Updated: May 8
How about lunch at a place where your dog is not only welcome, but where the whole place is designed specifically around them, so you and your best friend can lunch together on an equal footing?
This is what the “Paw Stop” in Bathgate aims to do. Set up by local sister-team Nicole and Natalie Senior, it’s a place you can pop in for coffee and cake, lunch or even hire for special events, all where it is not simply “dogs welcome” but the dogs are the main show.
“The idea for the Paw Stop came about as I was unhappy about having to leave Nala home when I was out at work,” says Nicole. “She experienced separation anxiety. I studied Business at Napier University and had gone into the recruitment industry, but really wanted to set up my own business, so doing something around my dog was the dream idea.” With her sister Natalie a willing accomplice to look after the food side of the business, they set about creating what is a unique venue. There are cafes populated with dogs or cats popping up in various locations where you can eat amongst the animals, but at the Paw Stop the difference is that it’s a space where you can bring your own dog, giving them a chance to socialise with other dogs too.
Besides the usual cafe menu that covers all the basics you would expect, there is a doggy menu including dog biscuits and dog muffin snacks that Natalie and Nicole make themselves.
Their dogs Nala and Tara are usually in attendance. It was a busy Thursday lunchtime when I visited, accompanied by a friend and her dog, and over a veggie wrap and salad we learned a bit more about how the place works. It’s a little like a parents and toddlers meet up, except instead of watching your kids interact and swapping notes about them, it’s all about the dogs.
A couple came in for lunch with no pooch, so if you love dogs and just want to enjoy the atmosphere without a pooch in tow that’s fine too. I enjoyed my lunch, although as a coffee-lover I wasn’t able to order cappuccino (they offer filter coffee only) but with window seats complete with cushions and dog baskets, a box of toys and a few other nice touches, they’ve put careful thought into making it a venue where you can truly feel welcome whether you have two legs or four. Your dogs can be off their leads if you’re comfortable with that.
“We’re offering a series of events and workshops here in the evenings,” explains Nicole, “starting with a training workshop with a dog training expert.” You can also book the place for a doggy birthday party, which includes a special canine birthday cake, and “pawsecco.”
With plans for a chill-out zone for dogs who need a quiet space rather than the hustle and bustle when the cafe is busy, and other ideas in the pipeline, Natalie and Nicole are looking forward to developing the Paw Stop into something really special.
For more information, visit their Facebook page “Paw Stop,” call 07523 176222 or drop in at 1 Jarvey Street, Bathgate, during opening hours: 9.30am - 4pm weekdays ex. Wednesdays; 9am - 4.30pm Saturdays; 10am - 4.30pm Sundays.
Article in Konect, June 2019
Author: Helen-Jane Shearer