Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bau House Dog Cafe (Seoul Weekend pt. 6)

No, Aunt Phyllis; I promise that I did not eat dog meat.
Bau House (not Bauhaus! haha) Dog Cafe in the Hongdae neighborhod of Seoul.
Seoul's Bau House is a dog cafe where not only are visitors welcome to bring their pet dogs, but dozens of real, friendly, and incredibly cute dogs live and hang out with customers all day! You walk in, wait for a table, order drinks, and then are free to play with puppies of all shapes and sizes to your heart's content. Amazing? Yes.
Cute pippies to cuddle and sweet smoothies to sip? YES PLEASE!
My friends and I were quite determined to find this place, even though we only had a vague idea of where it was. There are apparently several animal cafes (themed for either dogs or cats) in Seoul, but the one in Hongdae (홍대) was reputed to be the cleanest. After wandering around somewhat lost in the very interesting streets of Hongdae, and after Jason and I somewhat unsuccessfully asked some locals for directions, we spotted a sign with paw prints on it just outside of Hapjeong Station (합정역), Exit 3.
Bau House Dog Cafe in Seoul! How many dogs are in this photo? The beautiful malamute in the center counts for double. :)
Julia at the Bau House Dog Cafe.
Walking in, I was surprised by a few things: first, it was very clean and bright. The cafe consists of basically one room with all the tables along the edges; dogs play mostly in the middle area, which is also where the staff's generous cleaning supplies are located. Any time a dog does its business, the 큰것 (#2) or the 작은것 (#1) is taken care of immediately.

Secondly, there were so many dogs! It was almost overwhelming. There were golden retrievers, beagles, shih-tzus, labs, pomeranians, a corgi, a pug, a husky, and even a malamute! They were running around, cuddling with people, and jumping up onto the counters. Some where very shy and just wanted to sleep beneath a table. Yet for all the dogs in the room, it didn't smell bad, and it didn't even smell like a PetsMart. I'd say the general odor of the place was a light scent of ammonia or cleaning supplies.

I quickly grew very comfortable to the environment. The dogs were not being noisy at all, and some of them would play-fight a bit aggressively, but overall there's nothing to worry about in terms of safety. Do beware the safety of your clothes, however! One unfortunate customer was peed on by a dog he was holding, and he didn't look too pleased about it! (Now that's an obvious reason why establishments like this could never exist in the US...)
Oops, a little accident! I hope this guy loves his job, because he probably has to do the doggie doo duty dozens of times a day...
Kristen finally found a friend!
The dogs were friendly, but most of them were obviously after the treats that many people brought or bought at the cafe. Jason and Cody were lucky enough that the friendliest dogs found them first and promptly went to sleep on their laps for the entire time we were there.

The rest of us were less successful; poor Kristen is usually a dog magnet, but none of the 강아지 (kangaji) here had any interest in her because she didn't have any food to give them!

I also couldn't find any dog to be my best friend for the evening, so I spent a lot of time just wandering around the room, plaintively calling, "강아지! 강아지! 친구 되고 싶어요?" ("Puppy! Do you want to be friends?") It was hilarious because all the dogs kept running away from me and toward the people with treats. Hilarious and sad. :(

Nevertheless, for two too-short hours after a long day, my friends and I had the absolute best opportunity to de-stress and let our worries melt away. My doggie and my green tea smoothie worked wonders. Afterward, Jason, Katelyn and I tried to go to Namsan Tower but got completely lost and decided just to go back to the hotel. Even so, it was just fine because: 1) we had a ramen, cookies and Pokémon movie pajama party (and I convinced them both that the third movie was far superior to the first and second!), and 2) we had just petted adorable dogs for two hours, and seriously, what could make you unhappy after that?
귀엽다! ki-yeop-da = "So cute!"
Info for dog-lovers:
Bau House website in Korean, with a map. Exit 3 of Hapjeong Station (합정역).
- Bau House Dog Cafe in Hangeul: 바우하우스 애견카페 (Ba-woo Ha-woo-ss Aegyeon Ka-pe)
- Address in Korean: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 394-44 제일빌딩 후면 1층
- Address in English: 394-44 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. (Je-il Building, rear entrance, 1st floor)
- Hours: 13:30-23:00 weekdays, 12:30-23:00 weekends and holidays
- Menu: Pricey but whatever PUPPIES

P.S. Thanks, Seoulistic, for the shout-out!


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