A GUIDE TO SEOUL’S CUTEST, INSTAGRAMMABLE CAFES
Saying Seoul is a goldmine for Instagrammable cafes would be an understatement.
Chilling in cool cafes, many of which are themed, is one of the top things to do when visiting South Korea’s capital.
Cafe hopping in Seoul is next level, the city sits at the center of Korean culture. Known for its unique design concepts, it’s no surprise the city’s cafes are so ‘gram worthy.
While I’m into quality coffee, and take finding good cold brew seriously, I’m also a sucker for fun cafes. Especially if it’s a well executed theme, where you feel transported to another time or place.
Thankfully, some of Seoul’s best spots combine both things I love about cafe culture- quirky, cool concepts with good drinks for caffeine cravings.
During my five days in the city, I had a sinus infection and didn’t make it to as many cafes as I would have liked to.
Further complicating things, I stayed in the Gangnam neighborhood, which while great in some regards, wasn’t exactly an epi-center for cafes of this nature. I did my best to get out and explore on the days I was feeling better, but left Seoul feeling like I’d missed a lot.
If returning to Seoul, I’d stay in the Hongdae area, which is known for being a live music and arts hotspot, with loads of great cafes to check out.
If you’re heading to Seoul for the first time, and need a cheeky coffee, cake or treat break from exploring, check out these cool, cafes.
10 Can’t-Miss, Instagrammable Cafes in Seoul, Korea
Perception: One of the best designed cafes I’ve ever stepped food in. The undulating ceiling is interesting to look at from every angle. The cafe itself is so peaceful, it’s truly the definition of a beautiful space. And, their grapefruit black tea with honey is incredible- this drink quickly became my go-to order in Korea, and this cafe was one of the best spots for it.
Anthracite: Set in an old warehouse, Anthracite is equal parts dark, moody and trendy. The ceilings are high, the coffee drinks delicious, and it’s got seemingly endless space. If I’d been staying in Seoul longer, I would have had to post up and work from this cafe. Bonus points for its expansive rooftop, the perfect place to chill at sunset.
Zapangi: One of Seoul’s most Insta-famous cafes, the entrance to Zapangi is through a pink vending machine, which is fitting, given ‘zapangi’ means vending machine in Korean. Inside, the aesthetic is cool and minimal, and the treats are decadent with a colourful, sparkly mermaid theme. I tried the mermaid hot chocolate, which is a bit more over the top than something I’d normally order, but it was just too cute to pass up.
Stylenanda Pink Hotel & Pink Pool Cafes: Fabulously pink, these cafes are some of the hippest places to enjoy an iced latte in Seoul right now. I’m preferential to the pink pool one because, what could be better than dining by an indoor pool? If you’ve got an ultimate sweet tooth, don’t miss the cotton candy ice cream.
Poop Cafe: Yes, you read that right- a cafe dedicated to poo. This cafe is infamous for its lattes served in toilet bowl-shaped mugs, food displayed in mini urinals, and plethora of other food shaped treats. We popped in when we realised we were near the poop cafe, but didn’t order anything after perusing the menu. To be honest, it all looked pretty average. But, it was cool to check out the cafe and see the theme executed in a culture where the poop emoji is considered cute.
943 Kings Cross: Be still my Harry Potter loving heart. The perfect place for Potterheads in the midst of Seoul, 943 is the ultimate Hogwarts cafe experience. Upon entering, you’ll see school robes to borrow, an entire wall of wands and broomsticks, and the enchanted experience doesn’t stop there. Every detail screams wizarding world cafe. The only downside? The food and drink were mediocre- definitely the kind of place you come for the atmosphere, and no so much to actually eat or drink.
Yeonnam 223: A 2-D space serving three-dimensional food and drinks, Yeonnam is a cafe concept inspired by a tv show, where the characters are caught between the real world and an animated experience. When you enter, it’ll seem like the tables, chairs and decorations have lost all depth. Everything is black and white, and utterly cartoonish. It’s a very cool place to order a colorful slice of cake.
CaFace: Famous for its selfie-lattes, I wouldn’t expect great coffee, but that’s not really the point of coming here. If you’re up for the novelty of having a photo of yourself printed on your drink, popping in here is a must.
Dog Cafe: Seoul’s famous for many things, especially its animal cafes. You’ll find ones for cats, dogs, rabbits, and even owls. On my visit, I spent an evening at a dog one, and absolutely loved playing with tons of puppers. It’s hard to really ‘drink’ or ‘eat’ anything in these cafes, and if you do, you normally need to do it in a separate area. So, I’d class coming to one of these spots as more of a ‘for the experience’ of spending time with animals kind of thing, versus an actual cafe. That said, the dog one I visited was great- there were guides around to supervise playing with the floofs, and even offered treats to guests to get the dogs to do tricks from time to time. 100% recommend if you’re looking for an amazing way to spend an evening, what could be better than the constant company of doggos?
Cong Caphe: I’ve long proclaimed my love for Cong after discovering their cafes in Vietnam. Hailed as the ‘Starbucks’ of Vietnam, Cong excels at ace coffee drinks. The must order item off their menu? Coconut coffee. It’s sweet, and in my opinion, best enjoyed mid-afternoon after a hot day of wandering.
And, if you’re a tea fan, don’t miss stopping in an Osulloc. With all tea produced in Korea (enter: their legendary tea fields on Jeju island), their blends are some of the best I found in the capital. It’s not a cute cafe per se, but their matcha desserts are adorable, and with so many tea blends to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
Have you ever visited Seoul? Would you add any Instagrammable cafes to this list?
Photo Credits (from the few that aren’t my own): Pink Pool Cafe // Yeonnam Cafe
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