A rodent cafe with actual rats is coming to San Francisco

EC: This Cafe Is Crawling with Rats, but It’s On Purpose
Credit: Photo by Alexander W Helin via Getty Images

What would you do if you saw a rat in a cafe? If your response isn’t “jump onto a chair and scream,” you should check out San Francisco’s new rat cafe. The pop-up restaurant is called The Black Rat Cafe, and it’s located in the San Francisco Dungeon, a tourist attraction known for reenactments of creepy historical events, in Fisherman’s Wharf. For $50 per ticket, rat cafe visitors can order a “rattuccino” and a cut into a slice of “car-rat cake” and then hang out with a bunch of actual rats. OK, I know you’re shuddering a little, but it’s actually not as gross as it sounds. The creatures in the rat cafe are all fully vetted and donated from California-based rat rescue agency Rattie Ratz—and like many dog and cat cafes, the rats at The Black Rat Cafe are all up for adoption.

If you’re skeeved out by the idea of a rat in your soup, know that the rat cafe isn’t actually serving food alongside their rodents. “We’re obviously following all food code and hygiene requirements,” the Dungeon’s Matthew Clarkson told Eater. He explained that all food served at The Black Rat Cafe is prepared off the premises, and that the rats are only brought into the venue after visitors have eaten and the food is cleared. Thankfully anyone interested in creating a live action version of the movie Ratatouille will have to adopt a rat and bring it home first.

While the notion of giving a furry friend a home is ultimately altruistic, the thought process behind the venue’s concept of the rat cafe is a little darker. “The bubonic plague section [of the Dungeon] got us thinking about what we could do with rats,” said Clarkson. Fueled by tourists’ love of food, and penchant for waiting in lines at popular attractions like cat cafes, the Dungeon came up with The Black Rat Cafe—smartly realizing that perhaps an actual plague reenactment may not go over well.

The Black Rat Cafe has only announced that they'll be open two dates so far, July 1 and 8, but it’s likely more will follow.