If you’ve ever stepped foot in Korea, you would know that the cafe-abundant country will leave you spoilt for choice. But fret not! We’ve done the hard work and made a list of the top 5 cafes that are worth the visit. So step forth and explore these cafes during your next trip to Kimchi-land! (And perhaps take a Cheon Song Yi selfie while you’re at it)
Don’t forget to download our HHWT Travel Planner app on App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android to plan your itinerary for your Seoul trip! Visit www.hhwt.io to find out more 😉 (And if you love the app, don’t forget to drop us a review too!)
1. Cats’ Playground 명동 고양이놀이터 – Myeongdong 명동
If you don’t already know, there are about a million cat cafes in Korea (okay we exaggerate). But we’ve visited almost every one and Cat’s Playground at Myeongdong is our absolute favourite!
You’ll have to pay an entrance fee when you enter the café (there is no time limit to how long you can stay there) and you’ll get a free drink too! The drinks available are pretty extensive, ranging from apple juice to green tea latte. After that, you’re free to hang out with the adorable cats!
We kept returning to Cat’s Playground during our 6 months stay in Korea because we felt right at home. There are plenty of cosy spots to hang out with the cats, the staff are really friendly and the café is clean too!
Best of all, there are 40 CATS. 40 ADORABLE CATS of any breed you can imagine!
For a small fee of about ₩3,000 (sorry we can’t remember the exact amount!), you’ll receive a tiny box of treats to feed the cats! We guarantee this will make you feel loved 🙂
Disclaimer: We are crazy cat people. The kind who can spend the entire day at the cat café and yet come back for more.
Opening Hours: 12 – 11pm
Price: ₩8,000 (Includes one free drink)
Address: Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul (8) 37-14
서울시 중구 명동8길 37-14 3층
Directions: Exit 8 of Myeongdong Station. Follow map below for a short walk to Cat’s Playground. Alternatively, look out for the man in the cat costume.
P.S. You can also find this cafe in our HHWT Travel Planner, so download it on Google Play and Apple App Store to plan your trip and add this to your itinerary now! Find out more about our app on hhwt.io 😀
2. Homilbat 호밀밭 – Sinchon 신촌
Patbingsu 팥빙수 (shaved ice with sweet red bean) is one dessert you absolutely have to try in Seoul and it can be found in pretty much any cafe. But rather than settle for just any patbingsu, we say try one of the best in Homilbat! This cosy little patbingsu café is conveniently located in one of the busiest university area, Sinchon. Unfortunately, this also means that you’ll have to wait around 30 minutes in line before you can get a seat.
We recommend the green tea and strawberry patbingsu, which go pretty well together. If you’re craving for something a little simpler, do try the milk patbingsu – shaved ice topped with milk and served with red bean and rice cakes. Simple but tastes heavenly, especially on a hot summer day!
What makes Homilbat stand out from your standard patbingsu is their shaved ice. It’s one of the finest around town and literally melts in your mouth. Paired with fresh fruits and sweet red bean, it’s the perfect dessert to cool you down from all the shopping and sightseeing!
Tip: If you’re up for it, visit Homilpat in Winter to skip the long queues.
Opening Hours: 12noon to 10pm
Price: ₩5,500 to ₩7,000
Address: Changcheon-dong 4-77, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
서울시 서대문구 창천동 4-77
Directions: Alight at Sinchon Station (신촌) on Line #2. Take the U-Plex EXIT from Sinchon Station and walk through a mall, passing shops like LUSH, Body Shop and Cold Stone. Go up the escalators and upon exit, you will see a huge big red pipe with a mirror, facing the main road. Cross over to the other side of the main road. Keep walking straight at the other side of the road and you will pass by Krispy Kreme. Homilpat is located along the road.
3. Shin Old Tea House 신옛찻집 – Insadong
One of our all-time favourite cafés in Seoul is nestled in the back alleys of Insadong and housed in a Korean traditional hanok. This obscure but cosy teahouse is the perfect place to escape the touristy area while relaxing with a cup of traditional Korean tea and snacks! Shin Old Tea House is also one of the oldest traditional teahouses so you can be sure of its authenticity.
Entering the teahouse is almost like taking a step into the past with the rustic interior, traditional furnishing and greenery.
You get to choose from 20 different types of traditional Korean tea and every order comes with traditional Korean rice cakes (떡) and snacks. If you’re visiting in summer, we highly recommend the refreshing iced pear tea (배숙). If you’re visiting in winter, a hot Jujube tea (대추차) and heated flooring in the teahouse will warm you up in no time!
Opening Hours: 10:30 – 23:00
Price: Starts from ₩6,000
Address: 164 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울시 종로구 관훈동 164
Directions: Take the train to Anguk Station, Line #3. Exit towards Insadong. Turn left onto Insadong street. The cafe is at the end of an alley off to your right after you walk past Ssamzigil.
4. Music Space Camerata 황인용 카메라타 – Heyri Art Village (Paju)
Situated 45 minutes from Seoul and 6km from the border of North Korea. We know what you’re thinking. Is a café really worth all the trouble?
If you’re a classical music lover or an audiophile or if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten track experience, definitely!
Imagine high ceilings, cosy chairs, wooden furniture. The most exquisite 1930s audio system spinning vinyl. Filling the café with crisp classical music or the occasional pop tune.
The following may look like strange objects to you (they looked like strange objects to us) but these audio equipment are every audiophile’s dream!
If you have a song request, pen it down and pass it to the DJ. We requested for a track from our favourite musical and boy were we excited to hear the majestic The Phantom Of The Opera fill the room shortly after.
If you haven’t heard of Heyri Art Village, it’s a dedicated art village where over 350 musicians, artists, writers, photographers and sculptors work together. Just in case you’re still having second thoughts about traveling all the way for a really awesome café, Heyri Art Village also has gorgeous museums, small art galleries, bookstores, cozy cafes and music halls! Just follow the paths and have fun exploring the village 🙂 You can find out more here: Visit Seoul
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm, everyday. (Do note that several museums and cafes are closed on Mon in Heyri Art Valley)
Price: Adults – ₩10,000, Kids under 6 – Free. (Price includes drink and muffin)
Address: 1625-129 Beobheungri, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
경기도 파주시 탄현면 법흥리 1652-129
Directions: Subway Line 2, Hapjeong Station, Exit #2 → Take Bus #2200 (07:00-23:20, every 15 minutes; It takes about 45 minutes) and get off at the Heyri stop.
5. Takeout Drawing – Hannamdong (*Serves Alcohol)
Takeout Drawing doubles as a café and an exhibition space. Whether you’re an artist searching for some inspiration or a café-hopping addict, this is one café you won’t want to miss out on. It’s the perfect place to spend an entire day getting inspired or just to wind down from a busy schedule.
If that’s not enough to entice you, perhaps their creative drinks will! Just look out for the strangely shaped coffee that’s gracing everyone’s table in the café. Paul’s Meringue Factory is a smooth expresso topped with a meringue, which you can dip/stir in your coffee.
Not a huge fan of coffee? We highly recommend the Storming Ant (폭풍개미), which comes to life when you pour the hot/cold milk over the organic black-sesame foam.
For the K-drama addicts, you may also find it familiar as the hit movie, Architecture 101 was also filmed in Takeout Drawing! Yes, that movie that made Suzy the “nation’s first-love”.
Address: 683-139 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Directions: Alight at Hangangjin Station on Subway Line #4 and take Exit #3. The café is around 300m down the road.
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 24:00
Price: Paul’s Meringue Factory is priced at ₩7,500 won, Storming Ant at ₩7,000
Disclaimer: These cafes are not halal-certified and one or more of these cafes may serve alcohol.
These phrases will come in handy if you want to double check if there is alcohol in your drink or food:
- Is there alcohol in this? / yigorseun sulri notgoisseoyo? / 이것은 술이 놓고있어요?
- I can’t drink alcohol. / naneun sulri an masyeoyo / 나는 술이 못 마셔요.
- I don’t drink alcohol / naneun sulri mot masyeoyo / 나는 술이안 마셔요.
You can find all the attractions in this article along with yummy halal food and prayer spaces near these attractions, so that you can easily plan out your itinerary for your trip! Visit www.hhwt.io to find out more 😉 (And if you love the app, don’t forget to drop us a review too!)