Seoul may seem like an unusual place to promote urban beekeeping, and bee-awareness, but the new Ape cafe does just that. This ‘honey cafe’ and lifestyle store opened this March, and seeks to promote bee-friendliness in Seoul.
The word ape is, perhaps to the point, as it is Italian for bee. Founded by Park Jin and Michael Jaehun Lee, they have ensured that all involved in the cafe have a passion for bees, and are beekeepers themselves. Ape looks to celebrate the coexistence of bees and humans in a unique way.
In addition to the usual fresh coffee, cold brews and food, the cafe’s menu also includes a range of signature drinks and desserts made with locally sourced honey. There is even a honeycomb, dripping with golden honey, which patrons can sample with crackers.
Decorated with olive trees and other plants that foster a healthy environment for bees, the cafe also serves to educate those who visit. If you ask the manager Michael Jaehun Lee, he can tell you about the origins of every single type of honey Ape has in stock. They also sell a variety of soaps, candles, and jars of honey, all at reasonable prices.
Ape’s owner, Park Jin also runs Urban Bees Seoul. This beekeeper’s cooperative is a social venture that has raised over 4 million bees throughout Seoul. It also holds classes throughout the year for those interested in bees and beekeeping.
However, there are no bees at the Ape cafe, though it too holds honey-related classes. Park and Lee also plan to raise bees at a community center across the street.