Seoul is a busy city, and whether you’re living here or just visiting it can get tiring being on the go all the time. One of my favourite ways to relax in Seoul is to find a nice café, take my journal or sketchbook, and nurse a coffee and cake for a couple of hours. It’s my resetting time, the time where I cleanse my brain and recharge my energy for the coming days. Ideally, my perfect café would be by the ocean, or surrounded by the woods. Alas, I live inland in a mega-city so a place like that is hard to come by. However, there are pockets of Seoul that offer some respite from the city’s intensity, and the backstreets of Hapjeong-dong is one of them. In my opinion, there’s no better area for finding a nice café in which to while away the hours, so here is my list of Hapjeong cafés with the perfect chilled-out vibes for unwinding and relaxing.
1. Urban Plant
This beautiful café-restaurant sits on the lesser-explored side of Hapjeong, but still remains popular. While it can draw a crowd, Urban Plant’s name perfectly encapsulates its décor; a perfect blend of the ‘urban’, seen in their upcycled crate furniture and concrete floors, and the ‘plant’, seen in the jungle of large and small houseplants that grow behind every table, and that creep up every wall. Additionally, they have a good-sized menu including items to sate every size and pang of hunger; the chicken sandwich was a particular favourite of mine.
Opening hours: Every day 10:00 – 23:00.
How to get there: Line 2, 6, Hapjeong station, exit 7. Turn around, walk a way down the hill and turn right down the alley after the Tongjung N Medical Centre.
Visit their Instagram: @urbanplant.official
2. Plácido Coffee
As with number 1, the clue is all in the name with this café too. Plácido is a really cool spot hidden in the maze of streets between Hapjeong station and the Hongdae area. It’s bright, warm interior is complimented perfectly by its simple menu with a few special drink individual to the café. When Allie and I visited a couple of weeks ago we were just looking for somewhere nice to sit with our notebooks to discuss ideas for this website, but we were so surprised by the quality of the drinks that we’ll definitely be going back. I especially loved the second option on the milk tea menu, recommended to me by the barista when I asked her the best one to drink with carrot cake.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00 – 23:00, Sunday 12:00 – 22:00.
How to get there: Line 2, 6, Hapjeong station, exit 5. Turn right at the bike shop, walk down the main road, turn left at the CU opposite Homac, and Placido is on your right after 100m.
Visit their Instagram: @placido_coffee
3. Café Romont
Tucked away in a hard-to-find spot, Romont is a peaceful dream filled with pastries and silent movies. With its soft white interior and good-sized tables littered with delicate floral flower and grass arrangements, it’s the perfect places to study or work in with a little background noise. As well as their menu that changes seasonally, Romont now also have a bakery table if their sweet desserts don’t tickle your fancy. As lovely as it is, it’s a surprise that it’s not busier.
Opening hours: Every day 11:00 – 23:00, closed Tuesday.
How to get there: Line 2, 6, Hapjeong station, exit 5. Turn right at the bike shop, left down the road with parked cars, then take the first right, turn right again, and the cafe will be at the end of the street on your right on the 2F.
Visit their Instagram: @caferomont
4. Rooftop Urban Beach
In an even-harder-to-find location, owing to its rooftop setting and poor street signage, Rooftop Urban Beach is a summer beach haven in the middle of the city. Its two floors offer visitors a chance to enjoy a coffee while overlooking the rooftops of Hapjeong and beyond, or to sip on a cocktails with your feet in the sand. I was surprised by how empty the place was considering its Instagram potential, but the lack of crowds made it the perfect place to relax on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Opening hours: Weekday 16:00 – 00:30, weekend 16:00 – 01:30.
How to get there: Line 2, 6, Hapjeong station, exit 5. Turn right at the bike shop, walk down the main road, turn left at Bistopping ice cream shop, and the cafe is on the 6F of the building with the interesting orange architectural feature, opposite the multi-level pub.
Visit their Instagram: @rooftop_urbanbeach
5. Not In The Mood
I happened upon Not In The Mood while searching Instagram hashtags for brunch cafés in Hapjeong, and it was immediately put on my list. with its slightly church-looking exterior and pale yellow walls, this café is a dream breakfast spot on a sunny morning. Visiting on the weekend, I was met with a nearly-full interior and a 30-minute wait for food, but a weekday trip here would be perfect, I’m sure. As with most cafés in Korea, Not In The Mood does not sacrifice quality for aesthetics; they simply matched them. Our galette and french toast sticks were fantastic, and I’ll be back to try the rest of the menu in due course.
Opening hours: Every day 11:00 – 21:00, last orders 20:30. Closed every Tuesday, and every 3rd Monday.
How to get there: Line 2, 6, Hapjeong station, exit 5. Turn right at the bike shop, walk down the main road, turn left after eMart24, right at Growler pub, and the cafe is halfway down the road on your left..
Visit their Instagram: @not__in_the__mood
So next time you find that Hongdae is getting all that bit too busy for you, take a walk down into the Hapjeong neighbourhood and make a rest stop in one of these chilled-out cafés. Whether you want (or need!) cake, lunch, a coffee or something stronger, one of these fabulously chill places is bound to be serving something that tickles your fancy.