Curious what a super intern’s cafe list looks like? Eric started his internship with Seoulistic a few months and ago and today it comes to an end. To leave you all with a special present, he presents his top 10 cafe recommendations in Seoul!
1.) Piano Cafe (피아노 카페)
The first place on the list that I would like to recommend is the Piano Cafe located in Hongdae, a refuge for coffee purists and music lovers. This is my favorite cafe since I ever started coming here. The piano cafe is housed on a hill in the western area of Hongdae and its elegant yet all-embracing interior is full of submissive of wood tones and bright, colorful contrasting details. This cafe brings a perfect fit for the neighborhood with it’s Hongdae-hipster vibe, but let’s not forget about the main intention of this cafe: the reason why this is my personal favorite cafe is because of, well… the piano. Visitors are welcomed to play the piano here in the cafe and show off their piano skills; but if there is no piano player, you will be left with the radio, playing quiet tunes of jazz music accustomed to the seasons of Korea. Behind all that, you get a full array of hand-dripped coffee at a reasonable price If you love the aura of a Mozart-esque atmosphere of a cafe, you will love this cafe as much as I do. If you ever do stop by this cafe, who knows, you might get the chance and see me playing the piano there
Location: Hongdae Station (Line 2) Exit 9. Google Maps
Second place goes to Cafe Homeo. I just love this place – It’s great for dates, alone time, and just enjoying the overall scenery of the cafe itself. It’s burrowed deep behind the Gyeonghuigung Palace, along a secretive street in Nasu-dong. The cafe is a bit cluttered, but I personally find this cafe very cozy and it’s single-room shop is a popular oasis in a neighborhood better known for its upper impudence of homes. I suggest you to get along with the owner, he’s a former aspiring filmmaker. He one day fell in love with the art of roasting coffee and while studying abroad in England, he had dreamed up of opening his own coffee shop some day. He came back to his home country here in Seoul and pursued his dreams of opening a coffee shop in Seoul. I guess the biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams and just follow the road, otherwise; if he didn’t, this cafe wouldn’t be number two on the list. The coffee is excellent here, and the cafe offers a wealth of distractions to occupy you while your beverage is being prepared. In the room you will find various toys, beautiful cups, and random items that seems like someone is in the search of an art project.
Location: Gwangwhamun Station (광화문역, Line 5), Exit 7. Walk towards Seodaemun (서대문). Take right at the Salvation Army Center and walk ~400 meters to the Sungkok Museum. It’s on the left!
3.) Charlie Brown Cafe
Third on the list is the Charlie Brown Cafe. I grew up watching Charlie Brown and playing the piano, and Vince Guaraldi is one of my favorite jazz musicians who made the tunes for this comic. If you want to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and eat a delicious slice of cake with Snoopy and the gang, you really have to stop by this cafe located in Sangbong (상봉). There used to be a Charlie Brown Cafe in Hongdae, but unfortunetely it shut down! But don’t let that stop you from going there – all the Charlie Brown Cafe’s serve the same stuff!
There really is no need to explain here, it’s just an absolutely adorable Charlie Brown “Peanuts” themed cafe. Oh one last thing, there is a piece of Linus chocolate on every cake, while all the plates and cups all have little cartoons on them as well! You might get to see Snoopy and Woodstock take a swim in your coffee as you drink
Location: Google Maps
4.) Coffee of Dream (가베두림)
Honorable mention goes to a cafe located high above the industrious sidewalks of Seoul. It’s a peaceful place committed to true, fine coffee. Listen up history fanatics, because you are in for a sweet treat This is actually the second cafe I ever went to when I moved to Korea back in 2010. I go to this cafe because of the name itself (no, really!) Cafe Cabae Duream is named after King Gojong’s original coffee blend (I had to ask because the owner about the cafe’s peculiar name)! This place is 13 stories above the street and it’s somewhat surprisingly quiet and has a quiet atmosphere. A few tables are set among a hedge of Korean boxwoods and there is an open space topped by a network of vines. Oh, and one thing: the cafe is also a coffee museum. The highly trained Baristas at Cabae Duream take their coffee very seriously, making sure you get the best brewed coffee around Seoul
Location: Sinchon Station (신’천’, Line 2) Exit 4. Go to Artreon Cinema building which is roughly a ~500m walk. Cabae Duream is located on the 13th floor.
5.) “5 Extracts” Cafe
Number five on the list is 5 extracts (not intentionally number 5 on the list ) Again, this is one of my favorites because it’s located in Hongdae. The name 5 extracts refers to the “Body, Aroma, Sweetness, Acidity, and Bitterness, which is essentially the elements that should be added in a coffee for a balanced brew. Their coffee is roasted in house itself, using a machine called the Diedrich. The thing I love about this place is because you get your coffee brewed in a variety ways, the methods are available on the available menus they have – which are iPads (hooray for technology). The coffee selection is pretty standard, but there is a constantly changing menu of specialty listed items, made by the barista champs, i.e. the orange and cream over espresso (YUMMYYY! ).
Location: Google Maps
6.) Cafe Wee
Cafe Wee stands for “We Enjoy Espresso” and “Wee” (we) as in “let’s build a community. I love this place just because of what the message implements in their motto – But Cafe Wee is more than your typical cafe – they run business in a special way. They go out and provide jobs for immigrant women, many of whom come to Korea to work or marry and send money back home to their families. Hearing about this story gave me tears. This cafe allows for people to learn the art of coffee while being able to attain jobs for people who want to gain some independence and build opportunities, something that is very difficult for immigrants in Korea (Korea is a very competitive country). Cafe Wee operates with local government support, and there is no shame in that. 100% of their profit goes towards programs that provide assistance for these women trying to live as an immigrant here in Korea and other disadvantaged multi-cultural families & their children. Oh, and don’t forget, their coffee is downright cheap and delicious, starting at around 2,500 won.
Location: Google Maps (Cafe Wee is located in Bundang, about an hour outside of Seoul).
7.) “Tree Shade Cafe” (Nameu Guneul – 나무그늘)
Let’s hop on over to Gangnam. If you are walking down Gangnam, you know that millions of coffee shops will have you eventually you start to wonder, “what’s the best cafe on this block?,” leading to a headache. Well if you’re like me, you eventually learn the routes through this sea of caffeinated heaven. But here’s something a little more unique – stop over by Tree Shade cafe. It will cure that headache. This place is spacious and has a super simple interior design. Sometimes simple is best. If you manage to grab a window seat, you get a nice view of the beautiful area of Gangnam (very relaxing on snowy and rainy days). I recommend this cafe because of the specialty coffee, like the sweet potato cafe latte.
Put the coffee aside now. There is one main thing that always leads me to recommending this location to other people! It’s called Dr. Fish. For 2,000 won, you get to stick your feet into a small pool of what look like guppies who eat off the dead skin cells of your feet. Sounds appetizing, huh? Yeah I know. You get a whole whopping FIFTEEN minutes of this. If you are a ticklish guy like me, it will be the longest 15 minutes of your life. Trust me
Location: Gangnam (Line 2) - Google Maps
8.) Club Espresso
Alright, If you are like me, you will sometimes have hard time balancing your financial problems and caffeine addictions. If you’re going for affordable and quality coffee, then you gotta check out Club Espresso. Good thing about Club Espresso is that it’s minutes away from Seoul Fortress Wall’s Changuimun entrance. Club Espresso has been brewing their coffee since 1990, which is actually really long for a cafe. Its rusty and wooden interior somewhat reminds me of my attic back in the States. It has a very bright, moody, yet inviting appeal. The cafe is known for bringing some of the best beans from around the world (I know my coffee, and I can assure you that it’s great for the price). You’ll find coffee from a lot of the South American countries and you can buy 100 and 200 gram bags. Beans are all roasted on site.
Location: Google Maps
9.) Cafe Jeje
If you know anything about coffee, you’ll know that South American and Central American countries make the best coffees in the world. If you are a coffee fanatic like me, I want to straight up start off by recommending you the best coffees they have to offer. Get the Ethiopia, it’s only 3,000 won for a great cup of coffee, which is honestly a bargain against any other coffee store in Seoul. This cafe is a great place to relax and also good on catching up with your reading. They also have free wi-fi, which always makes me come to this cafe with my Macbook (hooray for free wi-fi! ). Cafe Jeje used to be on my top 5 on the list, but exploring Korea more and more, I had to expand my list and put it on my top 10 Overall, the best thing about this place what truly makes it different from other cafes is the coffee beans. I am not a person to trust awards, but these people truly know how to make a cup of joe.
Location: Google Maps
10.) “Chicu Chicu” Dog Cafe (치쿠치쿠)
I used to have a beautiful miniature yorkshire terrior back in the States, and I’ve missed her terribly while I’ve been here, on the other side other world! Going to Cafe Pawz in the busy district of Gangnam helps me alleviate that crave for pets. Residents of Seoul can bring their dogs and not have to worry about stares from people on the subway. They offer refreshing drinks and coffee, but that’s not the main reason you come to this place! You come to greet the many types of dogs they have! Great place to just chill and have fun with friends, and of course – dogs
Location: Google Maps
Note from Eric: As you all know (or maybe you didn’t know! ), Seoulistic has had an intern for the past three months. This will be my last post and I would like conclude my work here with Seoulistic. It has been a true honor and blessing to be able to share the novelty of the Korean culture by writing articles.
If you have an questions about me in general, music, or even recommendations for places to eat!
Well that ends our list for top 10 Seoul Cafe recommendations! Do you have a favorite place on the list that you want to go? Leave a comment below and let us know!