Koreans’ love affair for drinking coffee has been the driving force for many coffee chains to establish their presence throughout Seoul. It’s also been the precursor for interesting independent cafes to pop up in certain neighborhoods to offer locals something different. To compete with major coffee chains, they strive to stand out roasting their own coffee beans, offering quality coffee with an interesting twist, and delicious desserts and savory foods. Since ambiance is essential to attracting new repeat customers, the range in décors vary from sophisticated, cozy, to quirky with playful tongue-in-cheek concepts. Here’s Soul Story’s top picks for the best three cafes in coffee culture Seoul.
Located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu
Lay Bricks roast their own coffee beans and specialize in hand dripped coffee. It is situated at a vibrant location in Gangnam to hang out and relax. Since the neighborhood attracts artists and trend senders, it’s a brilliant spot to people watch. Even if you are in a hurry and just need a quick caffeine fix, Lay Bricks is one of the best places to go in Seoul for hand dripped coffee.
Address: 555-13, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
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You Are Here Cafe
Located in Hongdae
While you’re hanging out in Hongdae and need a place to chill out, stop in at ‘You Are Here Cafe’. The coffee establishment was set up by popular YouTube stars, Simon and Martina from ‘Eat Your Kimchi’. Since You Are Here Café is in a house, the atmosphere is relaxing and, during warmer seasons, you can sit out at the green front yard. While the YouTube stars are no longer affiliated with the café, it is still bustling and they now offer ‘fair trade’ coffee.
Address: 38 Donggyo-ro 25-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
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Located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu
If you want good coffee and healthy food options, Dish Room by Dore Dore is the place to go. Their concept is ‘Eat Well, Live Well’ by ‘offering super-food using super-food ingredients’. You will have to try their dessert and healthy food options to figure out what they really mean by ‘super-food’. It’s also a fun spot to people watch. You will notice how many local Korean women will walk in with healthy skin complexions. It’s just a reminder that what we apply to our skin is equally important to what we eat.
Address: 34 Apgujeong-ro 14-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
While spending time in cafes, you’ll hear the locals using Korean Hangul slang in conversations. If you’re a fan of Korean dramas and K-pop you may already know some slang words and expressions. Here are a few current fun and popular slang terms the Soul Story team uses:
It means ‘swag’.
SAE JAEL YAE 세젤예
Short form for saying the prettiest in the world and considered the best compliment to give to someone. If you’re meeting a friend and she walks in looking pretty, you would say ‘세젤예’.
Internal Link: Korean Women Secret Beauty from Feb 25th blog post.
Very popular slang used to express “Are you for real” or “Is that for real”!?! Clearly it’s just a rhetorical question but a great way to communicate your disbelief or shock from the news.
BBEONG CHIJIMA 벙치지마
It means don’t lie or don’t try to fool me.
This is new slang and used when you want to express, “I didn’t ask and I don’t care” or “I don’t know and I don’t care”.
What is your favourite cafe in Seoul?
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