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Sorry Everyone: That Dog Cafe Is Kind of Fake News

Boris & Horton is a dog-friendly cafe, not a dog cafe — and there’s a difference

Two dogs, Boris & Horton, pose for a picture at Boris & Horton, a dog-friendly cafe. Photo via Boris & Horton

There is a so-called dog cafe coming to the East Village. Nearly every local outlet has breathlessly reported on the opening — after all, who’s not excited for a cafe where one can pet puppies?!

Except that’s not at all what this is. Rather, Boris & Horton, set to open in about two weeks at 195 Avenue A near 12th Street, is a pretty run-of-the-mill cafe in which dogs are welcome. Yes, that is a newsworthy thing in and of itself, considering New York City does not have any food establishments that (legally) allow dogs inside. But to market Boris & Horton as a dog cafe is to group it with places that became popular for providing cats and other animals, all available for adoption. These other places, like Koneko on the Lower East Side, actually provide the animals, whereas Boris & Horton will only have animals owned by other people.

“We’re a dog-friendly cafe, but not a dog cafe,” co-owner Logan Mikhly tells Eater. “I think it’s awesome that people are super excited, but we definitely are a different experience than the animal cafes you’re seeing opening in the States that are like in Asia.”

In a deal with the Department of Health, Mikhly and co-owner Coppy Holzman created three separate areas: a street takeaway window to order food and drink, an indoor seating area where dogs can go but food cannot be ordered, and a regular cafe area separated by plexiglass where dogs are not allowed. Basically, Boris & Horton cannot serve food where dogs are, but people can order food and bring it into the designated area with their dogs. The owners came up with the idea after growing frustrated by leaving their dogs tied up outside coffee shops, Mikhly says.

Conceivably, if no dog owner has their pet at Boris & Horton, there are times when someone can visit the cafe when no dogs are present — though there will be occasional weekend adoption events with partners like Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue and Foster Dogs NYC. And when dogs are there, they are confined to one area of the room behind a plexiglass wall.

That’s not to say Boris & Horton isn’t worth patronizing; it’s just good to understand the deal before going. Which does not include guaranteed puppies for petting.

“We’re a solution for people who have dogs or are interested in coming to an adoption event — but you’re not going to come to the space and see a bunch of free roaming dogs that live there,” Mikhly says.

Boris & Horton is set to open this month with City of Saints coffee, Balthazar pastries, Bien Cuit bread, and Murray’s Cheese cheese plates, plus savory toasts.

Boris & Horton

195 Avenue A, Manhattan, NY 10009 (212) 510-8986 Visit Website