Sure lattes and cappuccinos are nice. But Korea’s added some extra fun to cafes with some really unique themes. Find out where you can pet dogs and cats, see Charlie Brown, play Jenga, go camping and even get your bike fixed!
[6 June 2013: Has been edited with updated locations]
So you’ve got some homework to do, but your brother is watching wrestling super loud, your mom is yelling super loud and your dad is farting super loud. That’s it, time to go to a cafe! But then everyone there is super loud too! Well… if you’re in Korea, you can always head over to a study cafe. Many are run just like libraries (no chatting) and they might even be better because they got lots and lots of caffeine! So they’re perfect places to fuel your sleepy eyes and give you enough peace and quiet to study.
Tip: Some book cafes in Korea are just regular cafes with books and people chatting, but many are on the quiet side.
Recommendation: May Island (메이아일랜드)
Address: 서울 강남구 역삼동 816-6 용일빌딩 4, 5층 (Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Yeoksam-dong 816-6, Yongin Bldg 4F & 5F)
Closest Subway Station: Gangnam Station (Line 2), Sinnonhyeon Station (Line 9)
Blogs (for pics): omg0609 (Korean), 배추 (Korean)
Namu Guneul is a cafe we highlighted in our cafes to get free refills. And there you can get refills of coffee and bread to drink and eat to your hearts content. But you won’t be the only one eating. Namu Guneul in Gangnam has tiny cute little fishies that love to eat you (your dead skin to be exact). It’s a funny feeling if you’ve never experienced it, but it might be a more comfortable alternative to the traditional Korean way of getting rid of your dead skin (paying an ajumma/ajeosi to scrub you crazy hard!).
Address: 서울 중구 명동1가 37-1 4층 (Seoul, Jung-gu, Myeongdong, 37-1 4th Floor)
Closest Subway Station: Myeongdong Station (Line 4), Euljiro-1-Ga Station (Line 2)
Blogs: Tripologist (English), TheHangulGames (English), CarlosAbroad (English)
The Japanese-born character is so cute that Korea had to make its own cafe dedicated to Hello Kitty (either that or a multi-million dollar corporation, but who knows?!), and it’s definitely one of the cutest places to sip on a latte in Korea. Make your way over here if you want cuteness overload with Hello Kitty decorations, cups, desserts and even Hello Kitty latte art. It is quite popular and it does get a bit crowded at times, but it’s perfect for those in need of a little (aka A LOT) of pink in their lives .
Address (Click for maps): Hongdae Location (서울시 마포구 어울마당로 94-3), Shinchon Location (서울시 서대문구 명물길 36-6), Incheon Airport (Near Departure Gate 24 – past customs). Samcheongdong location (서울시 종로구 삼청로 106). See official website for more locations.
Closest Subway Stations: Hongdae University Station (Line 2), Shinchon Station (Line 2), Anguk Station (Line 3)
Blogs: MissTamChiek , Tumblr with Hello Kitty Cafe Pics
Photography is so bomb. It’s so awesome that Korea has cafes dedicated to the art of snapping pictures. We found Cafe’ra in Incheon, and they put up nice photography on the walls as well as display some photography memorabilia around the store. But the cool part comes in if you’ve got your own DSLR camera. If you order a drink, they will allow you to use their camera lenses to just mess around with in the store. Come here and test out a few lenses. And stop drinking so much coffee so you can buy your own!
Address: 인천시 연수구 송도동 18-1 302커낼워크 302동 225호 (Incheon-si, Yeonsu-gu, Songdo-dong 18-1)
Closest Subway Station: Central Park Station (Incheon Line 1)
Blogs (for pics): 38sebal (Korean), jhtn38 (Korean)
The lovable Charlie Brown not only has a cafe in Seoul, he has an entire chain all throughout Korea (click here for official website)! And although Hello Kitty is a one-kitty wrecking crew, at Charlie Brown Cafe, you’ll get the entire Peanuts entourage. With Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy and the rest of his pals on cakes and cookies, you might even hesitate to take a bite out of these uber cute characters. No wait… Actually… Take a bite out of Lucy. She never holds the ball for Charlie Brown !
Tip: Although many blogs online say Charlie Brown Cafe is in Hongdae, it has since closed. There are two in Seoul (directions for one below) the other near (Gimpo Airport – click for map). There’s also a very small one inside Incheon International Airport (near boarding gate 12 in the Duty Free Area after customs).
Closest Subway Station: Sanbong Station (상봉역) – Line 7, Jungang Line, Gyeongchun Line (It’s inside the station.)
Blogs: Cute in Korea ala Incheon Airport (English), Korean Blogger ala Gimpo Airport (Mayfield Hotel) location
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Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com