KOneko: New York, NY, USA
Address: 26 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Phone: (646) 370-5699
Hours: Wed-Mon 9:00 - 21:00, Closed Tue
Entrance Fee: $20/60 min per person
Big Apple Cats Part I: Review of Koneko
Before Koneko, I didn't know a cat cafe could be so cool.
It was a relatively quiet Monday morning on the Lower East Side of New York when I arrived for my 11:00 am appointment. Inside the cafe, it was also quiet with one patron drinking coffee in the corner while tapping away at his laptop. I surveyed the scene and admired what I saw. Koneko's cafe space is spare and inviting featuring a large coffee bar and wall of tables, lined with tidy rows of chairs. The cattery is cleverly separated from the cafe by a glass partition and double doors.
I was greeted by the host who informed me I would be the only person in the cattery for the 11:00 am time slot and I was thrilled that I would be able to play with all the kitties unimpeded. I ordered a Stumptown drip coffee in a covered to-go cup which is allowed in the cat room.
Inside the cattery, Japanese-style minimalism makes Koneko one of the hippest cat cafes out there. The aesthetic of the upstairs space is sleek with lots of polished concrete and angles, but balanced nicely by soft lighting, warm wood and bright red cushions. Downstairs is cozy and full of comfortable couches to hang with the kitties. There is even a spacious outdoor 'catio'!
Happily, the environment is also functional for felines, with an abundance of elevated wall perches, cat trees and cat flap leading to the catio. However, what impressed me the most was the cafe's zen-like atmosphere, a model of peace and calm that is a welcome respite in the midst of the chaos that is NYC.
How cool is that?
The cats are rescues courtesy of the superheroes at Anjellicle Cats Rescue, which place 'at risk' cats (those scheduled to be euthanized) with Koneko. The cafe can accommodate up to 20 furballs, although I don't believe there were that many during my visit. However, the kitties in residence were adorably social, curious and playful, chasing strings and posing for photos like seasoned models. Austin, a shy but handsome tabby caught my eye and promptly stole my heart.
I found the Koneko team to be extremely approachable and friendly. Patty, a cattery staffer and I had a wonderful conversation about cat cafes, rescuing kitties and NYC in general. Thanks Patty, you rock!
As I departed, I chatted with the barista while I purchased a sticker (one of the coolest logos ever) and checked out the menu. If I hadn't been off to Katz's Delicatessen, I would have tried one of their Japanese snacks, like okonomiyaki because if the coffee is any indicator, I know it would have been delicious.
At $20 per hour, this is the most I've seen charged in a cat cafe, but considering this is some of the most expensive real estate on earth and the facility is large and top-notch, it's justifiable. Besides, they have found forever homes for over 300 kitties since opening two years ago, so any cat cafe that does that much good to help felines in need is cool in my book.
Date Visited: 12/4/17