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A look inside the Malibu Barbie Cafes opening in New York City and Chicago

Now everyone can be a Barbie Girl, thanks to the brand new Malibu Barbie Cafes opening this week in New York City and Chicago.

Beginning Wednesday (17 May), fans of the beloved Mattel doll will be able to live out their Barbie dreams with an immersive dining experience at the pop-up cafe located in Downtown Manhattan. The Malibu Barbie Cafe in Chicago will open three weeks later on 7 June.

Inspired by the Malibu Barbie doll, which made its debut in 1971, the Malibu Barbie Cafe transports guests to the groovy California beachside town with its palm tree designs and signature Barbiecore pink colours. “The Malibu Barbie Cafe allows guests to experience the ultimate form of Barbie-inspired dining,” Julie Freeland, Mattel’s senior director of global location-based entertainment, told Elle.

“With nods to the nostalgia of Malibu Barbie throughout, every detail of the space and the menu will give guests a glimpse into what Barbie herself would dine on. Expect a beachy retro vibe throughout and a variety of dishes that are familiar, yet with updated and unexpected elements.”

The fast-casual restaurant’s menu was designed by Master Chef finalist Becky Brown, with Barbie-themed food items like the Pacific Paradise Pancakes, West Coast Wedge Salad, and a California Dreamin’ Club Sandwich. Adult beverages are also available on the menu, from the “Think Pink” margarita to the Beach Mojito.

The Malibu Barbie Cafe is the result of a partnership between Barbie manufacturer Mattel and experience company Bucket Listers.

The tickets, which are available for all ages, range from $22-$30 for children and $39-$49 for adults. Each ticket comes with a 90-minute table reservation plus full access to the Barbie Cafe experience, including exclusive merchandise and a life-size version of the iconic Barbie Box for Instagrammable photo moments.

Both the New York City and Chicago cafes will be open seven days a week through 15 September 2023. The New York pop-up is located at 19 Fulton Street in Manhattan, while the Chicago cafe is at 324 South Racine Street.

The Malibu Barbie Cafe comes ahead of the highly-anticipated release of the live-action Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and directed by Greta Gerwig. The film, which hits cinemas in the US and the UK on 21 July, stars Robbie as the iconic children’s doll and Ryan Gosling as her paramour, Ken.

The supporting cast includes Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, Ncuti Gatwa, Michael Cera, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman and Kate McKinnon, some of whom appear to be playing other iterations of Barbie and Ken.

A new trailer for the film was released on 4 April, though many viewers noted that the plot was still being kept largely under wraps. The movie reportedly follows Barbie, who gets expelled from “Barbie Land” for being a less-than-perfect doll, as she sets off for the human world to find true happiness.

Last month, Mattel introduced a new member of the Barbie family with its first-ever Barbie doll with Down’s Syndrome. The new doll is part of the Barbie Fashionistas line, which has introduced dolls with prosthetic limbs, hearing aids, vitiligo and other conditions in an effort to be more inclusive.

Disability campaigner and model Ellie Goldstein posed with the new doll for the campaign. The Barbie doll also features a new face and body shape to be “more illustrative of women with Down’s syndrome”, such as a shorter frame and longer torso.

To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month this May, Barbie also unveiled a new Anna May Wong doll in honour of the trailblazing Asian American actor.