You’re probably already aware of the dog and cat cafes that litter Korea, where patrons hang out with the animals while sipping on some slightly overpriced beverages. These establishments, while valuable for the entertainment factor they bring, have nothing on the cute, kitsch Thanks Nature Cafe in Hongdae – home to two very sweet and unusually clean sheep.
We actually planned to write about this cafe way back in September but when we went back for another dose of heavy petting the owner told us that the animals had been sent back to the farm. This was around Chuseok, leaving us to imagine that they had been whisked off to some animal retirement resort, fully equipped with wool-cleaning spa facilities and a sheep-sized norebang. Or just eaten for lunch.
When we returned to check on the cafe this month we discovered that the sheep – or more likely their still-grieving offspring – had returned to the fold. ‘Thanks Nature’ is located in a basement just off an outdoor courtyard, meaning that the sheep’s pen lies protected under an alcove and a large tree, surrounded by places to sit. This not only shields you from the weather above, it allows you to hide from the city outside, making the café the perfect location for spending a tranquil, wet Sunday.
Once the novelty of the sheep wears off, the inside of the cafe is aesthetically pleasing enough, with the surprisingly understated decor being pepped up by potted plants and mildly amusing canvas prints of cartoon animals. Beverages are not that inexpensive. Prices are, however, in line with the other local Hongdae drinking holes at around 6000 won a pop for a flavoured latte.
So if the storm clouds are getting you down this weekend, get over to Thanks Nature, put on your sunglasses, and squint just enough until the sheep pen starts to look like a beautiful summer sky. It may be the closest you’ll get for a while.
Thanks Nature Cafe is located near Hongik University, line 2. Leave through exit 9 and take a left up the hill at the first intersection you come to. Keep walking up the hill towards Hongik University’s main gate. Thanks Nature is located in a basement on the left side of the street, near the top of the hill. Make sure you look down!
*We heard rumours that the sheep are often missing so apologies if they aren’t there this weekend. Thanks Nature is still a cute hang out spot though, animals or no animals.