Cafe Guide: Endlong, R.about, Grun
One of the coolest – and sometimes most overwhelming – things about Seoul is how many cafes there are. Even ignoring the major chains, it sometimes seems like there’s an independent café for every resident of the city, with each having its own style and flair. Each week we take a look at 3 independent cafés in different neighborhoods, to help you out next time you need a place to get some work done, take a date, or just grab a cup of coffee.
1. Endlong Roastery – Sinseoldong
엔드롱 로스터리 – 신설동
Endlong is a vaguely road trip-themed café in Sinseoldong, an area less known for coffee shops and more known for that time I lost my credit card and had to argue with the employees at the Citi Bank Korea branch there every day for a week. Because this neighborhood isn’t one of the hotter areas in Seoul right now (but give it time, who knows), Endlong is a pleasant surprise if you need some coffee. It’s a small corner spot with very little seating but an extensive menu, much of which is made with house roasted beans. Their espresso drinks are solid and the hand drip coffees are really impressive. Everything is pretty cheap as far as Seoul cafes go, and maybe most notably, Endlong opens at 7:30 am, which for some reason is practically unheard of. How are you supposed to get your caffeine fix before work if every coffee shop opens at 11? At Endlong that’s not a problem.
2. R.about – Hannamdong
아러바우트 – 한남동
Unlike Sinseoldong, Hannamdong is probably one of the first places you think about as having dope cafes. R.about is cool because it’s actually kind of hidden away from the main hyped areas of Hannamdong, instead tucked away in the more residential part. The spot itself is kind of easy to miss, occupying the ground floor of what once was or still might be a house. Once you find your way in, the main area feels like a construction site that someone gave up on and decided to turn into a café instead. The raw concrete cave is both kind of chic while maintaining a surprisingly homey feel, maybe because of the wooden floors and coffee bar. Small rooms separated by cloth or unfinished doorways jut out from the main room, making cozy spaces to study or take a date. The coffee drinks are expertly made and they serve a giant chocolate cake that I’ve never had but looks unreal.
3. Grun Coffee – Noryangjin
그런커피 – 노량진역
There’s a lot I don’t really understand about Grun coffee. As far as I can tell, it exists and operates in a small wedding studio, which is in a small underground…room? The studio, despite being hard to find, is cute and very wedding-y, and you know, there’s a sign for it in front of the building. This usually isn’t so for Grun coffee. So the questions I have are basically, is this a café run by the wedding studio people? Or vice versa? How do they get business? Who is their clientele? And yet, on the couple of times I’ve been there I was far from the only customer. All of the coffee options are handwritten on a torn-out piece of sketch paper, and they’re all really good. Naturally, the interior and the fact that you’re drinking coffee in a wedding studio…maybe…are what make this place worth checking out. Come for a fancy European coffee and maybe watch while a couple gets their photos taken, if that’s what happens here. I really don’t know.
If you’ve been to any of the spots we listed this week, or think we fucked something up, let us know. For more Seoul cafes, check out last week’s list.
Photo credits: @r.aboutcoffee, @jo___oeun, @_ichbinh