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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 12 months or so, you already know that 2023 is going to be The Summer of Barbie. We’ve been gearing up for this moment for at least a year, and now it’s finally almost here. Celebrate the start of full-on Barbie fever at the new Malibu Barbie Cafe in NYC, or at the one in Chicago, where the vibe is hot pink summer in 1970’s California all day long.

welcome to the summer of Barbie!

Whether or not you’re a Barbie Girl, it’s a Barbie world. And though Barbie herself debuted more than fifty years ago, she’s as ubiquitous today as she was when she first hit shelves in 1959. And we don’t just mean at the toy store.

After all, Barbie recently inspired her own real-world aesthetic. She collabed with ruggable (and with Unique Vintage, and with Wallshoppe and Cakeworthy and many more). And – as we’re sure you already know – she’s coming to a theater near you (thank you, Greta Gerwig). Though Barbie has often participated in fashion team-ups over the years, this new mania seems like something else – it’s not that Barbie is around; it’s that she’s impossible to avoid.

And we’re not complaining.

In fact, we’re excited for all of the fun Barbie pop-ups and events that are coming our way. For instance, The Malibu Barbie Café.

The rumors are true: a Barbie café is coming to New York and Chicago, and we couldn’t be more excited. If you’ve ever dreamed of living in Barbie’s world for real – even just for a short while – you’re going to love this place. Here’s everything you need to know.

Everything you need to know about the Malibu Barbie Cafe

1. What is it?

As you might have guessed from the name, The Malibu Barbie Café is meant to evoke the feeling of 1970’s California.

When you step inside the sunlit café, you might imagine you’ve just come from the beach – or maybe a very amazing time machine. And of course, the café offers a lot more than a tasty meal; there are photo ops, retro set pieces, merchandise, and blaring summer pop songs. And yes: lots of pink.

But the café’s highlight has got to be the life-size Barbie box, where you can finally live out all your childhood fantasies. This is a plastic paradise built for Instagram, and we can’t say we mind. And even if you’re not a big Barbie person, it seems like the perfect place to ring in the season – Barbie is synonymous with summer.

2. Where is it?

The New York location can be found at 19 Fulton Street (near City Hall), while the Chicago one is at 324 S Racine Ave (near the West Loop).

3. When can you go?

The pop-up will grace our city from now until September 15th. And they’re open all day long!

4. How does it work?

You can purchase tickets online – though when you buy a ticket, what you’re really doing is ordering your food and drink ahead of time. When you make your reservation, you’ll select everything you want to eat and drink, as well as choose where you want to sit; there are both bar stools and tables available. Take note of the peak and off-peak dining hours, because prices differ. Tickets for children start at $22, while tickets for adults start at $39, and every reservation is ninety minutes.

5. Who’s behind the Malibu Barbie Café?

The Malibu Barbie Café comes from Bucket Listers, who have been the masterminds behind many of our favorite immersive experiences over the years. And the food comes from chef Becky Brown, whose name you may recognize from her appearance on Masterchef.

6. What’s on the menu?

Everything on the menu is as fun, colorful, and full of joy as you might expect from Barbie. Highlights include “Pacific Paradise Rainbow Pancakes,” “West Coast Wedge Salad,” and “California Dreamin’ Club Sandwich.” We’re noticing a certain theme – are you?

If you’re dining with children, there’s an equally festive kids’ menu, with gems like “Nifty Nuggets” and “Stay Groovy Grilled Cheese.” And if you’re not dining with kids, you won’t want to miss these Barbie cocktails: a “Think Pink Margarita,” a “Beach Mojito,” and a “Groovy Arnold Palmer.” Why does everything taste better when it has a delightful name?

No matter how old you are, you’re going to want to end the meal with the restaurant’s highlight, the “Anything is Possible Sundae.”  Add toppings like sprinkles, cookie crumbles, and gummy bears, and start to manifest the ice cream’s – and Barbie’s – way of life.

7. Why is this happening now?

It’s a good question. Though the Barbie doll has always maintained a high level of popularity, it’s hard to deny that she suddenly seems to be everywhere. And not just in kids’ playrooms – in grown-ups’ real adult lives.

While one explanation for this new phenomenon is obviously the upcoming movie, there may be more at play. Barbie might once have represented some pretty anti-feminist ideals, but she’s come a long way. Gone is the plastic girl who cared only about clothing, who was always white and thin, who was always able-bodied. These days, Barbie’s experience is a lot closer to the human experience – a version of the human experience where we’re all doctors, popstars, and President, and where we all look adorable as we achieve our dreams.

For what is maybe the first time in history, Barbie seems like a truly aspirational figure – which is kind of a funny thing to say about a doll.  But at a time where many people (and young adults especially) are reaching for the comfort and nostalgia of their childhoods in order to find direction, Barbie seems like a safe – and smart – place to start. Like the movie posters (and many, many memes) say, she’s everything. And maybe if we follow her lead – if we eat an ice cream sundae in her pink-filled plastic café – we can be everything too.

Everything you need to know about the new inspiring Malibu Barbie Cafe

That’s what you need to know about the new Malibu Barbie Cafe in NYC, and also Chicago, where the vibe is hot pink summer in 1970’s California all day long. Keep your eyes peeled for Ken.

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.