Food, Drink and Very Good Cats at Colony Cafe

Pittsburgh's first cat cafe impresses even before the felines show up.




photos by sean collier
 

Look: I’m a dog person. I’ve only ever owned dogs; even in cohabitation situations, there has been collectively less than a year of my life spent sharing a dwelling with any form of feline. I have no particular objection to cats, and I’ve met a handful of cats with whom I was generally pleased.

But at your core, you’re either a dog person or a cat person. (The alleged existence of bunny people notwithstanding.) And I’m a dog person.

So I viewed the opening of Colony Cafe, the city’s first cat cafe, as a curiosity. I walked in more focused on the quality of the cocktails and snacks than the overall cuddliness of the cats. It was, to be plain, an outing that featured cats, rather than a cat-based outing.

To balance out my feline complacency, I brought two friends, each of whom serve as the ward of multiple cats. Even with their added enthusiasm for the whiskers-and-paws portion of the evening, we opened the night by sitting down for drinks and snacks. (The business is divided into a downstairs cafe and the upstairs cat loft; you can take drinks to the cats, but you can’t take cats to the drinks. Which I believe was the moral of one of Aesop’s fables, but I can’t be sure.)

I was quite pleased to find that the offerings at Colony Cafe are more than alluring, even for those who will not be availing themselves of the establishment’s feline opportunities. My group tried a pair of divergent, but equally delicious, cocktails — “The Panther,” an Irish whiskey variant, and “Henrietta Pussycat,” a vodka-based offering. The wine list was nothing to sneer at, either, and the menu (available after 4:30 p.m.) offers a range of shareable plates; we enjoyed a quartet of toasted canapes and a bell-pepper spread.

Colony Cafe doubles as a coffeeshop as well, with baked goods and a daily lunch special available (they’re open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., barring a one-hour break at 2 o’clock). It’s enough to make Colony a draw for passersby looking for a quiet caffeine break or happy-hour beverage, yes — but, as you’ll plainly see from the ground floor through the windows above, most visitors are here for the cats.

For $8/hour, you can take your wine or coffee up to the cat loft, where 8-12 cats are ready for your attention and affection. Toys are strewn between comfortable chairs and large pillows, allowing you to cuddle up to the felines, who come from Animal Friends in Ohio Township. All of the cats at Colony Cafe are available for adoption; five have gone home with customers in the cafe’s first two weeks of operation, and applications are underway for four more.

This is the sort of amenity you never knew you needed but seems perfectly logical in action. An hour to lounge about with some friendly cats? For both the cat fancier and the feline-neutral, it’s an undoubtedly lovely way to spend $8. And the knowledge that this is done in the service of introducing cats in need to a wider pool of potential adopters sweetens the deal.

One of my compatriots had visited a number of similar businesses in other cities and called Colony Cafe the best example of the form she had seen. It’s easy to understand why; with equal care given to both sides of the business, the charm and appeal is undeniable.

Trust me. I’m a dog person, so I have no reason for bias.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Penguins Broadcaster Mike Lange Cutting Back This Season

Penguins Broadcaster Mike Lange Cutting Back This Season

Lange is entering his 43rd season of NHL broadcasting, all but one of which were spent with Pittsburgh
With 50 Shades of Silence, Darieth Chisolm Offers Her Voice and Support

With 50 Shades of Silence, Darieth Chisolm Offers Her Voice and Support

The longtime local newscaster’s website and forthcoming documentary, based on her own experience with non-consensual pornography, aim to provide victims with help and support.
10 Years Later: What Randy Pausch's “Last Lecture” Taught Us

10 Years Later: What Randy Pausch's “Last Lecture” Taught Us

People who were in the audience that day reflect on the importance of Pausch's message and how it is still relevant today.
What the Old Farmer's Almanac Says About Upcoming Winter

What the Old Farmer's Almanac Says About Upcoming Winter

The Almanac suggests Pittsburgh might be in for a white Christmas.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

True Grit: Homestead Mayor Betty Esper Just Won't Back Down

True Grit: Homestead Mayor Betty Esper Just Won't Back Down

Homestead’s first and only woman mayor has worked tirelessly for her hometown during her 35-plus years in public office. As she faces reelection unopposed next month, the 84-year-old contemplates her role as the symbol of a gritty town fighting its way back.
Photo Essay: Silence on the Cell Block

Photo Essay: Silence on the Cell Block

A look inside the now-empty penitentiary on the banks of the Ohio.
Made in Pittsburgh: 5 Great Ideas

Made in Pittsburgh: 5 Great Ideas

Modern-day creation in Pittsburgh doesn’t just involve physical products; we also have a knack for hatching new ideas that can solve problems in innovative, unexpected ways. These locally based thinkers are applying big thoughts to bigger problems.
Restaurant Review: Scratch Food + Beverage is King of the Hill

Restaurant Review: Scratch Food + Beverage is King of the Hill

The Troy Hill neighborhood spot matures into a casual destination restaurant.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Penguins Broadcaster Mike Lange Cutting Back This Season

Penguins Broadcaster Mike Lange Cutting Back This Season

Lange is entering his 43rd season of NHL broadcasting, all but one of which were spent with Pittsburgh

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

We have the lowdown on who is cooking what in the new North Side food hall from the operators of Smallman Galley.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Who's Got the Cutest Pet in Pittsburgh?

Who's Got the Cutest Pet in Pittsburgh?

Announcing Pittsburgh Magazine's 2017 Cutest Pet Contest. First step –– send us a photo of your pet! We will pick 10 finalists and then you'll vote for the winner.

Comments


King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

IQ Escape's new South Hills escape rooms elevate Crafthouse Stage & Grill and Legacy Lanes.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

The season's first two victories were notched against mediocre competition. Eventually, the degree of difficulty is going to ratchet up considerably.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
2017 Silk Screen Festival Focuses on Difficult, Captivating Fare

2017 Silk Screen Festival Focuses on Difficult, Captivating Fare

Reviews of three marquee films included in the 2017 Silk Screen Film Festival, plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Wedding guests were asked to bring their creativity to the couple’s big day.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

The home and garden tour in the historic planned garden community in the heart of Mt. Washington takes place next week.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments