Café Crawl: Our Favorite Cafés in Seoul

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017 12:36 PM

After a long day of touring, shopping and general merriment in the streets, locals and tourists alike always seek the sanctuary of a nice café. For some it’s a place to wind down after a long day, relaxing without actually having to go home yet. For others, it’s an experience. I personally enjoy visiting cafés on my travels to just sit down, write or draw while coming up with the next destination on my itinerary.

In the tradition of our new show, Food Maps , we thought we’d bring a little bit of that to Seoul as we choose our favorite cafés in the city!

Seoul’s student-laden district areas promise chic boutiques, cool arts stores and all night long partying. But amidst the bright lights, Seoul has a softer side too. So whether you’re here for the coffee or the Instagram post (because these places are all #aestheticgoals), make sure you check out these cool spots in the area when you’re visiting! 

You Are Here Café



Image source: You Are Here Café twitter page

Situated in the steadily growing hostel side of Hongdae, You Are Here Café is a great place to start your day. The brainchild of the folks behind, this certified Fair Trade coffee shop serves excellent coffees, and one of the best croque monsieurs I’ve had. The place is a house they repurposed into a cafe that is kitschy and fun, (with a huge second floor space) featuring a video booth you can send to friends and textbooks you can browse if you want to learn Korean. 

How to get there: Take exit 1 of Hongdae Station and walk along the street beside KEB Bank until you reach a crosswalk. Cross the way and turn right. Turn left at Donggyo-ro 25 gil and walk until you see a white house. You are here! 

Menon Café/Vant 365



Image source: Carla de Guzman

Another place just slightly off the beaten path, this time in the more popular side of Hongdae. It’s impossible to miss Menon Café—the pretty pink building is bright and happy in the middle of a grey street. It looks like your Barbie doll dream house come to life on the outside (complete with astroturf!) but the inside is cool and classy, with plain white interiors and original artwork by one of my favorite Seoul artists, Yirang. After you’ve sipped your coffee and had a chance to munch on their utterly divine patisserie, go out to the lawn in the back and snap photos with the hydrangeas, or go up to the second floor to shop for cosmetics from the Vant 365 brand. 

How to get there: Walk up to the entrance of Hongdae Univiersity (closest to Exit 9 of the Hongdae station). You will see KEB Bank at the corner on your left. Go left until you see a Starbucks and a Paris Baguette (or Warusan-ro 23 gil). Turn left and walk until the first right (which should be a CU and a BobbyBox). Head down that road until you see the pink building!

Object Café



Image source: Carla de Guzman

It feels like we’re limiting our area a little bit with yet another Hongdae cafe, but trust us when we say Object Café is a cool place, not to be missed. Its darkened, bar-like interiors give it a different feel from your usual cafés, but the hipstery elements inside make this place feel very cool and sophisticated. The owner is a master barista, and serves Korean craft beers with really great tea and coffee. Object Cafe is a recycling advocate, so you may find yourself drinking your coffee with a diskette as a coaster. 

How to get there: from the same KEB Bank in front of Hongdae, take a left to Warusan-ro. Keep walking until you see Object Café. Also nearby is a Studio Ghibli store designed as a Totoro forest with a breathing, snoring Totoro inside!

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse



Image source: Carla de Guzman

Okay okay, so it’s more of a bakery than a cafe, but I couldn’t write a café list without this place. Holmes Bakery is a local favorite in San Francisco, with people lining up for hours just to take home their gigantic pastries. For locals in Seoul, the Agpujeong branch is a great alternative when you don’t really feel like jetting off to San Francisco for the moment. The marble + neon light combination of the store interiors are just begging to be Instagrammed, and the pastries meant to be shared. Make sure you don’t miss their signature cruffins—check their website to find out when they come out fresh!

How to get there: Alight from Exit 8 on Sinsa station and walk straight until you see a Tous le Jours, or a street that slightly goes down on your left. Take that street and take an immediate right then immediate left. Keep walking until you see the Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. 

Coffee Libre



Image source: Caffeinated Explorations

This is the cafe that is credited with starting the "third wave" coffee concept in Korea. They have a wide range of coffee beans that the owner brings from plantations around the world. The interiors may be a lot simpler than most, but the coffee is on point. We also love the Mexican wrestler logo. 

How to get there: From Myeongdong Exit 6, walk down Myeongdong 8-ro gil until you see the Woori Bank on the corner. Turn right until you see Myeongdong Cathedral. Cafe Libre is at the base of the Cathedral, just after the stairs. 


For more food + travel content, watch Food Maps and Korean Food Made Simple on Lifestyle Network!


About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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