Themed restaurants are not a new concept—some trace their roots back to the burlesque cabarets of 19th-century Paris, while the modern age of the mega-brand themed restaurant might be said to have started with the opening of London’s Hard Rock Cafe in 1971. While they are difficult to pull off, many have tried, resulting in strange concepts that often don’t make sense on paper (or in reality.)
Yet many of these weirdly themed restaurants—including ones based on toilets, hospitals, prisons, and airplanes—have been wildly successful, despite lacking any appealing connection to food. They are ubiquitous throughout Japan, China, and Taiwan, but those aren’t the the only countries that like to get a bit kooky when it comes to novelty dining.
From Ukraine to the United States, there’s a weird world of themed restaurants out there—take a look through the strangest of them all.