Workation Cafés in Seoul
Let’s go look for work-friendly cafés in the heart of Seoul. Don’t forget your laptop!
We’re seeing more and more digital nomads in pursuit of the ideal workation, combining work and vacation. That’s the direction we’re going, a part of the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While they may not be surrounded by natural beauty, you can find work-friendly cafés across Seoul. They are mostly quiet, save for the sounds of keyboard typing, along with white noise that can help you stay focused. The interior design, tables, chairs, light and even background music form perfect harmony in these workation destinations. Everything is there, and all you need is your laptop.
Though it opened only in the fall of 2021, Protokoll will remind you of an architectural studio from some 40 years ago. The word ‘protokoll’ means ‘to record, to report’ in German. Inside, the light is neither too bright nor too dim, just enough to help you concentrate.
Baristas’ worktables were created by putting horizontal cabinets side by side, and they have become the symbol of Protokoll. Cabinets here serve different functions in different parts of the café.

When you look up Protokoll on social media, you will mostly find photos of four-seater tables, with steel and wood mixed and matched, arranged neatly. Each table is equipped with Artemide Tolomeo lamp, along with notepad, pencil and electrical outlet.
What’s so great about Protokoll is that it seems to be set up just so anyone could come in to work or study. It’s almost as if the café has prepared everything that its guests would need to work, and the café isn’t complete until people find their seats at tables.

On its website, Protokoll says it would like its customers to drink two cups of coffee each day: something dark, brewed by an espresso machine, followed by another freshly brewed with hands. Protokoll is proud of the quality of coffee it serves. You can find espresso-based lattes, and you can pick from three types of beans for brewed coffee, also called filtered coffee. Whether it’s the quality of work you can get done or the quality of coffee you can enjoy, Protokoll will bring you satisfaction on many fronts.
Address 2nd Fl, 109 Yeonhui-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
D Flat Seongsu
D Flat became so famous with its spectacular coffee at its Paju Book City location that it opened its second café in Seongsu. And the new location rode the first café’s coattails to instant fame. The Seongsu café is larger than the one in Paju, and is one of the largest cafés in the neighborhood, other than big-name franchise cafés. Housed in a sleek building, the café has a basement and two stories. Other than the first floor, which has the counter, the basement and the second floor are perfect for work.


The basement brings in enough natural light to create a steady and calm atmosphere. With open ceilings, it doesn’t feel as stifling as typical basement. There are long tables perfectly built for work on laptop, and you can also find comfortable seats for chats over coffee. Tables have partitions or columns between them for added privacy.





The first floor features the coffee bar, counter, small tables and terrace, while the second floor, with more natural light coming through vast windows, has long and wide tables, much like the basement. Tables are equipped with Artemide Nessino lamps, ideal companions to work on laptop.


If you don’t plan to work there, you should walk around and check out different corners of the café, each built under different concepts. The drip coffee served with specialty beans, espresso and decaffeinated beverages are available.
Address 90 Yeonmujang-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Instagram @dflat_cafe
Anthracite Yeonhui
Anthracite started out in Hapjeong, and has since expanded to Jeju Hanlim, Yeonhui and Hannam. Each café reflects unique characteristics of its neighborhood, while also maintaining Anthracite’s own brand identity.
For example, the Jeju café is housed in a former starch mill. The café still has the feel of an abandoned factory, with rusty machine and vines left untouched and the sign tilted just so. But Anthracite Yeonhui in Seoul seems to stand on its own.

On the first floor, you will find the counter and the long stone bench that doubles as a table. In the middle of the café is the roasting room. Anthracite takes great pride in roasting a wide variety of beans, and you can get a peek into the whole process. This large café seems to be stripped of any complicated or superfluous elements. The simple and minimalist interior design is the common feature at all Anthracite cafés. The dark, dim stairwell leading from the first floor counter to the second floor was left untouched. And as you reach the second floor, the sensation will be like that from walking out of a dark cave, with the natural light coming through the ceiling-to-floor windows.

The long table on the second floor is often crowded with people working on laptops. People who frequent cafés to work or study say Anthracite Yeonhui is among their favorite places. The café’s interior is so minimal that you won’t be distracted by the surroundings. The place is mostly dark, and you can concentrate on your own task relying on what little light is available.

There is one fascinating part of the Anthracite experience. Once you place your order on the first floor and find your seat on the second floor, the server will somehow spot you in the crowd and bring your order right to your table. Some say these servers are just great at remembering faces, and others argue they rely on CCTV footage. No one seems to know the exact truth.
Address 135 Yeonhui-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Der Stuhl
Yeonhui-dong is home to all types of cafés, but Der Stuhl is truly one of a kind. Its exterior, interior and accessories scream Bauhaus of Germany. The place seems less like a café than a select shop.

Inspired by Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, a fine arts academy in Germany, Der Stuhl exudes the feel of an old German home. The café is inside a Western-style house, renovated with ceiling-to-floor windows, reinforced steel frames, and block windows on cement structures. This highly entertaining café achieves the perfect harmony between the vintage and the modern, which in turn creates something entirely new.

Der Stuhl means ‘chair’ in German. While most workation cafés make sure they provide the right amount of light and right type of tables, Der Stuhl lives up to its name and focuses on chairs. You will find chairs and tables of all shapes and sizes across the café. It’s not often that you get to see so many different chairs, all serving different functions, inside one café. Der Stuhl is where it all becomes possible.
We sometimes forget that the chair is the most important element to the working environment. When we get caught up with tables, light, brightness, temperature and music, it slips out of our mind that we do have to spend hours on end sitting on a chair. Der Stuhl gives its chairs functional and design elements. For that reason, working while sitting on a chair at Der Stuhl will bring you comfort and joy.
Address 98 Yeonhui-ro 25-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Instagram @derstuhl_ 
August 2022 Editor:Jung Jaewook
Photographer:Kim Zun

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  • August 2022
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
  • Photographer: Kim Zun
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