Blue Cat Cafe: Austin, TX
Phone: +1 512-766-5003
Hours: M-Th 10-21:00, F/Sa 10-22:00, Su 11-21:00
Entrance Fee: $5/person
Forever Blue: Review of Blue Cat Cafe
I have been obsessed with Blue Cat Cafe since the first time I saw their logo.
It's an illustration of a Russian Blue cat in a kimono-like dressing gown surrounded by the cafe's name in vintage cursive. As I tried to decipher the style, the first thing that came to mind was 'Japanese Honky-Tonk' which struck me as cool, quirky and a little mysterious, much like the reputation of Blue Cat's hometown, Austin, Texas.
I was intrigued and excited to see if the logo's vibe matched up with the cafe. So, you can imagine my delight when I met Max, the legit namesake of Blue Cat Cafe on the front stoop.
We pulled up at noon the Monday after South by Southwest aka SXSW. Per Wikipedia, SXSW 'is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences.' Whatever the case, it's a big draw and the city is packed as a result, so figured we would visit once all the convention-goers left town.
My first impression was a colorful one, with an enormous cat mural dominating the scene. The parking lot was empty and door locked, and just when we noticed the 'closed for a much needed post SXSW cat nap' sign, Max sauntered around the corner. He greeted us with a cordial head nod (I'm serious) and then plopped down at our feet for head rubs.
When we made our actual visit later in the week, I realized our Max encounter was very much how Blue Cat feels- relaxed, friendly and down-to-earth. Rebecca, owner of Blue Cat, embodies this spirit, and despite weathering some difficult challenges on the journey that is cat cafe ownership, still manages to be generous, hospitable and sincere.
There is soul in this cafe, open since 2015. A former radiator shop, it holds onto a bit of that character (cool, dark concrete), yet fuses perfectly with it's current coffee shop incarnation (cozy shearling-lined nooks), managing to be both eclectic and traditional. The vegan menu and ethereal 80's alternative music add a finishing touch of modern zen with plenty of room to sit with friends or break out the laptop.
The cats are equally charming. Several are shy and a few sassy, but all came around to offer some form of courteous acknowledgement. My favorites included Alex (aka Toasted Marshmallow), a calm, blue-eyed white/tabby, Midnight, a fluffy black cat, Garrett, a rangy, athletic ginger and tiny black Silky. When I asked about Max, I was informed that he is an outdoor cat and free spirit that lives near the cafe, but not inside.
Rebecca gave me the back stories on these sweet babies as she went about her work. We chatted for a long time about rescuing cats, running a cat cafe and life in general. It was an awesome visit and I even left with a hug and my very own piece of the logo, a Blue Cat Cafe t-shirt, which I have proudly been wearing all over the world. I often hear laughter behind me as the back of my shirt reads 'Our cats look forward to tolerating your existence.'
It makes me feel cool, quirky and little mysterious, just like Max and Blue Cat Cafe.
Date Visited: 3/21/18