Cover Designed by Feelament, Perception Cafe is filled with warm wooden tones (Image: Feelament)

Coffee, tea and treats aside, these cafes in South Korea also feature gorgeous interiors that will have you whipping out your phone and snapping away

South Korea is the ultimate mecca for coffee enthusiasts. With a booming cafe scene, the country boasts a plethora of visually impressive concept cafes with stunning aesthetics and stellar settings.

While many cafes have had to shutter their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of these notable venues are still going strong, alongside a wave of new cafes that have sprung up. If you’re gearing up for a trip to the Hallyu motherland, keep these chic cafes in mind. 

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1. Café Onion Anguk

Café Onion has three different outlets in South Korea, and all of them have gained a notable reputation for both their coffee and stylish interiors. Café Onion Anguk, the newest outlet, embraces a rustic concept that’s distinctively different from the other two industrial-themed cafes. 

Located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, Café Onion Anguk is housed within a hanok, a traditional Korean house. Korean design duo Fabrikr maintained much of the traditional structure and detailing such as the tiled roofs and intricate woodworking while adding a modern twist such as floor-to-ceiling glass openings. Customers can choose to sit at tables indoors and outdoors or on the floor for a taste of the past.

Tatler Tip: All three Café Onions feature similar menus; if you’re looking for an industrial-style cafe, head to the other two outlets in Seongsu-dong or Mia-dong.

Café Onion Anguk is located at 5 Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. 

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2. Grandpa Factory

Located in the Seongsu-dong district that’s often nicknamed the ‘Brooklyn of Seoul’ for its creative hot spots, Grandpa Factory is a sprawling two-storey cafe with an outdoor courtyard and a rooftop space. The brainchild of Korean artist and woodworker Hong Dong Hee, Grandpa Factory features plenty of wood designs and elements, ranging from the menu and mirrors to tables and seating benches.

The largest wooden element is a treehouse in the vibrant courtyard that’s filled with lush plants and colourful seats. The treehouse is accessible via the second floor, which also showcases an ever-changing display of artworks by local artists. The spacious courtyard area is a filming hotspot as well; most recently, Korean hit dramas Vincenzo and My Roommate is a Gumiho had scenes filmed within the cafe.

Tatler Tip: Hong Dong Hee is also the owner of the trendy Daerim Warehouse, a modern and industrial red-brick cafe that’s also located in Seongsu-dong and within walking distance of Grandpa Factory.

Grandpa Factory is located at 9 Seongsui-ro 7ga-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea. 

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3. Perception Cafe

Nestled in an old building from the 1980s, Perception Cafe adds a contemporary twist to the area with its cosy interiors. Designed by Korean multi-disciplinary architectural firm Feelament, the cafe is designed to imbue a sense of warmth with wooden accents and floral arrangements peppering the space.

A wave-like wooden ceiling is the undeniable focal point of the cafe; the laser-cut visual statement is reminiscent of the undulating pattern of waves, and has earned the cafe many awards for its design. Combined with soothing background music and an inviting atmosphere, the cafe is a perfect spot to capture a few moments of peace—a rare feat in a bustling city like Seoul.

Perception Cafe is located at 16 Eoulmadang-ro 1-gil, Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. 

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4. Pink Pool cafe

Korean fashion retailer Stylenanda’s Pink Pool cafe is known to be one of the most trendiest and Instagram-worthy cafes in South Korea. Housed in the Stylenanda flagship store in Hongdae, Seoul, the interiors of the Pink Pool cafe is as its name suggests—pink and swimming pool-themed. The walls and furnishings are dressed in pastel pink hues in the lounge area. Off to the side of the lounge is a  pool area decked with pastel pink and blue tiles; furnished with poolside chairs and beach umbrellas the space is complete with a shallow swimming pool.

Tatler Tip: There are two Stylenanda cafes; the other is located in the Stylenanda Pink Hotel in Myeongdong; while both have similar concepts, the Myeongdong cafe is less spacious and a lot narrower compared to the Hongdae cafe.

Stylenanda Pink Pool cafe is located at 335-21, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. 

5. Cuun Coffee

Exuding a sense of tranquility in Jeonju city, Cuun Coffee is a minimalist sanctuary. The cafe takes its name from the combination of the word ‘cloud’ and ‘uun’, the traditional Korean character for ‘cloud’.

Designed by Korean firm Studio Maoom, the interiors feature untouched, rough concrete walls as well as stark white furniture that feature soft curves inspired by actual clouds. Besides the main area, the cafe also features an outdoor courtyard that’s decorated with the same white seats and leafy foliage for a touch of zen.

Cuun Coffee is located at 32 Hyanggyo-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea.

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