8 Hipster Hangouts in Seoul for Those Not into K-Pop or Shopping

8 Hipster Hangouts in Seoul for Those Not into K-Pop or Shopping

From a bunch of artisan coffee hideouts to a treasure trove of underground haunts, this list is for you if you’re looking to enjoy Seoul away from the mainstream.

While the majority of tourists flock to Seoul for K-pop stars, Korean food and fashion, this guide is for the minority among you who enjoy seeking out hidden cafes or creative venues in a city well known for paving the way in what’s hip and stylish.

1. Cafe Onion

Image credit: Cafe Onion Facebook

If there’s anything more hip than hanging out in a converted old industrial warehouse, it’s having your latte while lounging on its open roof – and Cafe Onion provides you with just that.

Its premises used to house a supermarket and a metal factory in the 1970s, and today, it is a cafe and bakery. Its history though, still stands strong, and shows up in its dilapidated, peeling walls. With that said, the space has been refurbished with wide windows, minimalist furniture and a quaint garden – all while leaving the old charms of the structure intact for a full-on industrial chic vibe.

Image credit: Cafe Onion Facebook

Purchase your flat white from the friendly baristas before heading up to the second floor to get yourself a sugar-coated Pan d’Or 5.0 pastry to satisfy your sweet tooth – needless to say, it goes great with the coffee!

Address: 8 Achasan-ro 9(gu)-gil, Seongsu-dong 2(i)-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 8am–10pm on weekdays; 10am–10pm on weekends

2. Daelim Changgo Gallery CO:LUMN

Image credit: visitseoul.net

Another haunt to check out in the Seongsu-dong district, dubbed Korea’s Brooklyn, is the Daelim Changgo Gallery CO:LUMN. Originally a rice mill in the early 1970’s, this old red brick building with incredibly spacious interiors (enough space for trees to grow indoors!) now houses the cafe-cum-gallery.

From larger-than-life installations to creative paintings, there’s plenty of art in the seasonal exhibitions for you to take your time to admire, as you sip on your drink and indulge in a warm meal as aesthetically pleasing as the art on display.

If you’re in the mood for something indie, try something from their craft beer collection, such as the Mikkeller. Reddish-orange in colour, Mikkeller is a pale ale beer – a sweet spot between light lagers and dark stouts – with a crisp yet strong taste.

Address: 78 Seongsui-ro, Seongsu-dong 2(i)-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 11am–11pm daily

3. Hakrim Dabang

Image credit: Hakrim Dabang

The word dabang refers to old-style tearooms and coffee shops where people hung out with their peers. Hakrim Dabang has managed to preserve this bygone era in the midst of Seoul’s fast-growing society.

From shelves packed with yellowing vinyl records to crinkled black-and-white portraits of musicians, Hakrim Dabang screams nostalgia to its very core.

Be transported back to a simpler time as you ease into this rustic setting with your cup of java and soothing classical music playing softly. Or, you can live in the present and take a bunch of photos with the insta-worthy background!

Address: 119 Daehak-ro, Myeongnyun 4(sa)ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 10am–11pm daily


4. Queenmama Market

Look past the lush greenery and wooden lounge chairs to find Queenmama Market, a pop-up market that rotates brands and merchandise periodically. Within the four-storey building, there are also a specialised shop selling eco-friendly products and even an entire level of curated titles!

Manufact Coffee caught our attention in particular – the rooftop coffee house in Queenmama Market. The term “coffee house” isn’t used loosely here either – for a spacious place with beautifully designed interiors and huge potted plants, its menu is surprisingly specific.

Manufact Coffee serves coffee, obviously – and nothing else. Undoubtedly taking their cup of joe very seriously, the coffee house get their beans mainly from Ethiopia and Peru, and coffee artisans can be sure to appreciate the hand drip coffee here. While they’re popular for their cold brews, their flat whites are also a must-try.

Address: 50 Apgujeong-ro 46-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 10.30am–8pm on Monday–Saturday; 12pm–8pm on Sunday; closed on Monday


5. Common Ground

Image credit: Commonground Facebook

While the concept of using cargo containers as commercial spaces has been around for some time, Common Ground takes it to the next level by utilising a jaw-dropping 200 shipping containers!

Home to countless up-and-coming designer fashion brands, independent cafes and gourmet restaurants, you’ll want to spend at least half a day hanging out with your squad and taking insta-worthy photos, especially with the striking blue exteriors.

Not only are thematic weekend markets held in the central square, various events like exhibitions and performances will continue to keep you entertained as you roam and explore this cultural space.

Address: 200 Achasan-ro, Jayang 4(sa)-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 11am-10pm daily


6. rm.360

Image credit: rm.360 Facebook

If you’re an avid collector of vinyls, check out rm.360. Apart from selling a wide array of records, magazines and merchandise like t-shirts and figurines, rm.360 also serves as the homebase and official record store of DJ Soulscape and 360 Sounds, a cultural movement for young artists and trendsetters.

Image credit: rm.360 Facebook

Featuring a DJ booth and turntable, rm.360 is your entry point into the local DJ scene. What’s more, rm.360 also serves as the crew’s recording studio, so don’t be surprised if you see them hanging around!

Address: South Korea, Seoul, Seocho-gu, Bangbae-dong, 985-11 번지 1 층

Opening hours: 2pm–9pm on Tuesday–Sunday; closed on Monday

7. Jazz Story

Image credit: Jazz Story

If a handcrafted airplane and an antiquated tricycle suspended overhead doesn’t scream hipster to you, we’re not sure what will.

From otherworldly figures as props to broken concrete walls, Jazz Story’s eclectic interior certainly sets the mood to go with its delectable food and extensive – and we really mean extensive – selection of beverages.

Image credit: Jazz Story

What’s more, the cafe hosts live bands playing every night, so you’re assured of a good night experiencing a live music cafe like never before.

Address: 129-213 Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 5pm – late


Also check out: 10 Things to Do in Seoul at Night Other Than Endless Shopping and Eating

8. Yongma Land

Image credit: Christian Bolz

Built in 1980, Yongma Land started out as a small but thriving family-oriented amusement park. However, as the years passed and times changed, the park had to close down in 2011.

All that’s left now is a creaky carousel, vacant bumper cars, sun-bleached sculptures of pop icons from the 80’s, and a tale of the supernatural or two. In other words, it’s the perfect setting for the adventurous among you to have dystopian-esque photoshoots.

Image credit: Christian Bolz

The best part? You don’t even have to be trespassing on this decrepit property. For a small price of ₩5,000, you’ll be free to roam around the park and take as many pictures as you want. If you’re lucky, the owner might even turn on the carousel lights, showing you a glimpse of the park back in its glory days.

However, it’s probably best to exercise some caution – the park hasn’t been maintained in years and the rides are in a state of disrepair. As great as the shot would be, you’re better off with all your limbs intact, so be safe!

Address: 69-1 Mangu-dong, Jungnang-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 9am–7pm daily

Also check out: Guide to Having a Photoshoot at Seoul’s Abandoned Theme Park – Yongma Land.

Bonus: Seoeon Tattoos

Granted, this isn’t exactly a ‘hangout’, but aren’t minimalist tattoos something that would fit your brand? Tattooist Seoeon is known for their clean lines and deceptively simple designs – perfect for your aesthetic.

Interestingly, while tattoos are only allowed to be done under the hands of licenced medical practitioners, it doesn’t stop tourists from flocking to the country for one of the tattoo artists’ signature designs.

Address: In the vicinity of Seoul subway line 8 Gangdong-gu; contact the studio for more details

Opening hours: 11am–7pm; appointments only


So there you have it – eight places in Seoul where you can crank up your inner hipster and appreciate the nonconformist lifestyle!

For more information, visit Korea Tourism Organization’s official website and Facebook page.

Brought to you by Korea Tourism Organization (Singapore Office).

About Author

Chan U-Jane
Chan U-Jane

U-Jane is non-stop, a lover of all things Disney, and may or may not be slightly obsessed with musicals. When she's not off gallivanting, she's probably binge-watching some show on Netflix. That, or she's meticulously planning her next adventure.