Sunday, April 1, 2012

korea bucket list: bau house dog cafe!

so finally, after four months of being in this country, i went to a dog cafe. what is a dog cafe? well, it's exactly what it sounds like. it's a cafe. with dogs. (there are also cat cafes, which seem to be more abundant and also very popular.) instead of paying admission, you're just expected to buy a drink of some kind -- coffee, tea, smoothie, etc. and then you can hang out and play with a whole bunch of dogs. they also sell a variety of dog treats, which is the fastest way to get the dogs to flock to your table.

a lot of you, knowing my obsession with my own dog, are probably wondering how on earth it took me this long to check one out. i honestly don't have an answer. i really don't know either. but i'm really happy i finally went.

i'd heard mixed things about dog cafes, so i think that was part of my hesitation. friends had told me they were dirty or that the dogs seemed semi-doped up, acting very lethargic and depressed. hearing all of this made me less interested, so i guess i sort of just forgot about trying to check out a dog cafe. recently, however, another expat-in-korea blogger that i follow went to a dog cafe and posted pictures -- these dogs seemed alert and friendly and playful. the cafe she'd gone to was the "famous" dog cafe in seoul -- the bau house. i'd read about it before and seen it listed in south korea travel guides, but never really looked into it. then, days after seeing that blog entry, a couple of my coworkers mentioned wanting to go to a dog cafe! well timed, friends.

so off to seoul we went!

the dogs have free reign of the entire cafe -- which includes just climbing onto your table and sitting in front of you, demanding attention and treats.

this guy was one of my favorites, mostly because he was so damn cute, but also because he's a puppy so he was just all over the place. pit bull puppies are just wonderful. they're so clumsy and goofy.

this guy climbed right up and sat next to eleanor, inching closer and closer once he saw she had dog treats. she had mixed feelings about this.

nosey beagle, checking out our bags, looking for food.

this one was pretty happy with just getting lots of attention, which kara was happy to give.

lauren with the little white fluff ball dog.

i condensed the pictures i took of all the individual dogs so you all don't have to scroll through tons of pictures of dogs... i went a little photo crazy...

bottom left really made me think of alden. he was really chill, so we hung out for a while.

the little white one was hilarious -- jumping up and down on its hind legs to get treats.

and there was a daschund! not too social though, and very picky about the type of treats it would accept.

lauren managed to capture the daschund for a photo though.

i became very popular with these two once they saw my bag of treats.

the resident cat, which, appropriately, has a face that always looks furious. also, it looks like ron swanson.

i really love this guy too. sooooo huge, which was a combination of way too much fur and also probably too many dog treats. but he was really sweet.

they have an almost-maisie!

can't tell if it's a full schnauzer, but it has the schnauzer smell. :(

wouldn't hold still for the picture with steph.

piranha bottom teeth! just like maisie.


i kept corey updated on the dog cafe.

we had a lot of fun. some of the dogs were definitely way too... pushy. they're spoiled, and they have it pretty set in their heads that humans = treats. some really weren't interested in you if you didn't have any food for them. quite a few of the dogs were pretty chubs (particularly a couple of the corgis), but overall they seemed like happy dogs. well taken care of, regularly bathed, absolutely well-fed. (the treats they were selling seemed to be "healthy," too. a lot of greenies and dental-chews and the like.) one thing that was a little gross was the dogs just go to the bathroom wherever they want, which was usually on the floor, but we still were concerned for our purses and jackets sitting in our booth. the staff was on top of things though, constantly cleaning up after the dogs and disinfecting the floor.

i would (and will) definitely go back -- the off-putting aspects of the cafe weren't enough to deter me from wanting to just be around tons of dogs all the time. especially until i can figure out how to get my maisie dog over here.

directions to the bau house dog cafe:
we got off the subway at hongik university and wandered pretty aimlessly for a bit, knowing it was somewhere in between the hongik stop and the sangsu stop. we also knew it was near this building, which makes a pretty good landmark. we found ourselves at the sangsu stop after a while, and decided to backtrack. so we asked for directions to the cafe and were sent north up the street perpendicular to the exits at sangsu station. then we turned to the west at the first really major intersection, and we could see that weird building ahead and to the right. on the lefthand side from the building, we were told to look for a restaurant sign with a chicken on it. upon reaching that, we made a right into the alley and there was the bau house. these directions aren't the best, but it's something, i guess, and it's more than we had to go off of. i'm sure better ones can be found on the internet, but in case these actually are useful to someone, i figured i'd include them.

UPDATE: as of mid-2012, bau house moved to a new location. it is now closest to hapjeong station, between exits three and four! 

ps. grammar question -- what is the past tense of "to pet?" petted? pet? my brain is foggy today (i think i'm trying to fight off some sort of sickness from my students) and the internet is of no help whatsoever. both of them look correct? but also incorrect. haha.


  1. Ha! That cat really does look like Ron Swanson. Also, WHY DO WE NOT HAVE THESE HERE?

    Sarah Y

  2. Cool pics.
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