Hidden cafes in Seoul
There’s no denying that Seoul is a haven for cafe-goers, with over-the-top aesthetics, delicious drinks, and mouth-watering food. If you’ve already eaten your way through most of the well-known cafes in the city and wish to avoid the crowd, here are 9 hidden cafes in Seoul you need to scurry down to before they become another tourist hotspot.
1. R.about 아라바우트 – pet-friendly cafe with a small backyard
Image adapted from: @taeri_p
We won’t fault you for walking by r.about thinking it’s just an old abandoned house. But now that you know that it’s a cafe, there’s no excuse not to set foot into this hidden gem.
Unlike its rough exterior, the cafe space is actually very cosy, with dim lighting, exposed wooden beams, and concrete walls.
Image credit: @ohdayliketoday
Pets are allowed in the cafe and there’s also a small open backyard for your furry friends to roam around freely.
Image credit: @jinn_yun
R.about is well-known for its pour-over coffee (KRW6,000, ~USD4.70). But if you’re up for something unique, try the r.about scotch and r.about mulled tea (KRW6,500, ~USD5.10 each).
The dessert menu here consists of simple sweet treats. A slice of pound cake (KRW5,000, ~USD3.90) may look plain on the outside but makes for the perfect accompaniment to the robust flavours of the coffee.
Address: 665-29, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 8AM-9PM | Sat & Sun 10AM-9PM
2. Vision Stroll 비전스트롤 – house brand cold brew bottles
Vision Stroll is yet another cafe that can be easily overlooked. With only a small signboard set up on the walkway, it’s a cafe that even locals might have missed.
Image credit: @jodahwi
The cafe has a classy green feature wall, timber flooring, royal blue bar stools, and the rustic interior feels like something out of a Wild West movie.
Image credit: @nami.lee33
Vision Stroll does serve freshly brewed coffee, but the star of the show is none other than its own bottles of cold brew (KRW7,000, ~USD5.50). It’s a convenient option for go-getters in need of a quick caffeine fix, as well as leisurely diners who just want something cold to sip on.
If that’s not enough to keep you going, dig right into the butter pudding (KRW7,000, ~USD5.50) for an additional sugar rush. The pudding is topped with two large scoops of vanilla ice cream and a chocolate croissant.
Address: 61 Mangwon-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Thu – Tue 12PM-10PM, Closed on Wed
3. The Eerang Tea Lounge 더 이랑 티 라운지 – Japanese-style tea cafe
Image credit: @_guroom
Located on the 5th floor of a building near Hongdae, The Eerang Tea Lounge is a quaint little teahouse serving up exquisite teas and desserts.
Image credit: @o_sounds
Once inside, you’ll notice that the cafe is decked out in simple wooden furniture and decorated with bonsai trees, seemingly transporting you to Japan. The space exudes peace and serenity, making it a wonderful pitstop for those who need a break from the bustling city.
Image credit: @_mmm.xx
Notable drinks here include lotus leaf tea (KRW7,000, ~USD5.60), osmanthus oolong tea (KRW6,000, ~USD4.80), and sencha (KRW7,000, ~USD5.60). Orders come with complimentary sides like strawberries and walnut cookies.
Those with a sweet tooth can top up KRW4,000 (~USD3.20) for a slice of strawberry cake. The layer of cream may look thick, but it’s surprisingly light and fluffy and pairs perfectly with the fresh slices of strawberry.
Address: 5F, 343-6 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 1PM-8PM, Closed on Sun
4. Pourin|g out| 푸어링아웃 – secluded cafe perfect for chilling
Image credit: @halyanggun
Hidden away in a basement, pourin|g out| is another secluded cafe to visit if you’re looking for a quiet space to chill or catch up with your friends over a good cuppa.
Image credit: @naninininy
As you head into the cafe, you’ll find a sleek interior design decked out in mahogany timber flooring and furniture. The lighting in the space is dimmed, giving off a soothing vibe for customers to sit back and relax.
Image credit: @030.8
If you’re stopping by the cafe for an afternoon tea, order their pound cake (KRW4,000, ~USD3.20) and pair it with a cup of flat white (KRW4,500, ~USD3.60).
Image credit: @xoohui
For a more filling meal, the cafe’s toast (KRW4,000, ~USD3.20) laden with a generous amount of blueberry jam and cream cheese will keep you satisfied.
As an added service, the cafe allows its customers to fill up a card to request for songs to be played on its vintage old-school music player.
Address: 7-7 Yeonhui-ro 11na-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily
5. Ogam Aucalme 오감오캄 – minimalist cafe
Image credit: @woaddvov
There’s just something about minimalistic cafes that keep us coming back for more. Ogam Aucalme is one such cafe that caught our attention.
Image credit: @ogam_aucalme
But besides its eye-catching exterior, we are fond of the cosy interior and felt right at home with the little thoughtful touches in the cafe.
Image credit: @ogam_aucalme
Have a go at their all-time favourite strawberry tiramisu (KRW7,000, ~USD5.60), beautifully plated with big chunks of strawberries and dusted with powdered sugar.
For something richer and more aromatic, its matcha tiramisu (KRW6,500, ~USD5.20) takes the cake.
Image credit: @ogam_aucalme
For a drink to balance out the sweetness from the dessert, give their matcha or black tea (KRW6,500, ~USD5.20 per bottle) a try.
Address: 49 Ilsan-ro 286beon-gil, Madu-dong, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 11AM-9PM, Closed on Mon
6. Sway Coffee Station – European-style cafe
Image credit: @sway_coffee_station
No we’re not fooling you – Sway Coffee Station is actually a cafe in Seoul. On top of its European-style exterior, its chic interior and warm lighting makes the cafe a perfect spot to wind down for the day.
Image credit: @diff.designlab
The food and drinks menu here is simple, but that also means that the cafe takes pride in perfecting the limited items on it offers. To kickstart your day, grab your daily dose of coffee with either a flat white or latte (KRW6,000, ~USD4.80). But if you’re a black coffee lover, a classic long black (KRW5,000, ~USD4) is the way to go.
On days where you just need a drink to cool yourself down, try their chai milk tea (KRW6,000, ~USD4.80).
Image credit: @daisuki84
While the cafe looks classy, you’ll be surprised to learn that the desserts here are cheap. An anzac cookie is only KRW1,000 (~USD0.80) – a price you’ll definitely not get to see in other cafes in this area.
Plus, at only KRW5,000 (~USD4), we will gladly forget about our diet and indulge in a piece of banana or berry bread with ice cream.
Address: 126-1 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul,
Opening hours: 11AM-9PM, Daily
7. Lodge190 – cafe with comforting brunches
Image credit: @__luv_j
Lodge190 doesn’t tick off all the boxes of an ideal cafe: pretty aesthetics, fancy drinks, and IG-worthy mains. But this simple family-run cafe doesn’t need any of that to keep customers returning because it serves tasty brunch options at a steal.
Image credit: @lodge190
For a healthy option, go for the homemade granola bowl (KRW7,000, ~USD5.60). However, we encourage you to indulge and order the french toast set (KRW7,000, ~USD5.60) – it looks too appetising to be missed. Instead of using normal white bread, the french toast here is made with baguettes for added crunch and flavour.
Image credit: @syeonya
Besides brunches, the cafe also offers bingsu (KRW9,500, ~USD7.60) in two flavours, matcha and milk, and it’s topped with a huge ladle of red beans.
Image credit: @_h.conte
Address: 190 Hongjecheon-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Wed – Mon 12PM-10PM, Closed on Tue
8. One And Only Coffee – cafe in a traditional hanok house
Image credit: @restin.e
Tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood, One And Only Coffee stands out thanks to its modern take on traditional Korean hanok architecture.
Unlike old traditional houses, this building has been refurbished to look like a modern minimalist cafe on the inside.
Image credit: @oneandonlycoffee
Grab a seat and fill up the order sheet before making your payment at the counter.
Image credit: @oneandonlycoffee
The menu at One And Only Coffee is simple, so you won’t have a hard time deciding on what to order. A must-try here is its bottled latte (KRW5,000, ~USD4), which comes in three flavours – vanilla, matcha and choco.
Image credit: @ji__eun_s2
Give the desserts here a try too. Order a brownie with vanilla ice cream (KRW5,000, ~USD4) if you’re craving something sinful. The brownie is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Address: 377, Daehyeon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 11AM-10PM, Closed on Sun
9. Coffee Hanyak-bang 커피한약방 – hidden cafe in an alleyway
Image credit: @yeon_je__
Coffee Hanyak-bang is one of the best hidden cafes in Seoul – in fact, we’re sure even most locals have yet to discover this place. Nestled in a narrow alleyway and wedged between two old buildings, there’s no gem as hidden as this one.
With run-down concrete walls, vintage decor, and old furniture, stepping into the Korean apothecary-inspired cafe feels as though you’ve travelled back in time to the 80s.
Image credit: @rico_ocov
Coffee Hanyak-bang is well-known for brewing its coffee the traditional way. Besides roasting the coffee beans by hand, the baristas do hand-drip coffee (KRW4,000, ~USD3.20), which is said to extract the best flavours from coffee grounds.
Image credit: @chef_hoons
Apart from its quality brew, the cafe sells coffee beans with different levels of roast. Here’s a tip: light roasted beans actually contain a higher level of caffeine than medium and dark roasts. Those looking for a strong dose of energy should pick up a lightly roasted pack of Colombia Java Gem Brut coffee beans.
Image credit: @bongbong___88
Coffee aside, the cafe whips up exquisite desserts as well. One of its bestsellers is the mousse omija (KRW6,000, ~USD4.80). Omija is a berry that is said to improve blood circulation, kidney, and liver functions.
Address: 6-6 Samil-daero 12-gil, Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Mon – Thu 8AM-10.30PM | Sat 11AM-10PM | Sun 11AM-9.30PM
Hidden cafes in Seoul to avoid crowds
If you’re looking for a cafe to fill your growling stomach or get a caffeine fix, head to one of these hidden cafes in Seoul to avoid the queues and have a relaxing time.
Check out these articles for more inspiration for your upcoming trip to Seoul:
- 9 Korean clothing stores for vintage lovers
- 10 Affordable Korean buffets in Seoul
- 10 Korean street food better than Netflix’s feature
- 10 Female-friendly hostels in Seoul
- Korean drinking culture