The cultural phenomenon that is Hello Kitty has opened a few popups in the United States over the last few years. These mini “cafe stands” served treats and beverages inspired by the animated feline and were beacons for fans to venture forth, visit, and get to know one another through a shared love of the iconic cat. Now, Hello Kitty is finally opening her own brick and mortar location complete with a secret immersive experience for enthusiasts to enjoy: a hidden Hello Kitty tea room and speakeasy.
Located in Irvine, CA, the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe front of house features fresh baked cakes, cookies, donuts, beverages, merchandise, and apparel — all inspired by the beloved Sanrio character.
In the back of the cafe, tucked away against the far wall, is an inconspicuous white door where a single golden bow hangs. When you knock on it, the door opens, transporting you to the wonderland known as the Hello Kitty Bow Room.
It turns out that magic comes in all shapes and sizes, including the form of a tiny white Japanese cat. Who knew?
By day, the secret space operates as a tea room that serves Hello Kitty bites and teas. Afternoon tea assortments include paprika-smoked egg salad in a cone, cucumber bread with dill cream cheese, smoked salmon served with cream cheese on a pretzel croissant, strawberries and cream, and Hello Kitty mini cakes.
At night, however, the Bow Room transforms into what’s essentially a speakeasy — complete with a wide array of cocktails inspired by Hello Kitty and her animated animal friends.
Along with the cocktails, guests can also choose from a selection of wines which are available during both the afternoon tea service and the cocktail service.
Once you’re inside the Bow Room, really take it all in and let yourself become one with the become one with the euphoric pink atmosphere. Dress to the nines, take tons of pictures, make Hello Kitty puns, and immerse yourself in the experience. How often can you really say you’ve been inside a secret Hello Kitty speakeasy?
The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe (and Bow Room) will remain inside the Irvine Spectrum Center as a permanent location. To experience the Bow Room, reservations will need to be made ahead of time by calling the store or visiting the cafe’s website.