New Korean coffee shops are always opening up to serve visitors delicious coffee. Most cafes have an aesthetically-pleasing interior, which is excellent for photo-taking opportunities and Instagram. Today, there are more than 15,000 cafes in and around the city.
Each cafe has its charms and quirks. Some coffee shops offer the ability to dress up as princesses or Korean ladies from the 1930s, while others focus on extraordinary drinks and unique interiors. A few even have animals to cuddle up with as you’re sipping on your hot drink. You will definitely find more than one cafe that will suit your taste in Seoul.
However, it’s not always easy to find all the interesting coffee shops here if you have a limited time in the city. But don’t worry - I've made it easier for you by putting together a list of the 13 best cafes in Seoul. Below, you will find a variety of cafes with a wide selection of drinks, food and unique interiors suitable for various types of people.
Scroll below to find my favourite personal picks!
Nestled in the trendy neighbourhood of Seongsu, just opposite of Gangnam District, Daerim Warehouse is the perfect cafe to relax in.
Its main building used to be an old factory that got converted into an airy coffee shop and art gallery. The cafe has an industrial interior, making it look artsy but modern.
As for the prices, Daerim Warehouse is quite expensive for an ordinary traveller. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, be prepared to splurge on a tea.
The cafe offers a wide selection of salads, pizzas and pasta dishes that you can share with your friends. Before leaving, don’t forget to check out their art gallery, which is quite impressive.
Zapangi is a unique coffee shop hidden behind pink vending machine doors. It is situated in the Mangwon neighbourhood, between Hongdae and Sangam, in Mapo District.
This coffee shop is known for its pink theme and mermaid tin cakes that come in various flavours. There is a wide range of coffees and teas, from regular americanos to bottled strawberry lattes.
The prices are higher here than regular coffee shops, but along with your coffee, you will be able to enjoy their lovely pink interior with photo-taking opportunities in every corner.
The easiest way to get to this cafe is to take subway line 6 and get off at Mangwon subway station, exit 2. You will find Zapangi just down the road.
Themed cafes in Seoul are becoming more and more popular, and ordinary traditional Korean coffee shops are left forgotten. However, Hanyakbang is still going strong.
This cafe is hidden between old Euljiro neighbourhood buildings where tourists don't go. It is located in a building from the 1920s and is well-known for its unique rustic interior.
Hanyakbang's name means a traditional Korean herbal medicine room, which suggests they brew their coffee carefully like medicine.
On their menu, you will find ordinary hand-drip coffee, flavoured lattes, cappuccinos, espresso, affogatos and even Dutch coffee, which I highly recommend trying.
The prices here are similar to chain coffee shop brands, so you won’t need to splurge.
If you are looking for an instagrammable cafe in Seoul, Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe is the place for you.
After entering, you will be amazed by its unique and quirky interior. It has a massive choice of instagrammable drinks, too. Just perfect for you Instagram photographers!
I highly recommend staying on the 5th floor as it has a very cool swimming pool concept.
Note, you will have to order at least one drink per person to be able to sit in the cafe and take photos.
In late 2018, another excellent coffee shop opened up in the trendy Hongdae neighbourhood. 943 King's Cross is a Harry Potter-themed cafe stretched over five floors and has a pub in the basement. It is sometimes also called Seoul Cafe Street.
Everything in this cafe is made to look like a Harry Potter film. There are tons of props that you can use for photos. You will find a wide selection of speciality coffee, Harry Potter themed drinks and healthy teas.
According to local coffee reviewers, 943 King's Cross serves the best coffee in the Hongdae area.
Be aware that you will be asked to order a drink by the entrance. Staff are very strict about this, so make sure to follow the rules.
Cong Caphe is a little bit different from the other coffee shops mentioned on this list. It is a Vietnamese cafe franchise that has more than 50 stores in Vietnam.
All stores, including the one in Seoul, are made to look like old communist buildings. Inside, you will see old-looking tables, memorabilia from the 60s and 70s and baristas wearing green communist uniforms. You will feel like you just travelled back in time.
The incredible thing is that Seoul's Cong Caphe staff are all trained in Vietnam, and they use Vietnamese coffee beans. This means you will get precisely the same taste and menu that they offer in Vietnam.
I recommend trying the all-time favourite coconut coffee smoothie or coconut condensed milk coffee.
Osulloc is a famous green tea brand that has shops in Myeongdong, Insadong, Daehakro, and Apgujeong. Osulloc Tea House specialises in green tea-based drinks, cakes and sandwiches.
All their tea houses offer a relaxed and modern atmosphere with some chic furniture and vintage tea plantation photos.
Inside the cafe, you will have a chance to taste various types of organic green tea, buy green tea chocolate and try the famous green tea latte with ice cream on top.
If you are looking for a quiet place, Osulloc Tea House is the right choice. All stores also have free wifi. My favourite Osulloc Tea House is in Insadong as it has majestic views of the city from higher floors.
Seoulism is well-known for having a very chic rooftop area with a ‘Seoul’ sign. Most people come here for photo opportunities instead of coffee or brunch.
Be prepared for queues on a nice day. I highly suggest coming on a rainy day if you don’t mind taking photos of Lotte World Tower with a grey sky.
Keep in mind that this cafe is more on the expensive side, so be prepared to pay more for a drink. Drinks are priced around 7,000 KRW (7 USD).
Takeout Drawing is one of the best cafes in the Itaewon area. There are two stores in this area, one is close to Noksapyeong Station, and the other is near Hangangjin Station. Both cafes are very similar, so select the one that is closest to you.
Takeout Drawing's interior is quite plain and open, making it perfect for relaxation and work. A unique thing about this cafe is that every coffee has its own drawing and a little story. The coffee presentation is magnificent, and you will get great shots for your Instagram.
As most of the themed coffee shops in Seoul, Takeout Drawing is quite expensive, so be prepared to splurge.
If you are looking for a lovely and cute animal cafe in Seoul, then you have to visit the Blind Alley cafe. This cafe is different from other animal cafes in the city.
At the Blind Alley, you will have to order a drink first, and after that, you can step into the raccoon enclosure. You can freely touch them or watch from afar.
Before entering the enclosure, make sure you empty your pockets and leave your food outside. Raccoons can steal things from your pockets if you have anything in them, so be careful!
Arriate by La Maison de Fleur, or just Arriate for short, is a coffee shop located in Yeoksam neighbourhood (Gangnam District). It is a unique cafe decorated with tons of dried flowers and serves speciality drinks.
It is a popular destination for taking instagrammable photos, so be prepared for girls posing with gorgeous dresses. There is a small flower shop where you can buy various dried flowers and other souvenirs.
Luckily, Arriate’s prices are very reasonable and start from 4,000 KRW (4 USD).
This list would not be complete without also including Madang Cafe on it, which lives in Ikseon neighbourhood (Jongno District). It is another flower cafe that is decorated with dried and real flowers.
Madang Cafe is known for having delicious and beautiful-looking food, as well as having a wide selection of drinks. I recommend ordering the warm waffles served with whipped cream and fruits here. The dish looks great for a photo, and it’s incredibly delicious!
Madang Cafe is usually crowded with people taking photos, so come during a weekday morning to avoid queues.
The last coffee shop on the list is another animal cafe called Thanks Nature Cafe. It is a cafe where you can meet two adorable sheep.
Thanks Nature Cafe became popular due to the Korean TV show We Got Married. Inside the coffee shop, you will find farm-related decor and two very friendly sheep that like to interact and be fed by visitors.
There is a wide selection of waffles, toasts, traditional Korean ice cream and drinks here. The prices are also very affordable.
To get to the cafe, take the subway towards Hongik University in Hongdae, leave through exit nine and follow the directions towards the university.
Seoul has hundreds of exciting cafes that are worth visiting, along with many unusual things to do in the city. You could easily spend all your days visiting Seoul’s coffee shops, but even then, you will still come across more of them. From popular animal cafes to differently-themed coffee shops, everyone can find something here.
I hope this Best Cafes in Seoul list has given you some ideas about the various kinds of Korean cafes available to you.
If you couldn’t find anything you like on this list, try visiting areas like Hongdae, Myeongdong and Insadong, or exploring some of Seoul's night markets. Either way, I can guarantee you will find a cafe that suits your needs there.
This article was first published on Dec 13, 2019 19:07 UTC.
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