By ALMA J. BUELVA
WHAT started as a pet grooming salon in August 2015 has morphed into a full pet cafe two years later that gives its canine customers and their doting owners thoughtful services fit for a queen.
Barkingham Pet Cafe is located in E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue in Quezon City, a long and busy stretch of road with not much points of interests to offer. So, when a humble pet-friendly establishment with English ambiance opened shop, it attracted a steady stream of dog-loving customers who perhaps also love their teas.
The name Barkingham and the logo of a dog wearing a bearskin hat captured exactly what the British people hold dear in their hearts: their royals and their dogs. Both set the tone for what Filipino dog lovers can expect when they visit the Barkingham Pet Cafe: a royal treatment.
While Barkingham has no red carpet rolled out for visitors, its attention to details helps carry out that London theme in every nook and cranny of the place. Adding a cafe to their dog parlor was a natural progression to give dog owners a place to relax while their dogs are being groomed.
“We specialize in unhurried quality service...We thought there was more we can do for our beloved pet owners who are waiting for their pets to finish their groom. Barkingham is a chill hangout spot for people and pets,” said Pearl Choco, Barkingham's manager.
The cafe area teems with items for humans and dogs alike. The menu lists sandwiches and coffees and teas for the two-legged guests, while paws-ta, pupper patties and sundry items are available for the four-legged ones.
Unlike the usual pet cafes that feature resident pets that guests can play with, Barkingham has no in-house pets. The ones you'll see there are paying (dog) customers who are there for a bath or trim or to nibble on Barkingham's homemade baked dog treats. Pearl said they get visited by at least a hundred pets a week.
“Pet grooming shops are all similar, but we take pride in the connection and genuine love we have for every pet (and pet owner) that comes through our doors,” added Pearl.
True enough, Barkingham uniquely has a veterinarian on standby to check on every dog after being groomed.
“We believe pets and their owners deserve much more, so we put up an in-house vet office to promote a 360-degree wellness of pets...We offer free vet check-ups for our clients after every full groom,” Pearl told MetroPets.
Barkingham's veterinarian is available from Monday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm to provide free check-ups, vaccinations and minor surgeries.
Barkingham's royal-class offerings have customers from south of Metro Manila asking for a branch there. Pearl said they have no expansion plans at the moment, but they are open to building a bigger and better Barkingham for pet owners to enjoy.
“We want to provide only the best service we can and to be a pet's second home where we love and care for them as our own,” she said.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
DOG lovers are in for a wintry treat at the new Wolf & Bear Dog Cafe which features a log cabin where canine, caffeine and even a little booze can be enjoyed in the company of “snowdogs”.
Wolf & Bear Dog Cafe, by the same owner of Bengal Brew Cat Cafe, officially opened last Thursday (Nov. 10) in Manhattan Parkview in Cubao, Quezon City. It is unique in the way the interiors evoke images of snow-capped mountain with wolfish and bearish dogs prowling below the log cabin.
The 120sqm space is roomy enough to house 10 to 12 big dogs assigned to one compartment each, a living room area where small dogs entertain guests, and the log cabin and spirit bar upstairs where the medium-size dogs sleep, eat and play.
Proprietor Don Michael Perez told MetroPets that he got the idea for his dog cafe's name after overhearing two strangers' spirited discussion about his white Alaskan malamutes, Sari and Ghost. Ghost particularly resembled a polar bear when it was younger, he said, and the strangers were arguing whether they're seeing a wolf or a bear.
At the new dog cafe, Sari and Ghost are joined by Siberian Huskies and Akita Inu. Perez named some of the big dogs after the direwolves of the Starks from the popular HBO series Game of Thrones, so expect to meet Lady, Summer and Grey Wind as well.
Wolf & Bear dog cafe has its own entrance, but one can also use the adjoining door from Bengal Brew. In a small enclosed area between the two cafes was where we met Winter, a docile Newfoundland, stationed there with one staff to let people know that they are about to enter dogs' territory.
Children below 12 years old are not allowed in the snowdogs area. Guests are always accompanied by trained staff, and two visitors can sit and mingle with a dog in its compartment as long as they want, unless there's a queue of people that also want some downtime with the big furry dogs.
The big dogs were having quite a slumber party when we visited and were not to be disturbed. The management also put up a special sign in the alpha dog's station to inform people that the leader of the pack must be approached with caution.
At the log cabin, highly spirited pugs, Jack Russells, Italian Greyhound, Shih Tzus and poodles kept the crowd busy. The cabin area is where people can have food and drinks and, perhaps, cocktails. Wolf & Bear dog cafe has a liquor license, Perez said.
The living room section below is homey and decked with stuffed toys. One can almost imagine a fireplace there with fire crackling to make it toasty enough (air-conditioning for the dog cafe is supposed to be colder than usual) for guests and the small and teacup dogs around.
If you are planning to visit this latest pet-themed cafe, the schedules and rates are as follows:
* Weekdays 11a.m. to 11p.m.
* Weekends 12noon to midnight
* P199 for an hour (weekday rate for the dog OR cat cafe) with one drink
* P299 for an hour (weekday rate for BOTH cat and dog cafe ) with one drink
* P399 for two hours (weekday rate for BOTH dog and cat cafe) with food and drink.
Both the Bengal Brew Cat Cafe and the Wolf and Bear Dog Cafe can also be booked for private events. The two cafes combined can accommodate up to 70 people.