Blueberry-topped treats are flying off the shelves, but some of the options on the menu sound less appealing. Gravy bones? No thanks.
Then again, the target audience for this Jubilee party is a little different, in fact it’s for VIPs – that’s Very Important Paws.
And where better to celebrate the Queen ’s 70 years on the throne than at a corgi cafe?
Ever since George VI brought home Dookie the corgi in 1933, the breed has been one of the greatest loves of the Queen’s life.
She has inspired many others to follow suit, including some of the owners of the 300 pooches running through ankles – dodging waiters delivering trays full of cocktails for the humans – relaxing in the royal chill out zone and generally taking a bow-wow at the cafe.
The most popular section, Rudi’s bakery stand – providing the doggy refreshments – is named after the co-owner Abbie North’s dog.
Abbie used to cater for humans. She began baking dog-friendly treats seven years ago when Staffordshire bull terrier Rudi fell ill.
She says: “Rudi had mange so I had to be careful what I fed him, so I made my own treats so I knew what was in them. It grew from there. I realised I found it much more satisfying having doggy customers.
“Everything is baked in the oven then I take the moisture out to make it crunchy. If it’s soggy they won’t like it. I ice them in dog-friendly chocolate and then use natural colouring to colour it.”
Nearby, the puppuccino bar is doing a roaring trade with corgis getting their cup of whipped cream, with a choice of toppings.
Pupuccino bartender Hannah Carter reckons corgis are not that different from humans. Hannah says: “The blueberries are our best selling topping, but they are especially so with the corgis today.”
The cafe, exclusively for the Queen’s favourite breed, was staged at The Refinery bar and restaurant on the South Bank in London.
Her Majesty has owned more than 30 corgis and you can imagine she would love this Platinum pop-up cafe. In fact she was there to greet everyone – well, there was a cardboard cut out of her with a “dogs this way” sign.
This was a seriously surreal tea party with over-excited corgis – wearing pawty outfits including Union Jack bow ties – appearing to outnumber the humans.
Among the drinks for the people were Paw Star Martinis.
In the puppuccino queue, Caitlin Clearly introduces me to her corgi Charmy. Caitlin, who is originally from the US but has lived in Shoreditch, East London, for a year, says: “Corgis are such an easygoing breed. I can take her out for cocktails, coffee, lunch… I was actually surprised when I moved to the UK that corgis were not more popular.
“Everyone loves them in the States. I’ve been to so many corgi events there but this my first here.”
Jessica Price, from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, is outside with her pet pooch, a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Scully.
Jessica, 27, says: “Corgis don’t look like they should be real dogs – they’re so out of shape with tiny legs, massive ears. They are just so cute.”
Jessica took Scully home in 2020 and last year celebrated his birthday by getting a tattoo of him on her right leg. She explains: “Scully really shouldn’t still be here.
“He was very ill as a puppy and the vet said I should put him down. But the corgi owner community is very close-knit.
“Someone set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for vet’s costs. Our insurance couldn’t cover it.
“Many of those who helped pay for his treatment are here today so it’s great to be able to say ‘thank you’ and they can get a cuddle from Scully.
“But I could do without everyone feeding him puppuccinos – he’s had 10. Corgis are very, very greedy. I come from a long line of royalists so my family were thrilled when I bought a corgi as my first dog.
“[Being] here today, it’s the right way to celebrate our Queen and this Jubilee.”
There are also dog lovers here who don’t even own a corgi.
Richard Morley, 35, from London, says: “As soon as I heard about the cafe I booked tickets. Corgis are my favourite breed of dog. I just love short dogs with short legs, but corgis are so playful. I’d love to have one but we’re not allowed where we live. This is the next best thing.”
Charlotte Lee is another corgi admirer. She has travelled from the spiritual home of the corgi, Windsor, Berks.
“This feels like all my Christmasses have come at once. I have never seen so many corgis in the same place,” she says.
Charlotte is delighted when we are joined at our table by corgi owner Katie Carr carrying her pride and joy Dennis in one arm. Katie, who has owned Dennis since 2021, says: “I love the Queen – having a corgi is the nearest I’ll get to a slice of the royal lifestyle.
“Corgis are so cuddly and always so smiley and happy. And today was the best day of my life.”
The cafe was thought up by doggy experts Pop + Bark.
Bakery stand co-owner Abbie, who has almost sold out of corgi-shaped biscuits and crown cookies, says: “This is my first corgi cafe and it’s been brilliant.
“I’ve never spent any time with corgis but they are such lovely characters.
“There was more [of an] excitable feel in the air than at other dog cafes – because it was the Jubilee.”
It’s as if these canines knew they were celebrating their patron saint. Charlotte Osten, from London, who has owned her corgi for two years, says: “I wanted a dog with a big personality with lots of energy but not too big, and that’s George. He’s my soulmate.”
George is a part-time model who has his own Instagram account.
Charlotte, 37, says: “It’s been wonderful that George has met so many of his followers today. Corgis have never been more popular.”
Fernando Salazar, 62, who owns a Cardigan Welsh corgi called Ruffus, says: “Corgis are an intelligent, friendly, outgoing breed. Ruffus loves the outdoor lifestyle. He travels everywhere with us.”
Before my visit, I’ll confess to not being a dog lover.
Now I think anyone who doesn’t adore corgis must be barking.