Last month one of my co-workers brought in a magazine cut-out for me as a joke. Everyone at my office teases me about my crazy cat lady tendencies, so when he saw an article in New York Magazine about a new cat cafe called Koneko, he thought it would be funny to give it to me. Well, the joke wound up being on him because I COULDN’T WAIT TO GO! Well, first I had some questions. Then, I couldn’t wait to go.
My two main questions about Koneko (and cat cafes in general) were:
What the heck is a cat cafe?
Is it gross to eat around cats? Will I get fur in my food?
I did some research and after I was satisfied with the answers to my questions (which I will share with you below) I decided to have lunch there with Taylor.
Koneko (which means “kitten” in Japanese) opened in November on Clinton Street on the Lower East Side of NYC. The founder is a 25 year-old guy named Benjamin Kalb. He was actually there hanging out when I went and I was able to ask him some questions about the business. I have to say the more that I learned about Koneko, the more I loved it.
Koneko had about 15 kitties when I went there. The cats are brought in by Anjellicle Cats Rescue. They are shelter cats that are scheduled to be euthanized. Instead, with the help of Anjellicle Cats Rescue and Koneko they get a new lease on life. They get to hang at this beautiful facility and hopefully find a family to adopt them. Taylor fell in love with one of them but he was already in the process of being adopted by another family.
When you first enter the cafe there are tables, chairs and a coffee bar. You can get some pastries, beverages and sit and eat. Taylor and I had just had eaten before going there, so we didn’t eat and I cant review the food. People seemed to be enjoying it though and the pastries looked delicious.
If you want to play with the cats (YES PLEASE) you continue through the cafe to the glass doors in the back. There, you find slippers, hooks and cubbies where you can leave your coats and shoes. I loved that! What is better than hanging with cats? Hanging with cats while wearing comfortable shoes!
That answered my question about the cat hair in my food. The kitties are kept in a glassed off portion away from the restaurant area so no stray fur flying around your pastries.
There are two floors where the cats hang out and there is a kitty tunnel that connects them, so they can roam freely from the upstairs to the downstairs. Human patrons have to take the stairs to get from one level to another and from there you have an excellent view of the outdoor cat garden. It is not currently open due to NYC’s frigid temps but in the Spring you can hang outside with the cats. There is also a gorgeous mural on the wall done by Tim Diet.
The clientele in Koneko consisted almost exclusively of Moms and their kids and twenty-something girls while I was there. There are cat toys throughout and also areas for the critters to climb, perch and sleep. It wasn’t too packed and the vibe was very mellow.
It costs $15 per hour and I do recommend that you make an appointment on their website. We almost were not able to get a spot since we just walked in. They limit the amount of people allowed in cattery.
I highly recommend visiting Koneko. I had a great experience there and I love their mission. For more information, you can visit their website.