Have you ever dreamed of having a real life tea party with The March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat? Well, now you can live out a small part of that fantasy at a new Hong Kong cafe. Unlike Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, however, you don’t need to go through the looking glass or down the rabbit hole to get there. Instead, just head over to Rabbitland in the commercial district of Causeway Bay.
Rabbitland is Hong Kong’s first rabbit-filled establishment, but not the first in the world. Japan has its very own rabbit-inspired coffee shop in Okunoshima. Ricky Lam, the founder of Rabbitland Cafe, visited that establishment last year and decided a similar concept would thrive in Hong Kong. Nearly two months after its premiere, the owner is rolling in carrots and cash. The 150-seat cafe averages nearly 7,000 visitors per day. It continues the trend of animal themed cafes in Asia, including cat cafes and sheep cafes.
The appeal, not surprisingly, is the rabbits. Lam has adopted and rescued over two dozen of the furry hopping animals. Customers love being able to pet the rabbits while enjoying tea, coffee, and pastries. Already famous in the city are the restaurant’s egg tarts. In addition to attracting those looking for good fare, there are those looking to relax and decide if purchasing a rabbit of their own is a good idea. Frequently, young children accompany their parents to prove they would be responsible bunny owners. In an area where space is at such a costly premium, rabbits are a popular pet choice. Unfortunately, many purchase the mammals without realizing the necessary upkeep. The Rabbitcafe provides a safe space for potential rabbit owners to experience the animals up close.
While pastry connoisseurs and potential pet buyers rave about Rabbitland, others question the cleanliness of the establishment. A food inspection during the second week resulted in a number of citations. Another point of contention is the rabbits’ quality of life. According to local veterinarians, prey animals, like rabbits, frequently suffer stress in changing environments. Lam rotates the animals on two hour sessions of availability to ensure they stay calm. He also has all patrons follow a posted set of rules, which includes not pulling on a rabbit’s ears or picking one up by its ears. The popularity of Rabbitland has the owner already thinking about a second location.