25 Cafes in Seoul: the Trendiest & Most Brewtiful

Wow, I’m actually surprised I haven’t published this post before now! I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there are some pretty trendy and unique cafes in Seoul. And I’m not even talking about the ones that involve animals! 

Never in my travels have I encountered a country with such an incredible cafe scene. Portland hipsters wish. I mean, even their budget, franchise options are better! You can find a Paris Baguette in even the most rural of destinations, not to mention Tous le Jours, the “fancier” Paris Croissant, Cafe Benne, Ediya… I really should do a whole separate post on Korean franchise coffee shops!

Of course, Seoul, which sits at the very center of Korean culture, is the ultimate mecca for coffee addicts and Instagrammers alike. I love a fun cafe, and I’ve visited at least one on every trip I’ve made to the city. After my most recent trip, I’ve managed to double that number. This means, it’s time to start compiling a list of my favorites and some I have yet to visit but I want to. Trust me, this list is going to be never ending! There’s always something new and cool around the corner in a city with over 25 million citizens in its metro area!

25 Trendy Cafes in Seoul

All are listed in alphabetical order for easy searching! I’ll list the neighborhoods and link to the KakaoMap location as well, so if you plan to visit a few at once, you’ll know which ones to do.

1. 943 Kings Cross (943킹스크로스)

Neighborhood: Seokyo-dong in Hongdae (서교동)

Yes, this is a Harry Potter cafe, and it’s six floors tall. Even if you just like fun, magic-themed rooms, you gotta visit this place! As a lifelong HP fan with a Hermione pin on my jean jacket, I was in heaven.

On KakaoMap

2. Banana Tree Cafe (바나나트리 신사점)

Neighborhood: Sinsa-dong near Gangnam (신사동)

It’s funny how long ago I went to this fun cafe with my friend, Natasha! She had heard of it and wanted to go, and, I mean, who says no to flower-pot themed dirt desserts?

On KakaoMap // Instagram

3. Boulanger Maison Bukak (블랑졔메종북악)

Neighborhood: Seongbuk-dong (성북동)

Hallie and I stopped here after we went up to the Bukak Skyway. It’s freaking charming! I mean the bread decor alone, and instead of a typical tray to get desserts, you can use cute baskets. Get the clam chowder in the bread bowl — delicious!

On KakaoMap

4. CaFace (카페이스)

Neighborhood: Seokyo-dong in Hongdae (서교동 )

Located in the Hongdae Trick Eye Museum, this is the place you can get your selfie printed on your latte!

On KakaoMap

5. Cafe Layered (레이어드)

Neighborhood: Yeonnam-dong in Hongdae (연남동)

I only stopped in here quickly with Angie on my way back to the metro. It’s a super girly cafe with wonderfully fancy pastries! I got the salted caramel scone.

On KakaoMap

6. Coffee Nap Roasters (커피냅로스터스)

Neighborhood: Yeonnam-dong in Hongdae (연남동)

I met Hallie here when we first met up! It’s a tiny little thing whose unique feature is a random brick area right in the middle of the cafe.

On KakaoMap // Instagram

7. Cong Caphe (콩카페)

Neighborhood: Yeonnam-dong in Hongdae (연남동)

Ok, I had to add this because I freaking love Cong Caphe’s frozen coconut coffee drink. It’s actually a small chain in Vietnam, and I wrote about it as one of my top things to do in Hanoi. They’re all designed with an army theme, and you’re going to love any drink you get there. It’s right next door to the 2-D cafe (more on that below). There’s also a yummy Thai place nearby too.

On KakaoMap

8. Dore Dore (도레도레)

Neighborhood: Sinsa-dong in Gangnam (신사동)

Home to the rainbow cake! It has a few locations, but my favorite is the one in Sinsa that looks like it belongs in an episode of “Saved by the Bell.” At various points I’ve been able to share a slice between four people happily and gobble up one on my own…

On KakaoMap // Instagram

9. Dreamy Camera Cafe (꿈꾸는사진기)

Neighborhood: Yongmun-myeon right outside of Seoul (용문면)

Ok, so this isn’t in Seoul, but you can visit easily through the subway and a taxi ride. And it’s just so lovely and charming, I highly recommend visiting! I wrote a post about the cafe here if you want more information.

On KakaoMap

10. Grain (그레인)

Neighborhood: Yeonnam-dong in Hongdae (연남동)

Angie and I met here for brunch, and it was so good! It’s on the healthier side, though we got their pancakes to balance out the health ;).

On KakaoMap // Instagram

11. Kyul by Bean Brothers (결by 빈브라더스)

Neighborhood: Gongpyeongdong near Jonggak

Angie sent me this cafe when I asked for some recommendations around Jonggak station since I had a meeting there. It’s super cute and right near Jongak Station, Exit 3-1! The vibe, at least around 9am on a weekday morning, was still pretty peaceful. And I loved the lemon cake!

12. Midlevel (미드레벨)

Neighborhood: Bongcheondong near Seoul University

Only go here if you’ve got a giant sweet tooth! It’s supposed to be a Hong Kong dessert cafe, so we got these cream-filled waffles, and you can get milk tea.  Not my first pick for dessert in Seoul but enjoyed the sugary treats I got. There are some cool neon signs on the outside, and Hallie got a fun shot on the side of the building.

On Kakao Map // Instagram

13. Nakrangpara (낙랑파라)

Neighborhood: Dongkyo-dong near Hongdae (동교동)

Angie took me here after we ate at Grain to do a little work. It’s so nice and cozy, and she said she’d come here often to study for her exams. They also have some vintage things for sale while you wait for your coffee!

On KakaoMap

14. Ongozisin (온고지신)

Neighborhood: Bongcheondong near Seoul University

So Papago tells me the name of this cafe comes from a verb, “온고신하다” which basically means looking to the past as a guide for the future. I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of Japanese influence as well.

The cafe has a more rustic feel and I think one of the baristas speaks English! Of course, the main feature is this big, circular window! We got some milk teas here if memory serves. It’s along Sharosugil near Seoul University Station.

On KakaoMap // Instagram

15. Osulloc Cafe (오설록)

Neighborhood: Samseong-dong (삼성동)

This one is more for tea drinkers because Osulloc, of course, refers to Jeju’s Osulloc Teja Fields! If you can’t make it down, you can visit one of their cafes in Seoul and sample lots of delicious tea. There’s a nice one in Samseong-dong that I went to with friends on a rainy day after visiting Bongeunsa and Coex Starfield Mall.

On KakaoMap

16. Perception

Neighborhood: Hapjeong near Hongdae (동교동)

Hallie sent me this fun cafe to meet her at when I landed in Seoul! I had plenty of time to kill before I could check in, so I was up for a little exploring after a few hours in Siloam sauna. It’s just a nice, quiet space tucked away in Hapjeong where we got to catch up and also meet a new friend traveling in Seoul!

On KakaoMap // Instagram

17. Poop Cafe (또옹카페)

Area: Ssamziegil in Insadong

Hahahahahaha, the poop cafe! I love that in the middle of all these shops with traditional Korean souvenirs, there’s a quirky lil cafe all about making poop cute. Little swirly hats, toilet lattes, making squat potties look pretty… I could go on!

On KakaoMap

18. Project Seoul ( 프로젝트서울)

Neighborhood: Bongcheon-dong near Seoul University

What a funky a little cafe! Hallie took my friend and I here, and when we first walked in, it was like stepping into an Instagram Twilight Zone. There was a rose wall, a bed, trendy seating, a giant pink unicorn… I could have easily shared like ten more photos from the different angles! I recommend the rose lemonade.

On KakaoMap // Instagram

19. Remicone (레미콘)

Neighborhood: Sinsa-dong in Gangnam (신사동)

Remicone’s claim to fame is its cotton candy drinks, and I went with Elissa when we met up with Megan and Scott during the summer. They weren’t impressed, and I remember liking mine but not feeling a need to have it again. Still, if you’re curious, try it out!

On Naver

20. Seoullism (서울리즘)

Neighborhood: Songpa-dong (송파동)

Seoulism is such a fun cafe! The rooftop is such Instagram bait, I kind of love it. With the fun SEOUL sign and the view straight to Lotte Tower (with the Seoul Sky Observatory), it’s such a fun photo. Of course, try to avoid when it’s raining for a prettier sky. Marie and I were unlucky in that sense, but we didn’t have to wait in line which was nice!

The inside of the cafe is quite fun too, so definitely stick around and enjoy. I’d say it’s a nice place to work or study too since most people probably come for the photo, buy their drink, and move on. In rainy weather, it’s more or less empty. You have to buy a drink, and the coconut one I got was like 11,000 KRW, so might as well get the most bang for your buck!

You could also tie it in with a date at Lotte World and Seokchon Lake since they’re nearby!

On KakaoMap // Instagram

21. Space Shinseon (스페이스신선)

Neighborhood: Hannam-dong near Itaewon (한남동)

So Space Shinseon is also kind of a mini museum or art gallery with a cafe on the first floor. It has such a nice, clean design with interesting sculptures, including the spiral staircase with doves. Hallie, Angie, and I relaxed here after we walked around the museum.

On KakaoMap // Instagram

22. Stylenanda Pink Hotel & Pink Pool Cafes

Neighborhood: Hongdae and Myeongdong

I wrote about both cafes here, but I’ll say it again — there are two locations and when I was researching them they just kept coming up as one place. However, one is more of a hotel theme and the other is a restaurant/pool theme! The hotel one is in Myeongdong, and it’s also the one with the rooftop area. The Hongdae one is the one with the mini pool (that you don’t swim in) and the pink restaurant vibe that looks like the London one.

On KakaoMap: Myeongdong & Hongdae // Instagram

23. Thanks, Oat (땡스오트)

Neighborhood: Yeonnam-dong in Hongdae (연남동)

What a cute little place in Yeonnam-dong! Hallie wanted to go here, and I can see why. It has delicious yogurt bowls and just has this countryside feel once you step inside. It even smells delicious in there.

On KakaoMap // Instagram

24. Yeonnam 223 (Cafe 연남동 223-14)

Neighborhood: Yeonnam-dong in Hongdae (연남동)

One of the last cafes I visited with Hallie and some new friends. It’s designed to look 2-D, which is super fun. I liked how creative they got with our drinks even more — look how fun those drinks are!

On KakaoMap // Instagram

25. Zapangi Cafe (자판기)

Neighborhood: Mangwon-dong (망원동)

Ahh the vending machine cafe! Seriously, zapangi means vending machine in Korean! Take a fun pic with the front door and then head in for a fun mermaid tin cake and coffee. If you don’t like sweet things, you may find the food and drinks too sugary, but I went when I still had a strong sweet tooth, so I loved it.

On KakaoMap

Cafes Still to Go

  • Green Mile Coffee (그린마일커피) – Saw this on Hallie’s IG. I like that it’s near hanok rooftops.
  • Orbit (올빛) – I saw this one on at @greysuitcase but didn’t get a chance to go before I left! It’s also actually a guesthouse so you could stay there too.
  • ShikmulgwanPH (식물관PH)Another one I saw on Hallie’s IG, and another IG I started following, @wi_cloud. I tried translating the Korean and it came out as either “Botanical Tube PH” or “Botanical Coffin PH,” so…. I might need to work on my Korean skills more. But it looks like a pretty botanical -themed cafe!
  • Understated Coffee (언더스테이티드) – Hallie and Angie told me about this cute place. It’s got a cool aesthetic and, most importantly, the own has an adorable dog.

And there’s my list of trendy cafes in Seoul… for now! I know 25 is a small, small number in the grand scheme of cafes, so please let me know if you know of any cool places I need to add for my next visit!

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  1. Amber
    September 12, 2021 / 10:56 am

    Hello Samantha,

    I love your write up.

    I’m actually traveling to Seoul next month and I have been indecisive on where I should stay. Either Gangnam or Hongdae at the L7 hotel chain.

    I live in the heart of Los Angeles, specifically in Koreatown.

    Where would you honestly suggest for someone who’s in their late 30’s but looks mid-20’s? Enjoys the city, fashion and living life to its fullest?

    My friend suggested I stay where I’m “comfortable” which I interpreted being comfortable while Black lol but she meant being comfortable without being “on” all the time.

    Also, what are the distances typical in terms of time that it would take to transport to Gangnam, Itaewon and Hongdae by taxi?

    Humble Regards,


    • Samantha
      September 12, 2021 / 8:14 pm

      Hi Amber! Luckily Seoul is absurdly easy to navigate via its subway so ultimately it doesn’t matter where you stay :) As it’s also a major city, you’ll be a bit more comfortable as a foreigner here especially in the main tourist areas!

      I wrote a post on where to stay in Seoul here which has more of a breakdown (need to update it though!): https://thereshegoesagain.org/where-to-stay-in-seoul-neighborhoods/

      Based on what you want to do, I’d say Hongdae, Insadong, or Myeongdong are your best bets!

      Hongdae – kind of the university area which means it’s got a lot of cool, trendy spots, good eateries, and fun shopping (though warning if you’re over a size 2 shopping in Korea is… limited). Also it’s closest to the airport (still an hour away), so I like to stay in this district either right when I come or leave Korea. (https://thereshegoesagain.org/hotels-in-hongdae/) Hotel wise – RYSE or L7

      Insadong – the “traditional” part of Korea near the palaces. Very cool if you want to be more near the cultural stuff! Personally one of my favorite areas. (https://thereshegoesagain.org/hotels-in-insandong/) Hotel wise – I’d look into one of the hanok ones.

      Myeongdong – this is the shopping area and also very trendy. It’s also the most central of the shopping districts while still having good food options and things to do. I’d say this is my pick and where we were going to base our 3 day Seoul extension on our Korea tour. (https://thereshegoesagain.org/best-hotels-in-myeongdong/) Hotel wise, we booked Hotel28 for our tour!

      I would recommend against staying in Gangnam or Itaewon. I’d only recommend Gangnam if you’re in on business or getting plastic surgery lol. It’s not very central and only has a few things worth seeing! Itaewon is known as the foreigner district. It’s fine but also not particularly central and feels the least like Korea or Seoul.

      Transport wise — I’m always a fan of the subway. It’s clean, fast, cheap, and easy. Like better than the taxis; I even take it when I’m coming in from the airport! If you do need taxis, get the KakaoTaxi app, it’ll be better for getting a taxi when you need it. Also I don’t know how things are and haven’t experienced first hand since I’m East Asian, but I do know friends (anyone non-East Asian) have one or two instances where the taxis ignore them or stop and leave when they realize they’re foreign.

      Hope that helps!!

  2. Adriana
    June 15, 2021 / 9:53 pm

    This article was amazing! I really loved all the pictures included as well :) thanks for your help!

    • Samantha
      June 16, 2021 / 3:19 am

      Of course! Enjoy :)!!

  3. October 14, 2020 / 1:47 pm

    Hi Samantha

    Thank you so much for this great article. I spend a lot of time searching and surfing the web to find some of Seoul’s cafes. and finally, you save me at the last minute thank you for the help.

    • Samantha
      October 15, 2020 / 8:08 am

      Aw thanks Flora! Glad you found it helpful :)

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