If it’s New York City’s goal to do everything bigger, better, and more New Yorkly, one would hope Gotham’s first purr-manent cat cafe would boast both the warmest cats and hottest cups of coffee. It was thus with bells on that we awaited today’s opening of Meow Parlour, a “cat cafe” on the Lower East Side, the venture of pastry chef Christina Ha and Emilie Legrand of Macaron Parlour. But as anyone who’s dealt with the New York City Department of Health can attest to: a cat cafe is one tall order in this town. Those dog-owners you see sneaking Bowser in while they grab a quick latte to go? Not actually allowed to do that. Cat-puccinos alongside meowcarons while you pet Fluffy? We’re gonna need a workaround.
Meow Parlour’s solution is two-fold: a patisserie on Ludlow Street featuring macarons drawn-on to look like cats, along with drip Blue Bottle Coffee made on Fetco brewers; and an adoptable-cat hang-out lounge around the corner and across the street on Hester Street. It’s just as well, as Meow Parlour’s appointment-only schedule is packed whisker to jowl for the remainder of the year, with its $4 for 30 minute cat “experience” timeslots already booked up into February, 2015.
Customers/experiencers with appointments to the cat salon will be able to purchase drip coffee or tea to-go across the street, along with pastries, and bring them into Meow Parlour’s cat area to enjoy, where they can socialize with between 8-12 adoptable cats from KittyKind. Up to 20 humans will be allowed in during each time slot, and they will not be allowed to bring in food or drink from anywhere besides the Meow Parlour patisserie in order to maintain an “understanding of what’s toxic and how toxic” in whatever food items might be present in the cat socializing space, according to owner Christina Ha.
And what’s the cat space like? Full of cubbies and crannies, cardboard and feather toys—though you may find the cats more interested in sniffing visitors’ bags and shoes. We’ll be honest with you: this elaborate fuss over spending money to hang out with cats around the corner from a sort-of-cafe gives us paws—it’s less a cat cafe than an adoption viewing space with WiFi, some pillows, and a bit of attitude.
We suggest New Yorkers seeking cat experiences high-tail it to an adoption center and provide a forever home to a furry friend around whom you can drink coffee every morning with no need to book an appointment. (We called the nice folks at Animal Haven, just a few blocks away on Centre Street, and they assured us that serious prospective adopters were welcome to come by to meet their 30+ homeless cats at any time—and can bring a cup of coffee from nearby Gimme! Coffee, Irving Farm, Cafe Grumpy, Everyman Espresso, or any establishment they choose.)
All that said: here are some more cat pictures, because kitties!
Liz Clayton is the Associate Editor at Sprudge.com, and helms our NYC desk. Read more Liz Clayton on Sprudge.