Some of the best independent coffee shops are located in Hongdae. Simply put, college students in Korea need their coffee. While it is easy to grab a quick cup of coffee from one of the popular global brands like Starbucks. Many students know where the best independent coffee shops in Hongdae are located. The best coffee in Seoul can only be found in independent coffee shops. Therefore, for this article, we will focus on Hongdae. Hongdae is not only a place to go for clubbing, it offers some of the best restaurants and independent coffee shops. We selected the top 10 based on their own uniqueness as well as their amazing brews. Some of those living in Hongdae might have walked past them but never went in. Hopefully, after reading this article you will try a cup of coffee at these unforgettable caffeine gems.
For those living or visiting Itaewon check out our article on the best coffee shops in Itaewon.
Yeonnam 223 Cafe
One of the most famous cafes in Seoul is Yeonnam 223 Cafe. It is great for those that love taking pictures for Instagram as the cafe is a visual work of art. You get the feeling you walked into an illustration of an artist’s imagination. It seems like a Korean webtoon has come to life. It is the brainchild of J.S. Lee and takes its inspiration from the Korean drama W: Two Worlds. If you have to visit one coffee shop when you come to Korea, check out this one.
Address: 223-14 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu
5 Brewing was the winner of the 2017 World Barista Championships, Do Hyung Soo. The coffee shop offers outdoor seating as well as workspaces. However, remember to get the award-winning signature drinks that were invented by Do Hyung Soo himself. It would not be a full experience unless you order the signature drinks.
Address: 55-1 Eoulmadang-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
The most famous coffee shop in Korea is by far The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. Coffee Prince was one of the best Korean dramas of all time. The overall exterior and interior of the cafe are a bit run down but those that are a fan of the show will remember the setting once you are there. The cafe is located near Hongik University Station. You can take as many pictures as you want as it is one of the top tourist spots in Seoul. Fans of the drama will appreciate this space more than others.
Address: 327-17 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
For those that love desserts, this is the best dessert cafe in Hongdae. Usually, there will be a line out the door. While they are not known for their coffee, they have an amazing selection of creative teas. However, the top attractions are the cakes, cupcakes, and tarts which are all made the order. This is why you will have to wait a while, but trust us, it is worth the wait. Our top recommendation is the strawberry milk tea which is served in a pink coffee cup and topped with cut strawberries.
Address: 487-375, Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
While their interior is very minimalistic, the coffee at Felt Coffee is fantastic. They pride themselves on the coffee-making process. They only use specialty-grade coffee beans. You can enjoy a simple cup of high-quality coffee while listening to music from a record player. It is a great place to relax and have great quality coffee.
Address: 23 Seogang-ro 11-gil, Changjeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
One of the hardest coffee shop locations to find is Zapangi. The cafe’s entrance looks like a vending machine along the street. You can’t miss it as it is in a bright pink color. Inside they have a large selection of lattes, teas, and specialty lattes. However, make sure to have your drink with one of their famous cakes or doughnuts. Our recommendation is the mermaid tin cake or the unicorn doughnut. Try not to go during peak hours (7-9 pm) as it will be very crowded.
Address: 400-2 Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Coffee Nap Roaster
Coffee Nap Roaster is one of the top up-and-coming coffee shops in Hongdae for teens. The interior is very interesting as the whole floor is tiled with red bricks. It has the feeling that you are standing on top of a roof of an old house. They also offer a wide selection of brews at a reasonable price.
Address: 453-32 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
This coffee shop in Hongdae was founded by Korean celebrity Bora Lim. Rally Point has a very unique interior and great desserts. The walls of the interior are made of glass so you will be able to see the cafe from the outside. The atmosphere is on the fancier side which is something different from the hip trendy coffee shops mentioned above. There is usually a place to sit which is great for meetings and meetups.
Address:174-11, Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul 1F
Table a Cat Cafe
For those that love cats, Table a Cat Cafe is one of the best you will find when traveling to Seoul. It has around 10 cats of different breeds. You will need to order and drink and sanitize your hands. Once inside you can have your drink while cats walk around the cafe. Inside, you’ll find a chart that includes the cats’ photos with their profile like name, breed, and gender. Compared to other cat cafes in Seoul, this cat cafe in Hongdae has a lot of space, is very clean, and has a very friendly staff that can speak a little bit of English. There are a lot of cat cafes in Korea but if you had to go to one, we would recommend Table a Cat Cafe.
Address: 162-17 Wausan-ro, Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Bau House (Dog Cafe)
While Seoul has a lot of cat cafes, there are not many dog cafes. However, if you want to go to a dog cafe, make sure to check out Bau House. They have around 20 dogs both big and small that are very tame. The cafe is clean and does not smell too bad. You can choose whether to spend time in the small dog area or the big dog area. You will need to purchase one drink but you can play with the dogs for as long as you want. It might be difficult to get work done but you will have a lot of fun.
Address: 64 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
For those looking for the best independent coffee shops in Gangnam, check out our article here.