By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jun 01, 2018 at 10:01 AM

Cat lovers, today is your day! Sip & Purr cat cafe will be holding its grand opening from noon to 6 p.m. today. But we got a sneak peek during the cafe's friends and family opening so we could tell you exactly what to expect.

The feline-friendly cafe, located at 2021 E. Ivanhoe Pl., is divided into two distinct rooms. The cafe side (which is feline-free) will offer coffee, wine, "juice-tails" and snacks, while the cat lounge will feature adoptable cats for cuddling.

The cafe

The cafe at Sip & Purr functions exactly like any other counter-service cafe, complete with both bar and table-side seating. The interior is rustic industrial, featuring a blend of warm wood, metal accents and plenty of cat-themed art on the walls.

There are spots suitable for visiting with friends and areas well-equipped for getting a bit of work done.

Of course, if you’re in the mood for some pro-cat-stination, you can always take a seat at the window overlooking the Cat Lounge.

Coffee, wine and snacks

Beverages include full coffee service featuring Ruby Coffee enhanced by Red Barn Family Farms dairy. Add-ons include house-made syrups (vanilla, almond, lavender, caramel, mocha) as well as both soy and almond milk. Additional beverages include tea, Healthy Roots organic cold-pressed juices, Twig’s soda and Red Barn chocolate milk.

Guests can also enjoy a menu of bites and sweets created by Chef Elizabeth Martin, formerly of Wolf Peach. Many options are vegan and gluten-free or can be made so by request. Ain’t that meow-nificent?

On the savory side, there are cheese boards (featuring both dairy-based or vegan options, $20/$24) that come complete with 5 Lilies Cat Lady strawberry lavendar rose jam. There's also hummus served with olives, greens and baguette slices ($12), mushroom duxelle bruschetta with whipped herbed goat cheese ($12) and salads, including caprese with burrata, heirloom tomatoes, basil, olive oil and sea salt ($14). A warm gluten-free brie tart is topped with mixed greens, honey and blackberry balsamic ($14).

Sweets include signature Sip & Purr cat cookies, shortbread, bars and brownies ($2.50-6), along with bourbon buttermilk peach coffee cake ($4), both traditional or mango ginger cheesecake ($6/$7) and a variety of pies, including raspberry-peach, blueberry key lime and s’mores ($5-6).

If you're looking for a nip to sip alongside your snacks, there’s also a list of locally brewed beer and cider (including selections from Good City, MKE Brewing, Hinterland, Founders, Third Space and New Glarus) as well as a curated wine list featuring an international selection of sparkling, white, rosé and red, priced $6-11.

Cleverly named mixed drinks include the Kitty Cocktail featuring Melonade juice, Rehorst vodka and Top Note bitter lemon tonic ($10), The Cat’s Meow with Vitalize juice, Koval gin and basil ($10) and The Gigi featuring Top Note ginger beer, Twisted Path rum and lime ($10).

Cat Lounge

In the Cat Lounge, you’ll find plenty of cat toys, perches and kitty beds, along with a variety of human-friendly seating options from couches and rugs to high top tables.

On our visit, Sylvester was hanging out on one of the counters, flirting with folks in the cafe through the window.

Bacon was lounging inside his repurposed television bed.

And Chester was prowling the grounds, looking for folks to give him a good petting.

All of the cats at Sip & Purr are adoptable, and cat concierges are available to walk interested cat parents through the process.

Each cat comes from the Lakeland Animal Shelter in Delavan and have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated. Since they’ve been raised in an open cat colony environment, they’re also well socialized … which is pretty claw-some, especially when you’re in the mood for some serious cuddling.

To guarantee "kitty cuddle time," guests can book one-hour slots for the Cat Lounge; the charge for each reservation is under $10 per person and funds are used to defray the costs of cat care and lounge maintenance. Guests can also sign up for Yoga with Cats, which takes place every Sunday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit sipandpurr.com.

Sip & Purr is open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.