There might be a loophole in San Francisco's health inspection guidelines. A new cafe is preparing to open in the City by the Bay that's infested by rats.
Well, not really infested so much as inserted. At this fine pastry establishment, the rats are the whole schtick. That's right, this pop-up, limited-time coffee shop is set to be the world's very first (intentional) "Rat Cafe," reports the San Jose Mercury.
The concept is similar to cat cafes, where patrons pay to drink their coffee and munch on pastries while in the company of pet cats. But here (the Rat Cafe will be hosted by an establishment called the San Francisco Dungeon), you might find yourself sharing a table with large, curious rodents. They're tame, of course, but due to the hygienic stigma associated with rats, that probably doesn't make the experience any less squeamish.
The aim is to create a “frighteningly funny encounter,” the type of experience that makes sense in the quirky Dungeon, according to executive Matthew Clarkson of the parent company overseeing the whole affair. “Drinking coffee while a rat is on the loose? That’s not for the faint of heart.”
There's an animal-friendly purpose to the whole endeavor as well. Should any patrons find themselves bonding with their new rat cohorts, they'll have the opportunity to adopt one via a Bay Area nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates and puts rats up for domestic adoption.
Although wild rats can be carriers of disease, domestic rats are highly social, clean critters that can display a surprisingly impressive level of intelligence. They can make lovable companions and are very trainable. Stopping by the cafe might just open up your heart to these unfairly-maligned adorable fur balls.
The Rat Cafe will be open for two days only, on July 1 and July 8, 2017, and the cost of admission will be $49.