Located at Manhattan Garden City in Araneta Center, Cubao, Bengal Brew is a small cafe that houses more than fifteen bengal cats of different colors and sizes. The cafe’s claim to fame is that it’s the first cat cafe in the world that showcases solely bengal cats (hence the name) in an indoor tropical rainforest setting. Pretty neat, huh?
For just P350.00, I got one pastry, one drink, and two hours in the play area. I ordered the chocolate dome (a bestseller) and raspberry hot tea, both of which taste superb.
The staff gave my friend and I a printout of the reminders and asked us to sign it. Next, we had to remove our footwear and wear their house slippers, and then sanitize our hands, before we could come in the play area. We then spent the next two hours chasing, playing with, and petting different cats, some of which were friendly, others not so much.
1. Cats, cats, and more cats. Whether you’re a cat lover or not, you will definitely enjoy playing with the assortment of bengals in the play area. When we first went in, we saw less than ten cats lounging around, so we thought that the cafe only had a few. Imagine our surprise when more than a dozen cats suddenly popped out from every nook and cranny when one of the staff crumpled a piece of plastic glove—it turns out that that’s the signal for food. Suffice to say that we became acquainted with more cats than we originally expected.
2. Delish food and drinks. Although I ordered raspberry tea, I read from reviews that the moringa tea is a must try, too. The drinks are served in green tumblers, so you don’t have to worry about spilling them on the floor (or on the cats!). They also serve frappes and juices, as well as pastas, paninis, and other pastries at reasonable prices. Reminder: Do not give human food to the cats. You can purchase cat food for as low as P100. Be prepared to get mobbed and scratched by the kittehs though.
3. Very friendly staff. As soon as we went in, one of the staff greeted us and answered all our questions about the place. He even gave recommendations on which cakes were bestsellers. The one manning the cash register (he’s inside the play area) was very accommodating, too, demonstrating how, err, excited the cats get when they hear the crinkling of plastic, and then giving us the name of whichever random cat I pointed to.
4. Nice ambiance. The indoor tropical rainforest setting sounds corny, but it actually works, especially since bengal cats are technically bred to look like exotic jungle cats like leopards and ocelots. Scattered around the play area are cute hats you can wear while playing with the cats or when taking selfies, and comfortable couches and lounge chairs, as well as a round table, allow you to pick a spot to eat your pastry and drink your coffee or tea.
5. Loyalty points. Bengal Brew has a loyalty program that lets you earn points each time you make a purchase. You can then use these points to pay during your next visit. The friendly staff made me type my phone number in their website, after which I received a text informing me that I earned P105.00 points for our P700.00 purchase. Not bad for a first visit.
1. Funky smell. One of the first things I noticed when we entered the cafe was a funny smell, like dried cat pee. I thought I was the only one who found the smell weird, but when I mentioned it to my friend, she told me she smelled it, too. We got used to it after a while, but it was definitely hard to breathe during the first thirty minutes of our stay.
2. Hard to locate. Granted, neither of us were well versed in the layout of Araneta Center, so it took us a bit of walking around and asking guards-on-duty for directions (one of them didn’t even know where Manhattan Parkview was). It turned out that the cafe was located at the far end of the building, past shops that are yet to open.
3. Icky slippers. Okay, I guess this shouldn’t be a big deal, but the slippers I wore felt a little sticky, like the person who wore them before I did had a bad case of sweaty feet. It was a little unhygienic, so I hope they wash their slippers more often.
Bengal Brew is the second cat cafe I’ve visited so far, and my two-hour stay was definitely worth it. Sure, not all the cats interacted with us, but what were you expecting? They’re cats! With good food, nice ambiance, friendly staff, and adorable bengals to play with, I’d definitely love to come back again soon.
Bengal Brew Cat Cafe is located at the ground floor of Manhattan Parkview, Manhattan Garden City, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City. Opening hours are from 2 to 10 p.m. everyday. For table reservations, call (02) 366 8287. Visit their Facebook page here.