5 Awesome Cafe Themes In Korea

If there’s one thing that Korea obsesses over more than kimchi, it’s coffee. Seriously. Walk on any street in Korea and you’ll find a coffee shop on every corner. I once asked a Korean friend why there are so many coffee shops in Korea, and his answer left me speechless. “Coffee is cool. If you’re a guy or girl, you go to a coffee shop and drink coffee alone to look cool,” he nodded his head agreeing with himself. So, there it is. The answer to why coffee is such a hot commodity in Korea. Young Korean girls and guys are making coffee cool.

Judith VillarrealCoffee isn’t about a quick morning pick me up or even a fast caffeine high to get work done. It’s all about the trend. Since there are so many coffee shops competing with one another for the attention and cash of young patrons, some cafes have gone to extremes to make sure they stand out in the public’s eye. This, my friends, is how awesome themed cafes got their start. From Parisian themed cafes to angel themed cafes, South Korea has its fair share of unique shops to delight any particular preference. The five I’m sharing with you today are among my favorites and the most popular in Korea at the moment.

1. Cartoon Cafes 

These cute little cafes are decked out in your favorite childhood cartoons. Hello Kitty cafes can be found in Daejeon and Seoul. From floor to ceiling, the entire cafe is decked out in pink and red decorations. Pictures of the famous kitty are hung on every wall, and foamy lattes are artfully decorated with Hello Kitty’s bow and whiskers in its foam. You can find a full blog post with pictures of a Hello Kitty Cafe here. Another popular cartoon cafe is the Charlie Brown cafe in Seoul. This adorable coffee shop is decorated with statues of the entire Peanuts gang. Feel free to take pictures with life sized statues of Snoopy and Woodstock. Don’t forget to order a cute peanuts themed coffee drink!

2. Dog Cafes

Dog cafes are probably the most well-known types of cafes outside of Korea thanks to many awesome bloggers who live here. These cafes remain ever so popular because of the adorable puppies and dogs that patrons can pet and feed treats to while enjoying a latte or espresso. Korea is a tiny country compared to others, and as a result, there is much less room to let dogs roam free. Other than miniature yorkies and chihuahuas, Koreans don’t often keep dogs as pets due to the lack of space. So, people flock to these cafes when they need a furry cuddle from man’s best friend. I can’t tell you how many times these cafes have saved me from a mini-panic attack when I miss my weenie dog, Ralphie, who still lives in America.

3. Cat Cafes

Not a dog person? No problem! Korea’s got you covered with their dog cafe alternative, cat cafes! The concept is the exact same as a dog cafe with little furry fluffballs stalking the cafe for humans with cat treats. Along with your coffee purchase, you can also purchase delicious snacks at the counter to feed to the kitties. Be warned though, some of the cats love those treats a little too much. I’ve had friends leave a cat cafe in terror because the cats went wild when treats were being handed out. Of course, I could just be biased since I’m a dog person.

4. Dress Cafes

Do you ever miss the days of playing dress up and tea parties when you were a little kid? Me too! Dress cafes are the perfect place to pop into when you’re in need of some serious girly girl fun. The menu comes with a list of dress choices that you can choose from. A wedding dress or hanbok rental can be priced anywhere from 15,000won to 40,000won for an hour, and a hair and make up stylist can be added to your order to fix you up for a small fee. The price might seem a tad steep, but the small perk is that each dress rental comes with a free coffee! Once you’ve chosen a dress, coffee, hair and make up style, you’re free to prance around the cafe for an hour singing “I Feel Pretty” as loud as you like. (Okay, maybe not as loud as you like, but who would begrudge you a little song while you twirl around in a princess dress?) Dress cafes are a personal favorite of mine because they’re so unique to Korea. Now I have somewhere to go to try on a wedding dress for fun without being stared at strangely when I announce, “I’m not engaged. I just love dresses!” I’m looking at you, David’s Bridal assistants! Can’t a girl dream? Well, I can in Korea!

5. Game Cafes

The absolute best place to head to on a Friday night when you’re not feeling like powering through a night of soju soaked fun. Game cafes are always high on my list of “weekend activities that won’t give me a hangover tomorrow.” After you order your drinks, you can choose from an array of games on a shelf to play with your friends. Depending on which cafe you go to, you can easily find American board games to revel in sweet childhood nostalgia. Personally I prefer to learn a new game I’ve never played before. If you’re friendly enough, a staff member who’s not busy or a neighboring table who knows Korean can help explain rules for instructions that are written entirely in Korean.

Whether you enjoy a steaming cup of joe or not, these cafes are not to be missed during your travels in Korea. The themes add so much fun to these already popular establishments that it’s easy to lose an entire day visiting them. Just be sure to watch your coffee intake as you spend your days here because there’s nothing more terrifying to the puppies at dog cafes than foreigners high on caffeine petting their fur too hard! Does your country have any uniquely themed cafes? Share them with us in a comment below! 

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