Whiskers Cat Pub

Several days ago, I was wandering around the neighborhood where I was staying in Budapest and noticed the sign for Whiskers Cat Pub. The place was clearly a new business, and there was a bit of construction still going on inside. Fortunately, they opened their doors a few days later, four hours before I had to head to the airport to leave Hungary. I had the honor of being the pub’s first customer and spent my last afternoon in Budapest there. Whiskers is owned by the same people as Cat Cafe Budapest (review coming soon).

The first thing you notice when entering the pub is the glass walkway overhead. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the underside of a cat or two perching above you. The cats are confined to a glass-walled upstairs room and a walkway that leads from the cat room to the enclosed spot above the front door. There are plans for another walkway on the other side of the pub, providing more opportunities for cat viewing.

The downstairs room has a simple and clean décor, and the high ceiling makes it feel even more spacious that it is. There are a few details that let you know it’s a cat café, including the engraving on the tables, the table legs made into scratching posts, and the cat paintings on the walls.

There are four resident cats. One is a Cornish Rex, and the other three are rescue cats of various colors. All were quite friendly, with the Cornish Rex winning the award for the most affectionate café cat I’ve ever met.

The pub offers a variety of cat-themed mixed drinks such as a Purricaine and a CATmopolitan, as well as draft and bottled beers. Coffee drinks are also available. Pub snacks such as nachos and pretzels are sold, but they don’t offer full meals. Service is friendly, and English is spoken.

As a solo traveler, it can be difficult to walk into a pub at night and strike up a conversation with strangers. I anticipate that it would be much easier in a cat pub, as you instantly have something to talk about with anyone you meet. I’m looking forward to returning to visit at night the next time I’m in Budapest. I’m sure it won’t be too far in the future.

Location: Semmelweis utca 17., Budapest 1052
Hours: 12:00 – 24:00
Admission charge: No
Reservations: No
Price of a 0.5 L mug of beer: 490 Ft ($1.80)

 

MINKA Cat Cafe

Most cat cafes focus on the cat-visiting part of the business rather the food and drink. That’s okay by me, as the point of going to a cat cafe is to witness some purring, get in a few pats, and toss around some toys. It’s hard to focus on two of my loves (cats and food) at the same time, and there are plenty of non-cat options if I’m just looking for a falafel or some spring rolls. But sometimes you hit the jackpot and find yourself eating well-crafted food in a tasteful, modern environment with a cat sitting in the chair across from you.

MINKA Cat Cafe is located in the Āgenskalns neighborhood of Riga, Latvia, approximately a 30-minute walk from Old Town. Five former shelter cats call MINKA their home, and they make perfect companions for lunch or dinner. The cafe serves beer, wine, and alcohol in addition to coffee drinks. There is no admission charge, and the prices are very reasonable. The full menu can be found on their Facebook page.  I visited for lunch on a weekday, and there were guests at only one other table. But the place can get crowded at other times, so reservations are recommended if you don’t want to risk disappointment.

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