Merseyside cafe opened for people and pooches

A new dog friendly cafe in Southport is giving customers the chance to sit back and enjoy some quality ‘me time’ – for both owners and dogs. Andrew Brown reports

Lesley Morgan-Macbain, left, and Caroline Bimpson in Barklays. Picture by Andrew Brown Media

Barklays cafe opened this year at 136 Cambridge Road in Churchtown, next to Churchtown Lights – putting the ‘friendly’ firmly into the idea behind a dog friendly cafe.

It is well placed for the Botanic Gardens park nearby, a perfect spot for dog walking – as well as being handily placed for people doing the school runs at nearby places including Churchtown Primary, St Patrick’s, Stanley High and Presfield High.

Inside the same building as Barklays is Northam Bears dog groomers, which gives a fresh new look to dogs of all sizes.

It means that owners can sit back and enjoy a delicious cappuccino, latte or hot chocolate along with a range of hot or cold food, with a range of specials prepared daily, while their animals are busy being pampered next door.

There are special treats for dogs too, including freshly baked woofins, brownies, cookies along with Barklays’ famous puppachinos. And there are low-fat treats available too for those pooches looking to lose a little puppy fat.

Customers can enjoy lots of events, with Barklays able to be hired out for special events including birthday parties. Recent events have included a King Charlkes, Spaniel and Corgi Day, and a Trick Or Treat Halloween Pawty.

Barklays cafe is owned by local business woman and dog lover Lesley Morgan-Macbain, who also owns the House of Mojos ladies’ hairdressers next door and the Mojos Barbers nearby.

She said: “I opened Barklays so people can enjoy a coffee with your doggy. Things are going really well. Word is getting around, and Barklays is becoming very popular. We get a lot of regulars who come and join us at certain times.

“We also run a lot of events, parties, birthday parties, themed events around things like Halloween and Christmas, and special events for different breeds.

“Tickets are £10 each for our events and include a special doggy bag, plus 20% off anything in our coffee shop and at the dog groomer’s.”

Barklays dog friendly cafe in Churchtown in Southport. Picture by Andrew Brown Media

Lesley, who owns four French bulldogs, had the idea for her business in November last year when she took her dogs to a local vets.

She said: “It was pouring down with rain and while I was waiting for the vet to sort out some medication, I thought I would go with my pets to a cafe nearby. But the owner wouldn’t let us in – she said there were no dogs allowed!

“I thought there was a need for somewhere new in Southport that was really pet friendly. We have had lots of community support since we have been here.

“We have been holding some community events, raising money for local radio celebrity Cassie James, who is suffering with cancer. Local singer Matt Fearon has been supporting us with our fundraising.

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“We have also held a Food Bank Food Day, helping local pet owners with feeding their animals during this cost of living crisis.”

Lesley works closely with Jess Prescott, who operates her Northam Bears dog grooming salon inside the same building.

Jess, who owns two Alaskan Malamutes, also helps new puppies to acclimatise to new and strange environments, with new smells, sights and noises, before they move into a new home.

She said: “As the mum of a dog that can be a little nervous with new people, this was something I really wanted to incorporate in how I was going to run the salon.

“Especially since lockdown, and the increase in dogs, some dogs haven’t had the same socialisation experience they could have previously. Therefore, I made sure I was insured to have owners in the salon, if the dogs require.

“Also being based within Barklays dog cafe means, as the dogs become more comfortable with me, the owners can leave the salon, grab a coffee and are nearby if required.”

This article first appeared in Stand Up For Southport

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