This battle of the UK’s top (and possibly only) cat cafes is based on walking past the recently opened Manchester Cat Cafe and going inside to speak with the staff. We haven’t actually had a chance to spend time with the cats yet, because it has been very popular: 3,000 people applied just to visit to spend a little time with the cats before the opening. Media has been in a frenzy over this newest cat cafe.
The Manchester Cat Cafe on the first appearance appears to be the best one we have seen, including Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London and a few cat cafes in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We walked past a few weeks ago and the property was a shell- we were sure there was no way it would open in time for the 31st July date, especially as the original plan had been to open in Spring.
But we visited on the 31st and it looked stunning! Very tastefully decorated. A nice selection of cats including our favourite fluffy Persians. The place is very spacious and very well lit as the walls are mostly glass. The cats were acting like normal cats- sleeping, mooching about and we saw one playing with a customer.
Lets hope the popularity of the Manchester Cat Cafe doesn’t make the cats less sociable, which is what we have found in the past. There seems to be a small number of cats and if they get sick of being stroked and played with; then it can become less fun. However they have a seemingly free-reign system so that the cats can avoid humans in a different area if they like. This sounds like a good idea to me. Cats are fussy so giving them the freedom to escape the cafe is probably going to make them happier, which is good for everyone.
In London at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium the whole place left us unimpressed. The cats were moody and generally asleep. The food and drink weren’t great and my food was forgotten. The premises look half baked. The whole place just feels like a different world compared to Manchester’s offering. Dinah’s is made as a tea room with tacky decor, whereas the Manchester Cat Cafe features brand new modern furniture in various styles and a much more pleasing appearance.
The one saving grace of Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is some of the staff. They seem to know the cat’s personalities very well and obviously care a lot. They told us how the cats liked to be stroked, why they were exhibiting certain behavior and showed genuine concern for a young cat on heat who couldn’t have what she wanted. There is no chance we would return though after the far better experiences we have had in Thai cat cafes.
On the other hand, the Manchester Cat Cafe has raised the bar and it looks from initial impressions that they have done it right. We can’t declare a winner without having actually been inside the Manchester venue, but it is obviously the winner and we hope to confirm this with a visit in the near future.
Other Manchester Bits
We have had great success with the new Salsa Classes Manchester website over the past few weeks. I recently considered the choicejoiningoing a gym or taking up another physical pursuit (because it is bikini season). I chose salsa dancing and am delighted with the choice. We have visited a few different ones in Manchester for beginners classes and they have generally been great. it is fun, great exercise, social and inexpensive. We are going to keep this up and maybe try Zouk dancing next.
The Manchester Evening News recently reported a face lift for the long running Indian cafe This & That (not far from the cat cafe in the Northern Quarter). We gave it a try and have to say it was awesome. I am sick of greasy Indian food and this place was a welcome change with a variety of non greasy dishes to choose from. Each day they have a set menu and you get to choose up to 3 dishes to go on your plate. The prices are very reasonable and having free water on the tables makes it a very affordable, yet large lunch. You will need a map to find:
And finally we have visited the Makers Market all over the place this summer: in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and Knutsford. It is held at different locations every Sunday (and maybe Saturdays?). It is a very nicely sized market with around 100 stalls selling lots of yummy home cooked food and home made decor. There is even a DJ playing some nice easy listening and Balearic summer time tunes. Find out where it is this week on their Facebook Page. Also worth a mention is the Altrincham Market which is an amazing transformation from what it used to be. it is a bit similar to the Makers Market with good local produce, artists and kinick knacks.