Having a nice drink at a cafe is a great way to spend the afternoon, but it’s even better when the menu also includes a friendly animal companion like a dog, a cat, or even an owl, sheep, or snake. Some people like snakes.
And now, yet another animal-themed cafe in Seoul called Blind Alley is offering patrons food, drinks, and a little playtime with raccoons. The cafe, open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., requires guests to take off their shoes and wear slide-on sandals.
The raccoons are kept in a different room, separated from the cafe by glass, due to health codes. The cafe has put up a sign to discourage people from picking up or holding the raccoons, saying “it’s up to the raccoon.” However, customers are free to interact with them, with respect.
Dogs and pigs also live in the cafe for people to interact with — and they're much more easy to handle.
Not everyone is a big fan of the idea of a raccoon cafe. Unlike dogs and cats, raccoons are not domesticated animals.
Earlier in 2018, The Dodo reported on living conditions at Blind Alley and mentioned that many people on TripAdvisor and social media criticized the cafe for improperly caring for the animals or putting them in living quarters that were too small or not conducive to living their natural lifestyle. For instance, raccoons are nocturnal animals, but these ones are being kept awake in the daytime. The owner has said that the raccoons were rescued from a breeder and fur importer. The cafe also keeps a "rescued" capybara.
If you’re in the mood to sip tea or a latte among nature’s little masked bandits, it might be a great place to spend the afternoon.