually a feature of Maid Cafes.)
- Non Non Biyori has the cast do an animal cafe for their cultural festival. Only one character dresses up as something one may expect from a cafe like this, as a cat - the other costumes include a giraffe that's mistaken for a robot, a paper bag with cardboard ears taped to it, and a full-body raccoon.
- Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!: The cast visits one in the first episode of Nyarko San W (rather, Nyarko drags Mahiro there). The cafe allows amateur karaoke and holds a rock-paper-scissors tournament in order to form an AKB48-style group. Of course, everything goes to hell when Nyarko and Cuuko end up the finalists and turn the tournament into a brawl, ending when they perform Fourze and Meteor's Rider Kicks on each other.
- Omamori Himari: Lizbet is a full-time maid in a Maid Cafe (as she is the spirit of the owner's antique teacup), and Himari works there part-time - as a Cat Girl maid (the customers think that she's cosplaying).
- Ouran High School Host Club: Although they call themselves a "host club", they're really more of a butler cafe. The Club also frequently wear themed costumes when the mood strikes their leader, such as a tropical island, European knight, or ancient Japan.
- In Outbreak Company, when Shinichi takes Myucel, an actual fantasy half-elf maid, to Akihabara, they go to a maid cafe, and she shows the maid there how it's done.
- Pokémon: The "Tanks for the Memories!" episode of the anime sees the gang helping out at a Maid Cafe because the joint was temporarily understaffed (Brock was training one of the maids working there). This results in Dawn, Ash (again!) and even some of their mons dressing up in Meido outfits.
- Saki: Mako's family owns a Maid Cafe. Naturally, some of the other characters end up helping as waitresses.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: Tsundere Cafe, where the waitresses are Tsunderes, of course! (Since the manga was written, this has been defictionalized.)
- Sing "Yesterday" for Me: Haru works at a cafe which mostly seems like a normal cafe, but Haru (and not any of the other employees), wears a Meido outfit for some reason.
- Sket Dance: Himeko's class does a Maid Cafe for their School Festival.
- The Mew Mew Café from Tokyo Mew Mew is a Maid Cafe (although it is never stated to be one in-universe).
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: A Maid Cafe shows up during the first post-Time Skip episode; interestingly enough, all the waitresses were girls who, in the first episode, scoffed at and teased poor Simon.
- Usotsuki Lily: The students do two crossdressing cafes during a school festival, with the girls as butlers and the boys as girls respectively.
- Welcome to the N.H.K.: In the otaku episode, the main characters visit a Maid Cafe.
- Welcome To Relish (Cafe Relish ni Oide): A Boys' Love Genre romance set in a cosplay cafe (with the guys stuffed into a lot of cute outfits, nach).
- We Never Learn has one called "High Stage", where Asumi works to pay the bills. Several other characters work there temporarily for various reasons.
- Xxx HO Li C: CLAMP couldn't pass up the opportunity to provide fanservice and kink, so in the xxxHOLiC/Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- crossover High School A.U. (go figure), the students set up a Maid Cafe for the school festival. Cue a heap of dojinshi with the guys dressing up as maids instead. There is also official artwork of Kurogane and Fai dressed as maids◊. Fai is beaming.
- Yubisaki Milk Tea: Minamo decide that the class should do a crossdress cafe for the school festival with Wataru and Kodama as the maids. During the festival Yoshinori remarks that Kodama looks okay, but that Wataru is too tall to pass for a girl. But Minamo answer that the point is to make people laugh, unlike when Yoshinori is crossdressing as Yuki. Yoshinori ends up joining them as a very good looking girl (though not as Yuki). The result is that the cafe suddenly get a lot more customers due to the cute "girl".
- In The Voynich Hotel, one of the maid Elena's dreams is to visit a maid café in Akibahara.
- Kingdom Come has Planet Krypton, a Planet Hollywood-esque restaurant in which the servers dress in Silver Age-y variations of the more popular DC Superheroes' costumes.
- As Nano: One series of strips in the Lyrical Nanoha Fan Webcomic A's Nano had Hayate "persuading" the Wolkenritter to take part in a Costume Cafe, much to the horror◊ of Signum and Reinforce.
- In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash remarks at one point that maid outfits seem the common attire for Kanto waitresses, with the Kalosian style being the most popular.
- Fujoshi Kanojo: The female lead is obsessed with maid cafes, among her many otaku interests (the manga changes this to butler cafes, possibly to better appeal to the female readers of the Shoujo magazine in which it ran).
- Maid Machinegun: The main character gets a job in a maid cafe; deeply nerdy otaku-ism ensues.
- In the Kamen Rider Kiva episode where Otoya (for no clearly explained reason) possesses his son Wataru's body in 2008, he discovers maid cafes and considers them one of the best things the 21st century has to offer.
- Kamen Rider OOO: The Cous Coussier is a major location. Not only is a cosplay cafe, but it's one where the theme changes every day (or at least every time we see it), mostly at the whim of the owner.
- Maid in Akihabara is a Japanese television series set in a Maid Cafe.
- The base of operations in Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger is a Sentai-themed cosplay cafe, Himitsukichi ("Secret Base").
- J-Rock quintet Band-Maid derive their image (and name) from founder Miku Kobato's experience as a waitress at the NOODOL cafe in Akihabara.
- Persona 3: The Main Character's ever-original classmates decide to do a Maid Cafe for their School Festival. Yukari dreads it from the depths of her spirit because it means wearing a maid uniform; Junpei and the rest of the male schoolmates look forward to this cherished event. Alas, a typhoon rips through Iwatodai and the School Festival is canceled, to the endless grief of said schoolmates (and the Main Character is also asked if he mourns the loss.) In Portable, when playing as the female MC, the player can choose the text option "I'm looking forward to it!" (refering to Yukari wearing a maid outfit). This makes Yukari blush!
- In Persona 5, the School Festival features one such café, which serves microwaved takoyaki, including a "Russian Takoyaki" with one extremely spicy takoyaki in the set of six. There's also a maid café in Akihabara, where you can spend time and money to increase your Charm stat, as well as other stats depending on how you react to the mistakes that your servers make.
- In Yandere Simulator Yan-chan can work at a Maid Cafe after school to earn money to purchase things.
- Amnesia: Memories: The Meido no Hitsuji café the characters work in is a maid-and-butler café. Unlike the typically-expected French Maid version, the waitresses wear a black, patterned kimono with a red, frilly apron.
- In Girls Beyond the Wasteland, Teruha works in a maid cafe, as Buntarou finds out when he visits one while in Akihabara.
- Steins;Gate features a maid café where, just for added otakuness, the maids are also catgirls. Two of the lead characters, Mayuri and Faris, work there.
- Tokimeki Memorial 2: In Kaori Yae's storyline, the School Festival activity your class will choose to do will be a Maid Cafe, allowing you to see an Event showing Kaori having fun acting as a waitress donning this costume, as part of her She's Back Character Development arc. The event is also revisited in the Novelization of this character's storyline, Anata o Shinjiteru.
- Otoko no Ko wa Meido Fuku ga Osuki!?: Four brothers, Nao, Yuki, Tomo and Rio, crossdress as maids in their family's cafe Cherry Girls. The customers are fully aware of the crossdressing, but that doesn't prevent some of them to wanting to do perverted things with the "maids".
- The Local Hangout in Harem Prince combines this and a manga cafe. Resulting in Manga Maid.
- One of the clips spliced into Where the hell is Matt? features Matt doing his dance with the employees of a Maid Cafe in Japan.
- Batman and Harley Quinn: "Superbabes", the sleazy diner where Nightwing finds Harley Quinn working at where the waitresses wear skimpy versions of superheroine/supervillainess costumes. Harley herself is wearing a Stripperific version of her own costume (and detests it) to keep heat off her in Gotham.
- The most well-known "Maid Cafe" is Anna Miller's.
- Maid Cafes are so well-known, a classier, more upmarket "CosCafe" has opened in Singapore at the CHJIMES building, while another more moe-oriented meido cafe has opened at the fifth floor of the Funan IT Mall, conveniently surrounded by shops selling anime goods.
- A meido kissa has opened up in Los Angeles. As did one in Detroit called "Chou Anime". Unfortunately, both of these cafes have closed down due to lackluster business.
- Some anime conventions in the United States have capitalized on the trendiness of maid cafes by running pop-up cafes out of the convention hall. These cafes are typically staffed by volunteers/ convention attendees who serve pre-made snacks and drinks to their clientele. Some even have rehearsals before the cafe opens so the "maids" can learn synchronized dances to entertain the customers.
- Employees of Chick-Fil-A often dress up as cows themselves on Cow Appreciation Day.