9 Cafes Making A Statement in Hongdae
I’ve been doing a lot of cafe hopping lately likely due to the humidity and heat that has embraced Korea this summer. All I want to do is find a cool place to hang out, eat some sweet treats and chat it up with friends. Luckily I live near the Hongdae/Hapjeong/Sangsu area which has no shortage of cool, cute, boutique,rustic, and modern cafes. There’s literally something for everyone. Here are some of my favorites over the past month or so of being out and about in the area.
1. Ban Bossy Boutique (밴보시부티크)
Ban Bossy Boutique is an oasis of teal and pink that is hidden away on the third floor of a building down an alley that definitely needs to be hunted out if not for the colors, then definitely for the gorgeously decorated Plank&Gilt desserts. The sign outside is simple black and white so you’d have no idea that it will lead you to this beautiful interior painted in aesthetically appealing colors for any afternoon dessert stop with gal pals. The lemonades are served with ice cubes frozen around flowers and the cupcakes are served with frosting so delicate you’d think the flowers atop them were real. Just to be on the up and up here though, they are prettier than they taste. The cupcakes were a bit dry for me. This third floor cafe is a must find if you want to find that oasis in the middle of the madness that is Hongdae and take tons of Instagram-friendly photos though.
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 408-17 3층
2. Luft (루프트)
Luft is inviting with the white space and simple and modern chairs and tables. It’s one of those places that isn’t exactly cozy, but gives you the perfectly simple and modest area to think without distraction.
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 합정동 362-3 1층
3. Bold Coffee (볼드커피)
If this isn’t a statement, I don’t know what is! Seriously though, Bold Coffee looks like any normal coffee shop when you enter on the first floor and place your order. It isn’t until walking down into the basement that you see why this cafe is so cool. Aside from the bold Bold that is obviously photo-op friendly, the basement is a cement block seating area strewn space with plants and soft mats to keep it comfortable. It’s like you’ve stepped into an old bathing house turned cafe, a style that seems to be all the rage these days.
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 합정동 376-9
4. Dessert Yeonguso (디저트연구소)
Flufffy pink, beige and brown decorations abound and set against the white tiled walls and the metal bars, the feeling is chic and comfortable at the same time. The desserts are scrumptious with the most popular being a peach look-alike that opens up to a cheesecake surprise inside. The tiramisu was topped with a candied apple and chocolate beneath the layers and both held their own in this eloquent dessert cafe. The ades were extremely satisfying in the Seoul humidity too. This is a fluffy diamond in the rough between some of the popular bars in the area.
Address: 서울 마포구 와우산로29마길 22
5. Bunny Cafe
To continue with the theme of fluffy and cute, head to Bunny Cafe. More about the bunnies and less about the drinks and treats. The cafe is the first floor of a three or four story building that is painted pink in its entirety. The Alice in Wonderland vibes are on point and the “garden” area is inviting for pics while you wait your turn to sit with the bunnies and enjoy some quiet time. Remember to be quiet around these fickle beings.
Address:마포구 서교동 347-3
Nitt sits down a side alley and is easy to miss when walking around the Hapjeong area, but the billowing cabana like curtains inside and out along with the inviting pink and green color scheme make this stop feel like you’re sitting in a wicker and rattan 70s era vacation stop. This stop is good for an afternoon ade or coffee and dessert or head there in the evening for some beer and wine. The lighting makes it the perfect place to drink in a relaxing dark lit atmosphere before you head out to get riotous.
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 합정동 412-27 1층
7. Anthracite (앤트러사이트)
Set in an old shoe factory, this Anthracite in Hapjeong is, in my opinion, a bit more appealing than the other in Itaewon. This Anthracite is dark and moody with all of the mismatched appeal it could muster. The ceilings are high, the coffee and desserts delicious and there are plenty of places to sit and hide away to get work done or have a serious conversation.
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 합정동 357-6
8. Dinga Cake House (딩가케이크)
This quirky little shop is out of the main drag area of Hongdae/Hapjeong so unless you’re headed there, you’d likely never find this place where cakes are trying to look like hamburgers and hot dogs but taste of carrot cake and tiramisu. From outside to in, the vibe is 50s mother in the kitchen whipping up delicious treats for her good little children. Only a few seats are available, but the treats can also be taken to go. Everything is freshly baked and decorated and they often sell out by evening so be sure to stop in early to get a specific item the likes of Earl Grey, Red Velvet, Chocolate and Carrot cakes if that’s what you’re after. The cakes were just decorated beautifully, but they tasted amazing as well. I was digging the buttercream action.
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 잔다리로 93
9. Bean Brothers (빈브라더스)
Bean Brothers is another warehouse turned cafe style spot that is making their own kind of statements like “We are nothing without brotherhood.” That’s definitely something I wouldn’t mind reminding people of now and again. High ceilings like any good warehouse cafe should have and good coffee invite you into this substantial space perfect for a little convo on the go.
Cafe hunting is one of my favorite things to do. You definitely don’t have to go to the same cafe twice in Seoul. What’s the best cafe you’ve found around?
Know Where To Go!
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