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The Bau House: Who Let the Dogs IN?

March 4, 2010

Attention all Westerners, suburbanites, soccer moms, paranoid home-owners and sheep herders: Do you miss big dogs here in Korea? Do you yearn to pet, pamper and coo over an animal that would knock you over and eat your face off if they weren’t trained not to? Does it irk you every time you see one of those dinky little fur balls that Korean people call dogs, but which look more like impressive robot toys made by the Japanese, or big rats? Do you ever fantasize about huge dogs running around the city of Seoul, pissing all over it and claiming it as their own territory, then taking over positions of high power and establishing the world’s first canineocracy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this post is for you. Unless you said yes to the last question, in which case you are odd. Please leave.

Big dogs and dogs aplenty are on offer at the Bau House Dog Cafe in Hongdae. And, yes, this is Korea, so I must clarify myself:  in this dog cafe you do not eat the dogs, nor do you dunk them in coffee; rather, you sip on your caramel macchiato and talk about your hard day at your work while a 400 pound dog stands barking on your table and three or four little dogs crowd around and tumble over your lap vying for attention and love. Your months of dog withdrawal as an English teacher or serviceman in Korea can be rapidly eased and satisfied by an hour in this novel establishment. Over a dozen dogs at any time will trod around this sizable cafe like it was their palace — and it is — with more dogs constantly getting dropped off by owners who need a dog sitter while they go out on the town.

Be aware, of course, that for a dog, a palace is also a perfectly acceptable toilet. The dogs will be pissing and occasionally crapping around the room — a staff of four people is dedicated to cleaning up their messes, so it will stay cleanly, but be warned, those of you sensitive to smells or not particularly fond of dogs in the first place. Be especially warned, all you roaming U.S. Department of Health and Safety officials. You will have a heart attack if you go in here.

Without further ado, dogs!

Dogs: 12-17. Big dogs, small dogs, puny little guys who get frightened and ball up next to you and big beasts that leap on your table and knock off your drinks without giving half a damn.

Cat: 1. Respect.

Drinks: 3/5. Standard fare stuff. You can get bottles of domestic beer for 5,000 and coffee (espresso-based) for 5,000 and up. This isn’t the place to go for gourmet coffee. This is the place to go for dogs. Gourmet dogs. Wait… that hits a little too close to home in Korea, doesn’t it?

Atmosphere: 2/5. A thick smell of dog and dog wee will hit you as soon as you walk in. The light is garishly white as well. But the dogs more than make up for this, if you are a dog person. Just don’t bring a hot first date here

People food: Are you kidding me? Even Seoul’s health code isn’t that much of a joke. No food is on offer here. Well, with the exception of their homemade corn fritters… not recommended.

Dog food: 5/5. The dogs seem to like it, anyway.

Directions: The dog cafe is off of the parking lot street in Hongdae. To get to the parking lot street from Hapjeong Station, leave exit 5 and take the first right. Walk down this street and keep going straight (there will be a series of murals of famous artworks on your right). Continue down this road to the very end. Once on Parking Lot Street, take a left. Walk for about 3-4 blocks and turn left down the alley just before the intersection with a Buy the Way. The Bau House will be about 50 meters down, on your right — you’ll see a blue sign with a dog on it — on the second floor.

Hours of operation: 1:30pm-11:30PM

  1. T.J.Blinn permalink
    March 17, 2010 1:11 pm

    canineocracy? That would be awesome! You described our little adventure quite well my friend. However, the directions would get me lost for sure. Next stop, the kitty house. That’s not meant to be dirty, there is an equivalent to this cafe filled with cats!

    Keep ’em coming! Your blog is the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon coffee breaks.

    Cheers buddy.

  2. jgerminario permalink*
    March 19, 2010 8:37 am

    Ha I agree about the directions… those are actually the directions they give on the web, but it’s extremely difficult to think of anything better! That area is sort of a maze. But yes indeed! Let us find the kittie cafe next time (and you really DO need to clarify what you mean by ‘kitty house’ in this city, don’t you…?)

  3. Kim permalink
    May 23, 2010 4:09 am

    Awwwwwww. I have never been any dog or cat house cafe before. I decided to visit at least once this time 🙂 I cannot wait! There are so many things I’ve missed while I was in Korea even I had lived there over 20 years. Dog cafe has been on my “things to do” list haha.

  4. jgerminario permalink*
    May 25, 2010 8:55 pm

    It’s certainly a much more pleasant thing to have on your ‘to do’ list than dog restaurant! I hope you enjoy the Hongdae dog cafe if you end up going there

  5. November 15, 2010 4:30 am

    i always look for those calcium fortified dog foods because they make my dog healther `*”

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