Working hard to put together a blog that covers a variety of topics and has something not just for the people living in Korea but for the everyday educator, the wanderlust traveller and the lifestyle enthusiast.
Since hearing about this 2D cafe I’ve been wanting to go. When I was lucky enough to have a day off Marcelle and I decided to visit. We heard it gets really busy over the weekends so it was great to go in the week and have the place all to ourselves basically.
When you enter the cafe it feels like you have entered a two-dimensional world. It was inspired by the hit Korean animated Web series W. Inside the cafe, walls, counters, furniture, and even forks and knives are crafted to look like two-dimensional drawings come to life. Dark outlines on every object and matte white surfaces create an effect that resembles a room ripped from a cartoonist’s notebook. W. follows the story of a man caught between two worlds, ours and an alternate cartoon reality. The flat-line aesthetic pervades every aspect of the space from chairs to cutlery, compressing the room into a two-dimensional plane, and giving the impression that the space is made only of so much paper and ink.
The shop’s name, Greem, comes from a Korean word which can mean a cartoon or a painting; it is also sometimes called Called “CAFE 연남동 223-14” or “CAFE Yeonnam-dong 223-14”, it is simply named after its address.
In the cafe, sippers and selfie-takers can hang out on a roof terrace—complete with a stylized 2D clothesline and patio furniture in the café’s signature style.
The menu is limited, but what they do, they do well. And while the cafe serves regular hot and iced drinks – a good selection of coffees, fresh juices and teas – there is also a playful side to what it does. The Toy Latte comes with a block figure made from sugar that floats on the foam until it dissolves.
We went there in the afternoon during the week and this was a great decision as we heard it gets really busy over the weekends. So you might have to wait in the line and you will have to wait to get the good angled photos. Also, don’t forget to go upstairs to the roof.
Did you know that Korea has its own Harry Potter themed cafe? It’s situated in the popular Hongdae area. Marcelle and I have been wanting to go for ages and we finally went one weekday in the afternoon. Obviously we dressed up to look the part.
The building itself is very impressive on the outside and already sets the scene for what awaits you inside. They also have some outside props you can take photos with and there is an entrance to the Hog’s Head bar.
The bar door was closed when we were there though but we could still enter through the cafe. The cafe has 5 floors. B1 is the basement which is where Hog’s Head Bar is. 1st floor is where you order and get your drinks. 2nd, 3rd and 4th have different seating places for you to sit and enjoy and the 4th floor is where they have clothing for you to try on.
The 943 pub also known as Hog’s Head Pub is situated in the B1 level. If entry through the outside door is shut you can enter through the cafe. The pub is very cozy and the decor is well thought out. The mood is set with ambient music playing and a scene from Hogsmeade being projected onto one of the walls. We obviously ordered butter beers which were really good. The have alcoholic or non-alcoholic options so even those that don’t drink can enjoy.
Though the interior is not overly decorated or themed they have great photo spots for you to utilize. When you come in at the first floor they have a whole row of wand boxes, making you feel like you’re at Ollivanders. There’s also stairs for you to sit on and pose with. Each floor does have a theme and decor to go along with it. Don’t just sit on one floor and remain there. Make sure to explore all floors. Just before the “dark wizard” scene is a warning poster which reads “the mentally weak, the pregnant, the elderly. Please be careful as this may surprise you”. Hehehe. Even the interior of the elevator is nicely themed though it is rather small.
On the 1st floor just past the entrance room is a really big mirror which is great to take photos in. Just make sure to keep a look out that no one photobombs your background. When we were there it was really quiet so we were able to bring the robes down, very quickly, from the 4th floor to grab a few snaps as the lighting is so good and it’s so much fun.
On the 4th floor the cafe has items of clothing for you to try on. When they are busy there is a time limit of 3 minutes per group. So you’ll have to be quick with what you want to do. They have the house robes, scarves and the sorting hat. They also have cute posing stations for you to use. When we were there it was luckily really quiet so we had more than enough time to enjoy ourselves. Another reason to visit on a weekday during the day.
Overall the 943 Kings Cross Cafe is definitely worth a visit. There are spots all over for you to take some amazing photos. We went in the daytime and I would strongly suggest this as the lighting for photos were much better. Weekdays are also better than weekends due to the crowds. . 📍서울 마포구 양화로16길 24 24, Yanghwa-ro 16-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul 🚉 490m from Hongik Uni Station exit 9 ⏰ Week day: 10h30 – 22h30. Weekend: 09h30 – 22h30 Pub: 10h30 – 02h30 🎟️ To get in you have to buy a drink ☎️ 0507-1383-2112 Insta: @943pub
Seongsu-dong is a neighbourhood in Seoul that, while not very well known by tourists, has become popular among young Koreans. The streets in this area were once lined with shoe factories and other small factories, but in recent years young artists and designers have transformed many of the old buildings into cafes and restaurants. Today Seongsu-dong is known as Seoul’s Brooklyn. There is so much on offer in the area it’s easy to spend a full day there.
Here is my itinerary from morning to evening.
When you arrive head straight to Cafe Onion to get some coffee and some of their famed bread. They serve up bread from the famous 05 Bakery with over 20 varieties to choose from all freshly baked in-house. Cafe Onion has been converted from a metal factory and the interior decor has been left to reflect its last. It was built in the 1970s and has also been a supermarket and a restaurant. There is also an open rooftop terrace on the 2nd level which you can go up and enjoy. . There most popular menu item is the Pandora, an Italian- style bread covered in powdered sugar.
After finishing your coffee and bread at @cafe.onion head just down the street to Amore. AMORE seongsu is a new kind of beauty lounge proposed by AMORE PACIFIC. The building had performed as an auto repair shop for a long time, in where now over 30 brands, 3,000 beauty products are displayed only focusing on authentic testing experience. Make-up service and various classes, including makeup classes, flower box and perfume making classes are also available if you make an reservation in advance on the website. At Amore Seongsu, you can test and experience Amore brand cosmetics, but nothing is for sale. If you are interested in a product you can scan the QR code to get more info and you can buy them online. When you arrive you’re able to wash your face with a variety of products before heading to the make up section. There you put all the make up you would like to use into a little basket. There are multiple mirrors available for you to use along with hair styling tools. Once your make up look is complete you return your make up to the counter and they thoroughly clean it before putting it back on the shelves. Once you are finished you may select 5 beauty samples to take home with you. They also give you 3 vouchers which offers discount online and also a discount for the cafe on the 2nd floor which has a variety of green tea products for sale.
📍서울시 성동구 아차산로 11길 7 🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 2 ⏰10h30 ~ 20h30 Closed on Mondays and New Year’s Day/Chuseok Day 💲 Totally free to go in and use everything Insta: @amore_seongsu
Here are 2 options for lunch.
Daelim Changgo Gallery Warehouse
After making yourself look all pretty head over to Daelim Changgo Warehouse for some lunch. The warehouses were originally used in the 1970s at rice mills and then became an industrial warehouse in the 1990s. They have homemade pizzas, salads, coffee and craft beers available. The warehouse has a rustic feel and has some art pieces on show.
🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 3 📍서울 성동구 성수이로 78 ☎️02-499-9669 ⏰11:00 – 23:00
Grandpa Factory (할아버지공장
This cafe/culture space/ restaurant was opened by Hong Dong Hee, who also owns Daerim Warehouse. He is an artist and woodworker which is why both spaces have gorgeous wooden designs. The biggest one at Grandpa Factory being the tree house. Order your coffee/ beer/ wine and food and then head up to see the tree house while you wait. There is a lot of seating on both the first and second floor.
After lunch just cross the road and pop in at @supy_official a fashion, culture and art stop. They have a little bit of everything, fashion, accessories and cool installations on both floors. There is also a cool cafe but we were still too full to buy anything there.
In 2019 Seongsu was part of the Pow! Wow! Initiative. It’s a gathering of contemporary artists that engages with the broader community in the process and creation of art and movement. ‘Pow!’ being the impact that art has on a person. A punch in the face. And ‘Wow!’ being the reaction that art has on a viewer. Together they form ‘Pow! Wow!’ which is a term that describes a gathering that celebrates culture, music and art. It is is a worldwide event that has taken place in Hawaii, Washington DC, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, and in 2019 came back to Korea to create some stunning new murals. The 15 pieces are scattered all around Seongsu and require a bit of a walk. . . 📍All around Seongsu To get more information check out their website. 🌐 https://powwow.kr/pwk-gallery
After having walked around looking at murals you will have built up quite a thirst. So why not go have a robot make a refreshing drink for you or decorate your cake. Cafe.bot is a new cafe where robots will make you drinks and desserts. The cafe was launched on August 7, 2019, by a robotics company, T-Robotics and is located in Seongsu-dong making this the first robot cafe in Korea. Inside the cafe, a drip bot is used to make coffee and espresso while a drink bot is used to make tequilas and cocktails, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. There is also a dessert bot that draws various designs and emojis on selected cakes. The cafe has a wall that has beautiful projections on it and there is even a flamingo not that has a camera inside and follows you as you walk. Once you have your drink so up to the roof and enjoy watching the sunset at the end of your long day.
🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 2 📍서울특별시 성동구 아차산로9길 8 ⏰Weekday 8-10 Weekend 10 -10 @_bot.bot.bot
Go to whichever restaurant you didn’t go to for lunch or try one of the restaurants you saw while exploring.
Right before Daelim Changgo Warehouse you will find Cafe Baesan. We didn’t eat or drink here but we just quickly popped in to have a look around. Insta: @_baesan_warehouse_cafe
I hope you enjoy your day in Seongsu. Let me know what else I should go and see while there. What is your favourite thing to do in Seongsu?
Remember all those things you said you would do, “when you find the time.”? Well, turns out it wasn’t actually the lack of time that was stopping me, haha, just rather me procrastinating.
Also, it is exhausting to think of things to do while locked up at home because you feel the tasks should be “creative, purposeful and inspire personal growth.” So when the day has passed by and you’ve done nothing but scroll through Instagram while lying on your bed you feel so guilty and swear tomorrow you will do that thing you’ve put off for so long, but then you don’t do it….again.
Creating a list of things I could do, no matter how big or small the task, really helped me. I tried to do at least one thing on the list each day. That way at the end of the day I felt I had accomplished something and could alleviate some of my guilt and lessen my self admonishment.
So here is a list of things for you to do. Some are quick, easy and fun. Others are more of the bigger things you can tackle.
I’ve actually made this post into a page. So either go to the banner at the top or click here.
Baking cobbler is one of the easiest things you can do while stuck indoors.
I discovered this recipe by accident. I had some strawberries that were going off faster than I could eat them so I decided to Google “easy strawberry recipe” and voila this recipe came up. And it’s true to the name of being an easy dessert.
One of the best things to do with all this time on your hands during Corona is to catch up on that reading list that you’ve neglected for so long due to “lack of time”. I have a packed bookshelf I need to get through.
I run a monthly book and wine club at Vineworks in Sangsu, called Vineworks Book and Wine Club, on the last Sunday of every month. This April was actually our 4 year anniversary. So during normal times I would be going there and meeting up with my friends but during Corona we actually postponed and we had a virtual book club with someone even joining from the USA.
When we are finished with all the social distancing why don’t you join?
This year we will be focusing on women authors with a specific focus on WOC authors.
What you can expect: There is always a lot of food, good conversation and you get your OWN bottle of wine. That’s right. No sharing of wine and you can take doggy bags of whatever is left. (there is a non-alcoholic option available too)
So if you aren’t sure what book you want to read you can join and read what we are reading. It’s also a great way to make friends. Here is a list of all the books we’ve read over the past 4 years.
I know many apartments in Korea are small and/or people don’t want to buy physical books because they don’t want to have to worry about getting rid of them because they are leaving soon. For this reason, I use Scribd for my books. Scribd has 80 million users, and has been referred to as “the Netflix for books”. I use it on my phone or my desktop.
It is an American e-book and audiobook subscription service that includes one million titles. It is very seldom that I don’t find either the book or the audiobook of the title I’m looking for.
During this difficult Corona time, they’re letting you sign up for a month to try it out and you don’t even have to give your credit card details. But if you use my link to sign up you’ll get 60 days free:https://www.scribd.com/ga/2cc82n
Have you read any good books during this time at home? Please share the titles in the comments.
This is part of a series of things to do while at home during Corona.
When my mother came to visit me I really wanted to take her to watch Nanta but was a bit worried that a) you needed an understanding of Korean or that b) it was another tourist trap. I’m incredibly happy to report that we needn’t have worried about either of those. Nanta completely exceeded our expectations and blew us away.
For the entire duration of the show, we sat enthralled by what was happening on stage. We laughed, we clapped along, we bobbed our heads and tapped our feet in beat with the music. It truly was a wonderful performance so full of energy and kept us thoroughly entertained.
So what is Nanta exactly you ask?
Nanta is a non-verbal comedy show created and produced by Song Seung-whan and incorporates traditional samul nori rhythm. The musical has a simple backstory of three cooks attempting to finish preparing a wedding banquet within a strict time limit while the manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen staff. The show involves acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, pantomime and audience participation. The unifying element throughout the musical is the use of traditional Korean samul nori music, which in this case is performed with improvised instruments, such as cutting boards, water canisters and kitchen knives. The performance is almost completely non-verbal. The very few words which are spoken are mostly in English.
Nanta is the longest-running show in Korean history. The musical made its international debut at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it received an award for best performance. Since then it has been staged in 57 countries around the world. Nanta opened Off-Broadway in New York City in 2004 and ended its run in August 2005.
Though there are other third-party ticket sellers I would recommend going through the website as they do offer some good deals if you book in advance or at certain times. If you book in advance you can get an Early bird ticket and the 2pm shows on the weekends are also well priced.
Besides being able to buy tickets on the website they also give you very clear directions and instructions on how to get to each theatre.
If you are lucky enough you get to actually participate in the show. Either as a bride or groom or as some other parts.
If you are chosen to participate they post your photos on the website for you to download.
Nanta is really something worth doing while in Korea. It is fun, family friendly and can be done in any weather. Perfect for the upcoming winter months.
If you have already seen Nanta let me know what you thought. If you loved it and want to watch some other similar things have a look at my bucket list that has a section on non-verbal shows.