Tuesday, December 28, 2010
By: Vickie J. Rubinson
How's this for a great idea? There's a new trendy South Korean coffee shop that serve's up feline company along with a cup of Joe.
That's the point of Seoul's newest cat cafe: Why just caffenate when you can indulge with a purring tabby or Russian gray on your lap?
"Mom and pop cafes are everywhere and there's a Starbucks on just about every corner in Seoul, but this is different," said one college student who frequents the Cat Attic Cafe.
In South Korea's capital, which in recent years has felt the buzz of the coffee-house craze, entrepreneurs know that it's not enough just to serve up drinks. If you want to stay in business you've got to separate yourself from the crowd.
Unlike coffee houses in other cultures, many of Seoul's themed caffeine cafes are bereft of customers in the morning. It's only in the evening that the crowds come out. But in Kwon Hyuk-jin's Cat Attic Cafe, the customers come as soon as he opens his doors at 1 p.m. A cat lover, Kwon saw the success that a friend had introducing cats and coffee drinkers and opened his own business last month.
"Some customers come for the coffee, but most come for the cats," he said happily. "A lot of women lead their boyfriends here by the hand."
Most tables include a lint roller. Customers must take off their shoes and pass through a safety door to guard against cat escapes.
The Cat Attic Cafe has rules: Don't wake up sleeping cats or grab a passing feline. You can't feed the residents and the menu also politely asks, "Please don't tap the cat's behind."
"This is a place where you can make friends with the cats," a sign reads. "However, cats are not toys."