It’s an authentic big city experience
Somebody call the health department: A squeal-inducing, bizarro version of the cat café trend, a new pop-up called The Black Rat Café, is headed to San Francisco. Whereas KitTea Café in Hayes Valley and Cat Town in Oakland let patrons meet and adopt cats over coffee, tea, and snacks, the rat café will do the same with rodents.
The stunt comes from the tortured souls at The San Francisco Dungeon in Fisherman’s Wharf, who insist there’s no need to alert the authorities. “We’re obviously following all food code and hygiene requirements,” the Dungeon’s Matthew Clarkson tells Eater. For $50 per person, participants will be led into the basement of the Dungeon, set up with tables, tablecloths, and lanterns — “it is quite dark in our dungeon,” says Clarkson. There, they’ll be served coffee, tea, and pastries, but all food — none of it prepared on-site — will be cleared out before the rats scurry in.
Providing the rat “talents” are the genuine rat lovers of Rattie Ratz, a Clayton, California-based rat rescue and adoption agency who have housed 250 domestic pet rats since their founding in 1998. “They do make very good pets,” Clarkson adds, “and if looked after, they’re as clean as a cat or a dog.”
On typical tours of the SF Dungeon, which opened in 2014, families shuffle from room to room as actors perform scenes inspired by San Francisco’s Barbary Coast period overlaid with special effects. “The bubonic plague section [of the Dungeon] got us thinking about what we could do with rats,” Clarkson explains, and eventually, they landed on the rat café concept. “People in the Bay Area love to celebrate food, and they’re always looking for the next thing to wait in line for,” he jokes.
originally appeared on: https://sf.eater.com/2017/5/17/15655260/rat-cafe-san-francisco