Koreans absolutely love coffee. While COVID-19 has slowed down many businesses in Seoul, coffee shops have been able to stay alive due to the fact that Koreans need their coffee. Coffee can be more than just a caffeine pick-me-up. Therefore, coffee shops in Korea are used not just for drinking coffee, but also for networking, meetings, and sometimes as offices for digital nomads. Some of the best coffee shops in Seoul are located in the Gangnam district. This article will not focus on chains but rather independent coffee shops in Gangnam that are considered treasured places for those living in the busiest district in Seoul. We put our nose to the grinder and sought out the best cafes in the Gangnam district.
Here are the 10 best independent coffee shops in Gangnam. If you have a recommendation for us to add to the list, please leave a comment below and we will go check it out!
Looking to visit Itaewon? Then check out our article on the best independent coffee shops in Itaewon here.
C27 has an absolutely lovely exterior that will draw you in as you walk Garosugil. It is our choice for the best independent coffee shop in Gangnam. C27’s mission is to provide the freshest coffee possible by shortening the time between roast and brew.
The interior is quite unique and big. The coffee shop takes up the whole building. Each room and table are specially designed and bring something different to the mood. We would recommend the last floor. Furthermore, the bathrooms are very spacious and well decorated. The coffee shop is known for their famous cheesecake (they have 27 types!) which go great with your coffee.
Address: 39, Dosan-daero 15-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Those looking for a cute coffee shop near Cheongdam need to check out Sum Cafe. It is located at the SM Entertainment Communications Centre. Are you a fan of SM artists or groups? Then this is a coffee shop you must check out. There is a chance you might see some of your favorite SM artists here since SM has their practice rooms upstairs. The interior is filled with SM Entertainment paraphernalia. However, the prices are expensive but that is expected in Cheongdam. We would recommend getting some SM artist cupcakes named after SM groups like EXO, NCT, Super Junior, etc. While the cafe can get noisy it has a very fun atmosphere and the whole point is that you really have a legit chance of running into a Kpop idol.
Address: 11, Digital-ro 33-gil, Seoul, South Korea
Those that love fantastic desserts with their coffee will love Sona. It is located in Garosugil and is considered one of the hidden gems among the locals. It is nestled in a side road within Garosugil and the cafe is actually pretty small. Their service, attention to detail, and coffee are spectacular and well worth a visit. In addition, their signature dessert is the Champagne sugar globe which is a thin transparent sugar ball filled with edible flowers and champagne foam, over a bed of frozen cheesecake bits and fresh strawberries. Their home-made pastries change from day to day but their signature cakes are Sona staples.
Address: 40, Gangnam-daero 162-gil, Seoul, South Korea
Maman Gateau (마망갸또)
Another great dessert cafe in Garosugil is Maman Gateau. It has a french style and the desserts really look like a work of art. However, the price is very expensive and is not recommended for those on a budget. The interior itself is very spacious and is a great place to hold meetings. We would recommend the Gouda infused pretzel or the Whole fresh milk cream buns. In addition, the cafe is located on the first floor but they also have a baking studio above. Their baking studio offers an array of desserts and is also worth checking out.
Address: 30-12, Apgujeong-Ro 10-Gil, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul 06028 South Korea
Cafe Madang – Maison Hermes
One of the top luxury coffee shops in Gangnam is Cafe Madang located downstairs at the Hermes Boutique. Those that are fans of the Hermes brand will love having a cup of coffee here. They serve everything from traditional espresso drinks to pour-overs. It is located opposite Dosan Park along a quiet street. While the price is expensive, it offers great desserts and drinks. It might be a bit too fancy and high class for some, it is still worth checking out.
Address: 7, Dosan-daero 45-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
If you are having a meeting in Gangnam, especially near Sinnoyoen station, Alver is the best coffee shop to go to. It is huge! While Alver is not easy to find since it is up a hill and a bit of a walk from Gangnam Station, you are pretty much guaranteed a seat here. It is a two-story building that has a very artistic design. While the cafe is usually busy, the number of seats makes it less crowded than most coffee chains. Therefore, we recommend the downstairs area that offers free blankets and many tables. It is by far the best place for those that want to sit down and do some work. We have been there several times and have always been able to find a seat.
Address: 34, Gangnam-daero 102-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This cafe is owned by a Korean celebrity model/actor named Lee Jung Suk and is located in Sinsadong. The baristas are all male and most are aspiring models and actors. Not only does 89Mansion offer coffee and desserts but also delicious food such as pasta, pizzas, and salads. Their brews come from small cooperatives and local farms and they partner with local bakeries for their accompanying pastries and baked goods. The interior decor is very cozy and the dining room upstairs is very colorful. The overall cafe has a cool and trendy vibe with both indoor and outdoor dining. It has a relaxing and undeniably cool setting that everyone should check out while in Gangnam.
Address: 25, Apgujeong-ro 4-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Shim Story Seoul
This coffee shop is one of the most unique coffee shops in all of Korea. Shim Story Seoul allows their customers to have a nap on their beds. The beds are inside the cafe and allow for guests to get a quick shuteye before venturing out into the busy streets of Gangnam. Not only can they get some sleep, but they can also choose to play some video games. In addition, there are massage chairs. There are many sleeping packages that come with heated beds. For those that are looking for maximum privacy at a coffee shop, it doesn’t get more private than this.
Address: 17 Yeoksam-ro 3-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Those that are interested in art cafes in Gangnam will love Manmade Wooyoungmi. It is a hybrid-type art cafe that also functions as an art gallery. It is owned by Korean fashion designer Woo Young Mi and is located near Dosan Park. The coffee is prepared at the cafe’s open kitchen. Moreover, you can read books, work on your laptops and try a variety of homemade foods. Manmade Woohyoungmi is always stocked with house-made non-dairy milk and proprietary syrups.
Address: 2fl, 25, 153-gil, Seongeun-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Thesis has a great combination of great coffee and desserts. Therefore, it is the perfect place to go when you are in Gangnam after dinner for dessert and coffee. It is across from New York Brick Oven Pizza. Whether you grab a cup of their drip or linger with a latte, make sure to pair them with their dessert selections. We would recommend their tiramisu latte made with actual mascarpone.
Address: 32 Gangnam-daero 102-gil, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Make sure to check out our article on the best independent coffee shops in Hongdae as well.