Open since April 9, the niche business has adopted out 70 cats. Walking into the café, paintings of cats line the pastel blue walls. The smell of organic fair-trade coffee is thick in the air and several Cat Fancy issues sit on quaint black tables.
Separated by glass is a room where cats and kittens roam. It’s a concept that Barrett first explored after watching an episode of Shark Tank.
“I was watching Shark Tank and a woman pitched a cat café, and I’d never heard of it. I started doing the research and found that they were up and coming,” Barrett said. “ It was the perfect mesh of what I love.”
Pallets of pillows sit on the floor. Cats climb into comfy towers and slink across the floor, their steady gazes landing on a handful of toys spread across a spacious area. On the Wednesday our interns visited — Kids' Day — a girl held up a kitten that her family adopted as her guardian took a photo with an iPad.
Barrett said that Kids' Day is a popular time for families to come, as well as teenagers. In the future, she looks toward obtaining a liquor license so they can stay open a few nights a week.
The process of obtaining the license will take about 90 days, and Barrett says they would stay open a few nights a week. After that, customers 21 and up can enjoy nature’s finest pairing: felines and a glass of wine.
As far as their drinks, their specialties are the most popular: The Purple Catnip, the Tuxedo, the Hello Kitty and Tortie. Sizes come in "Fat Cat" and "Kitty." The cat lounge itself cost $10 to get into; make sure to place a reservation through their website, kittybrew.com.
Read more about the café and its founding here.
Ordered: The Hello Kitty and a chocolate muffin
Kitty Brew Café’s concept is seemingly straight out a Roald Dahl novel. Imagine: grown-up Matilda sipping on coffee, reading a book surrounded by kittens curled on windowsills, lounging on couches and prancing along the floor. It’s this cozy idealism that the café has captured.
My drink was a pale pink and topped with whipped cream freckled in multi-colored sprinkles. For someone who is usually a coffee purist — I take it black with a shot of existential angst — ordering a beverage that didn’t contain coffee from a café felt odd. Unnatural. But, I must admit, the frilly drink delivered and wasn’t overly sugary. As a plus, several kittens attempted to play with the straw before I scooped them into my arms. Each kitten I played with, held or stared at longingly seemed genuinely happy in its environment. The amount of love the staff poured into the business and what it stands for was evident. They knew most of the felines' names and made sure they were being cared for as several groups sat in clusters and cats scurried, slept and slinked around them.
In one beautiful moment I was sitting on a windowsill. Attached to the window was a scoop-shaped bed, and a lanky kitten was curled within, reaching its paw to my wrist before climbing to my shoulder and eventually plopping down in my hair. Another kitten, named Eos, sat curled in my lap for the majority of the time. The whole aura of the café left me with a sense of relaxation. But then again, who could look into the blinking eyes of a cat and not feel like they’ve found the answer to a happy ending?
It’s a place where stress feels far away and the caffeine feels even closer. If you love cats, I highly recommend popping in. The worst part about it? Wanting to impulsively adopt every cat that crosses your path.
Ordered: The Purple Catnip and grilled cheese
The Purple Catnip latte tastes amazing — it has a delicate flavor and an invigorating freshness. With the perfect touch of lavender, it smells as good as it tastes. Let’s be honest, though, no one comes for the drinks: The main attraction is the kitten heaven (I mean haven). With cats popping out of every nook and cranny to say hi, I felt the same warmth that I got from my first sip of latte. We happened to come during “Kitty Kid Day Wednesday,” where kids run after their favorite furballs, and kittens and toddlers alike played with the toys.
Even those who have a slight allergy, like myself, can enjoy the cat-inspired artwork. Surrounded by cat paintings and pillows with cat-lover Taylor Swift’s songs playing in the background, I almost got my feline fill without actually picking up a cat. Yet, I couldn’t resist petting and cuddling with every cat I saw. I’ll be sneezing for hours, but it’s absolutely worth it. The kittens are easy to love, and it’s impossible to leave without at least considering adopting one.
Bottom line: If you love cats and coffee, this is the café you’ve been waiting for. Once Kitty Brew receives their liquor license, I’ll coming back to be first in line for a "Fat Cat" glass of wine.
Ordered: The Purple Catnip
The Purple Catnip features subtle lavender and a hint of vanilla bean. With a strong, floral aroma, the drink was reminiscent of fresh catnip and its sweet, minty smell. I enjoyed my coffee of choice, but the cats seemed to prefer the frozen drinks that came topped with heaps of whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. There were more than a couple of cats that took a lick of our straws. If you’re not a fan of cat kisses, you’ll want to keep your drink in your hands.
I lost track of my coffee more than a couple of times as I made my way through the lounge, stopping at every table, chair and cat house to cuddle. The kittens we saw made the space their playground, running through legs, rooting through purses and causing general mischief. They were active — there one second and gone another. An older white and gray gentleman (gentlecat?) sleeping on a climber was more willing to indulge me. That cat stole my heart as he slept in my arms.
Kitty Brew is clearly more about the cats than the coffee. You notice it from the second you step through the doors. And whether you're looking for a quick cuddle or a lifelong friend, a session in the lounge will do you good.
The beverages were decent, but once I left the café area for the cat play room, I realized why Kitty Brew has been so popular since their opening in April. Tiny kittens, big kittens, black, white and orange kittens pranced, jumped and napped all around the room, from the little window nooks to the large, carpet-covered cat stands.
For a while, I searched the room for a kitten that would sit still on my lap long enough to cuddle. Returning to my drink at a small coffee table, I found the teensiest black cat chewing on the straw of Mackenzie’s Oh, Hello Kitty frappucino, trying to get a sip of the strawberry sweetness. Soon after, I found myself paralyzed in my chair, unwilling to disturb the kitten’s nap as she purred loudly into my ear and nuzzled up to my neck. Her name is Nova. She’s from Animal Friends Humane Society, so she only costs $10 to adopt, while some of the kittens that come from other shelters are more expensive: up to $80. Needless to say, I was a few minutes away from impulsively adopting Nova so that my male, all-black, one-year-old kitten Darko could have a new girlfriend.
The absolute bliss I felt with Nova sleeping soundly on my shoulder has worn off some in the hour that we’ve been apart, but I’m still on the fence about returning after work to claim her as my own. After spending only 50 minutes in the cat lounge, visitors are sure to form a bond of affection with at least one of the kittens. So be aware that when you visit, you’ll most likely leave with a new kitten in your arms. I know I almost did.
KITTY BREW CAT CAFÉ is located at 6011 Tylersville Road, Mason. More info: facebook.com/kittybrewcafe.