New York City is finally about to open its first dog cafe, but it’s not quite the indoor dog park of your dreams.
Unlike the city’s cat cafes where adoptable furry beasts live and play with patrons, there will be no doggie residents at Boris & Horton, soft opening this week at 195 Ave. A in the East Village.
“The idea was always more of a solution for dog owners who want to get coffee and snacks and don’t want to leave their dog at home or tie them up outside,” says Logan Mikhly, co-owner of Boris & Horton with her dad, Coppy Holzman.
She recalls that before she was born, her mother had a dog that was stolen while tied up outside of a store (the dog was mysteriously returned later). “Even if you’re just going in for a moment,” says Mikhly, it’s not a safe thing.”
Instead, Boris & Horton — named for Holzman’s pit bull mix Boris and Mikhly’s terrier mix Horton — is a “dog-friendly” cafe where owners can sip drinks and enjoy light bites indoors with their pooch.
Love me, love my dog
Boris & Horton has all the makings of the city’s next meet-cute hotspot. The space is split between a cafe — with a walk-up window for dog owners — where you can get coffee drinks by day and beer and wine at night.
There’s also a short all-vegetarian menu centered on sweet and savory toasts, as well as baked goods.
“Having a vegetarian menu was something that if we’re highlighting dogs and thinking about animals as our friends, I thought it was an important thing to do at our cafe,” says Mikhly, who is a pescatarian.
To enjoy their treats, guests must head next door to a sit-down area, an arrangement that took a lot of negotiating with the Department of Health, which usually only allows dogs in outdoor seating areas.
While everyone, human and canine, is asked to be on their best behavior (and dogs must remain on leashes), Boris & Horton employees are trained to head off doggie conflicts.
There’s a photobooth with props to commemorate your visit, as well as merch like bandanas and treats.
Mikhly always had dogs growing up, “but what made me cross over into full-on crazy dog person is I lived in New Orleans and worked at a rescue,” she says.
That continues at Boris & Horton with Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, where Mikhly volunteers, which will bring by adoptable pups on weekends for the dog-lorn to meet.
As for hooking up the dog-loving people who come to the cafe, Mikhly is coordinating social events with Dig Dates, a new dating app for dog owners, as well as a Wine and Tricks class run by School for the Dogs training center.
“We totally see the social aspects of being with dogs,” she says. “Actually, on my first date with my husband I brought my dog, so I’m all about that.”
Boris & Horton is located at 195 Ave. A in the East Village and will be open 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.