Dog Days Never End at Seoul Cafe In Seoul, three stories above street level, a cafe caters both to people and to dogs. As the human clientele sip drinks and slurp noodles, the canine clientele eat dog food and just about anything else.
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Dog Days Never End at Seoul Cafe

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Dog Days Never End at Seoul Cafe

Dog Days Never End at Seoul Cafe

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Next, we have a story that will challenge your assumptions about Korean restaurants. NPR's Reena Advani found a cafe in Seoul, South Korea, that caters to both people and dogs.

REENA ADVANI reporting:

Climb up three flights of stairs, open the door and prepare to be accosted.

(Soundbite of dogs barking)

ADVANI: At least six or seven dogs, eager to sniff and lick newcomers, scamper to the door. The Bau House Cafe is in a trendy part of western Seoul that's popular with the university crowd. On this Saturday afternoon, more than half the tables are occupied by human patrons, some of whom have brought their own dogs. Twenty-six-year-old Lee Song Jae(ph) manages the cafe.

(Soundbite of voices)

ADVANI: Lee welcomes customers with a cheerful hello. As part of the 15 dogs that actually live here and the ones that come to visit, Lee has countless doggie stories. There's Choku(ph), a black Irish setter with two wives and two sons; Heart, a border collie, the most intelligent and the leader of the pack. Then there's Annie, the beagle, always the first to get at the treats. There are dogs everywhere, on tables, on couches, underfoot. And then at one point, a skinny brown and white Russian wolfhound, joined by a Belgian sheepdog, venture on to the wide windowsill to peer out to the street.

(Soundbite of dogs barking)

ADVANI: All the dogs are friendly, and, Lee said, it's not just dog owners who come by.

Mr. LEE SONG JAE (Cafe Manager): (Korean spoken)

ADVANI: `The cafe is popular with people who can't afford a dog of their own,' Lee says. And, he adds, it provides temporary pleasure to visitors.

This is a full-service cafe, with clientele sipping drinks and slurping noodles. There's no dog meat on the menu that remains a delicacy at some Korean restaurants. In this cafe, the dogs are fed plenty. A schnauzer devours a customer's bowl of fruit-flavored shaved ice, a dessert that is widely popular across Asia. Lee says the cafe was designed with dogs in mind.

Mr. LEE: (Korean spoken)

ADVANI: `Everything is waterproof,' he says, `even the paint on the wall.' Rows of toilet paper hang down a column, along with a mop and towel. The vinyl floors are spotless, and if any mess surfaces, they're easy to clean.

Che Jongyong(ph) has a sprained ankle, but it doesn't keep him from visiting the Bau House Cafe. He pops in at least five days a week. His dog, Wing(ph), had recently passed away, but he fondly recounts what his pet enjoyed most about the cafe.

Mr. CHE JONGYONG (Cafe Customer): (Korean spoken)

ADVANI: `He was well-trained at home,' Che says, `but here he knew it was the place that he could bark and jump and fool around with other dogs.' And Bau House provides just that, an upscale cafe where dogs and their owners have fun together.

As the afternoon goes by, a customer brings twin Chihuahuas in a baby carriage. Even a Persian cat makes an appearance, stirring some interest but no fights. These are well-trained and well-behaved dogs who reign over the cafe.

Reena Advani, NPR News.

(Soundbite of dogs barking; voices)

INSKEEP: To see what a cafe looks like when it's gone to the dogs, visit npr.org.

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