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The Rat Cafe | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon
The Rat Cafe | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon
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Are Themed Cafés Going too Far? A Rat Café is Opening in San Francisco

Picture of V. Alexandra de F. Szoenyi
Northern California Writer
Updated: 12 June 2017

Under normal circumstances, a rat-infested restaurant would have you running away. However, The Black Rat Café in The San Francisco Dungeon aims to have you running towards their quirky new establishment, by providing access to live rats with your food. 

Yes, you read correctly. The San Francisco Dungeon, a live-action, one-hour experience at Fisherman’s Wharf, where guests learn about 200 years of Bay Area history, is adding an “immersive pop-up experience,” with rats—in order to give patrons an authentic feel of historic San Francisco. (After all, the Chinatown Plague was caused by rats carrying the bubonic plague.) The first dates announced are Saturday, July 1 and Saturday, July 8, at 9am. Animal-themed cafés have been all the rage lately, but many would argue that a rodent incarnation is going too far.

The Black Rat Café | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

The Black Rat Café | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

“We want to offer a frighteningly funny encounter with creepy-crawly critters you could only find at The San Francisco Dungeon,” explains Matthew Clarkson, regional head of marketing at the venue’s parent company. “Drinking coffee while a rat’s on the loose? That’s not for the faint of heart,” he admits.

Meeting the stars of the show | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

Meeting the stars of the show | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

Bistro tables at the Black Rat Café | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

Bistro tables at the Black Rat Café | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

Rattie Ratz, a Northern California non-profit “dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of domestic pet rats,” doesn’t think rats are anything to be scared of. They are providing “ambassador rats” for the café, and aim to “promote value and respect for all animal life.” One of Rattie Ratz’s goals for their organization, includes “promoting domestic pet rats as valuable companions.”

Furry friends | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

Furry friends | Courtesy of The San Francisco Dungeon

For $49.99 per person, you can “pet a rat and sip a cappuccino” at The Black Rat Café. The price includes coffee, tea, or water, and a breakfast pastry. 15 minutes with the rodents is provided as well as entry to the Dungeon. If you happen to bond with one of the furry residents, you can adopt it. Imagine the story you’ll share, telling everyone you two met over breakfast in San Francisco.