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A cat cafe may be on its way to Beacon Hill

Shoppers along Charles Street in Beacon Hill on Nov. 30, 2021.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Plans for a cat cafe on Beacon Hill are purring along.

A Sanctuary Cafe — a cat lounge, coffee shop, and micro-bookstore rolled into one — got approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal on Tuesday, with board member Mark Erlich voting “Meow,” according to the Boston Business Journal.

“I guess that was universally interpreted as an affirmative,” said Brittany Baker, who is trying to get the business off the ground. “I haven’t even thought about what a ‘no’ would be in cat language.”

The approval is the latest step to open the proposed cafe at 80 Charles St. in the spring. The next hurdle, said Baker, will be securing a health variance from the city to allow the locale to house cats and a cafe in the same space.


“It’s a positive step, but we’re also trying to not get ahead of ourselves and assume that this is now a done deal,” said Baker of the ZBA approval.

Should everything go smoothly, the two-level, 1,300-square-foot space will offer feline lovers the chance to book quality time with “about 10″ resident cats, said Baker. (No outside pets will be allowed.) On the ground floor, the reservation-only cat lounge will be divided from the cafe and bookstore by a window wall.

“We need to make sure that the ratio of humans to cats seems appropriate,” said Baker. “But anybody can come in and grab a latte or grab a croissant and hang out on the cafe/bookstore side for a few minutes [and] see what the cats are up to through the window wall.”

The garden level will also have a cat lounge, as well as a dedicated litter box area with special venting. There will also be an on-site washer and dryer to help keep the cloth items in the space cat-hair free (if you know, you know).


The plan is for the store to be open Wednesday through Sunday, Baker said. The hours for the cafe and bookstore will likely be 9 a.m.-7 p.m., while the cat lounge will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., “just to make sure that the cats are getting enough sleep and rest,” she said.

Sanctuary would be the first cat cafe in the Boston area since Purr Cat Cafe in Brighton shut down in 2019 after only two years.

Baker, who has volunteered weekly with the Animal Rescue League of Boston for 10 years, said Sanctuary is “very deeply embedded in the Boston community.”

“This is something that has been developed over multiple years as a concept, talking to people I know in the Boston community, including in the rescue community, to really make sure that this can be the best possible space for the cats, while also being a really great experience for the people who are going to spend time with them,” she said.

Dana Gerber can be reached at dana.gerber@globe.com. Follow her @danagerber6.