Seoul Cafes Requiring Reservation
To have an experience that is different and unique, one must be diligent. We present two cafes in Seoul where you can enjoy amazing views and hands-on experiences in a private setting if you make an advance reservation.
Coffee shops can be considered partners to our daily lives as they have become indispensable to our routine. People constantly drink coffee as they grab a mug in the kitchen first-thing in the morning, and throughout the rest of the day at cafes and even convenience stores. It is a little different from enjoying green or herbal teas. Having coffee means you have started your day in earnest and that you are in the course of working and enduring daily happenings. In the meantime, cafes are being recognized simply as a waiting area after putting in your order or a place where you take in caffeine without taking a true break and appreciating the flavor and aroma of the cup of joe in front of you.
Nevertheless, the number of cafes investing in interior design and opening businesses where the surrounding environment is beautiful is on the rise. In addition, some cafes have begun taking reservations, such as restaurants or teahouses, to ensure that their customers get more relaxed, peaceful cafe experiences at their desired time. Aren’t you curious to find out what those cafes are like and what you can do there to maximize the fun?
We visited two cafes offering good coffee, scenery, and the surroundings an advance booking can get you access to.

Inside Hyggelig Hus, with a tranquil and peaceful ambience

Cozy Space for Relaxation, Hyggelig Hus
Hyggelig Hus, meaning ‘cozy house’ in Danish, is a cafe located on the second floor of a building in a relatively sequestered street in Yeonnam-dong. The space also serves as the owner’s studio and classroom. The building offers diverse ways to accommodate visitors.
Fully operating under a reservation system, Hyggelig Hus presents a space clearly reflecting the owner’s style and aesthetics as an artist through each corner and decor item. As can be easily guessed from the word ‘hygge,’ a concept familiar to us, the place exudes warm and cozy vibes. Its chic style can be compared to those images you see on Pinterest or design-related websites of a studio owned by a Scandinavian artist. In particular, the space is meticulously divided into various rooms as in an ordinary home.
Artist Bae Yunsoo uses the space as his studio, or for guests when he treats them with his favorite coffee.

Tools for drawing class

With high ceiling and wide windows, you will get plenty of natural light inside.

The cafe, with the owner’s strong aesthetics making a statement, aims to be a private culture and art space. If serving coffee is the original purpose of the space, the owner’s wish to turn it into an arena where more people can enjoy art and culture, along with coffee, is gradually becoming reality.
Bae’s space is full of natural light. The artist, who had mainly worked on art on a 2D surface, admits that his view on art and colors was affected by natural light after relocating to the current building. He uses brighter color schemes these days. Paintings featuring varying textures and hues, photographs from trips to different places, and drawing materials and props used in his art class are neatly on display.

Hyggelig Hus began as Bae questioned why there was no booking system for cafes, while more and more restaurants and wine bars relied on reservation. He wanted predictability for both the owner and customers. He expected that the system would prevent the uncertainty of a small cafe, dependent on the availability of the service provider, from causing inconvenience to customers by having a mutually agreed visiting schedule which in fact  enhances the quality of service. The decision also considered that the space was partially used for other activities including his drawing class and rental. It means customers who come to this cafe have an understanding of how the space works and implicitly agree with the kind of beverages or the aesthetics chosen by the owner.
Hyggelis Hus will be expanded into Hygge House encompassing the cafe, art studio, and even a space dedicated to performance, according to Bae’s plan.

Address: 2F, 127 Seongmisan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Hours: Wed-Sun 14:00-21:00(Closed on Mon, Tue)
Instagram: @hyggelig.hus 

Northern Seoul Scenery Fills Overstory
The area around Seongbuk in northern Seoul presents diverse forms of neighborhoods, including a residential district offering a fantastic view of Mount Inwang or Mount Bukhan, foreign embassies, and a renowned art school.
Meaning ‘the layer of foliage in a forest canopy,’ Overstory is situated in the residential neighborhood of Seongbuk-dong. Originally the official residence of Colombian ambassadors, the building has a basement and two stories above ground. One plant-loving family bought the building and renovated it into a house. They had a plan to turn the basement into a cafe from the beginning of the construction. Featuring clean lines and white-tone exterior, the triangular entrance leads you into another massive scene downstairs. The house was designed by a team of architects led by professor Kim Chan-joong of The System Lab.

Bright and wide open nature coming into view after passing through triangular entrance

The building has a clear, simple arrival sequence. Light hits the dark staircase through the triangular entrance and at the end encounters nature which is bright and lucid.
Although it is in the basement, the space is sitting on a steep hill, and has an open view and plenty of sunlight. The high ceiling contributes to the brightness as well. The picturesque panoramic view spanning from the N Seoul Tower to Seoul City Wall Trail always impresses customers.
It is natural that such a scenic spot draws people’s attention. Having been in a neighborhood that was difficult to access via public transportation, the cafe had a parking issue with the neighborhood due to the increasing number of visitors. The solution to the problem was the adoption of the reservation system.

Plates and cups are all works of the designer.

Currently Overstory operates on a round system, starting from 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Each round is 90 minutes and can accommodate up to 11 groups of customers. This predictable system enables them to manage the cafe more efficiently and helps much with the parking issue.
The owner’s love for greenery can be seen in various pots across the cafe and in a greenery class held by the cafe. The class focuses on growing and caring for plants in a healthy way.
Overstory also rents out its space for small weddings, birthday parties, or photography sessions.
The entire building embraces the scenery of Seongbuk. Warm sunlight touches the space, plants, and customers in the cafe through the windows. Even though the building is sitting in the heart of Seoul, you will feel like you’re traveling in a remote location.

Address: B1, 13-13 Seonjamro 2da-gil, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
Hours: Tue-Sat 13:00-20:30(Closed on Sun, Mon)
Instagram: @overstory.seongbuk
July 2022 Editor:Jung Jaewook
Photographer:Kim zun

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  • July 2022
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
  • Photographer: Kim zun
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