Coffee Prince was one of my favourite dramas back in my teenage days and.. 10 years later, I’m still watching the same guy (Gong Yoo) on TV.
Despite visiting Korea 4 times, I have never succeeded in making this cafe as part of my itinerary as it simply looks “out of the way” from everything else in Seoul but this time round, in my anyhow whack and barely planned trip, I finally made it here!
How to get There
Prior to the visiting the cafe, we had lunch at the famous “Ginseng Chicken” restaurant near Gyeongbokgong Station (Orange, Line 4).
From there, we took bus 7022 (a green bus) and basically you just follow the dot on your GPS and you will know where to alight. Simply key ‘산모퉁이’ and click on directions. The walking directions on google map
The walking direction on google map is inaccurate so you will have to just look at the car road and walk.
You should alight at the “Buam-dong Community Service Center“, the bus stop as indicated in the map below.
I honestly hope my maps are useful as it takes a lot of effort to create such maps though it may not look nice.
Given that it was our first day in South Korea and we barely slept the night before, the walk up was slightly tiring for me.
The 2 ajummas in front of us in the picture below overtook our pace. Then again, I was taking my own sweet time on a leisure walk as we were digesting the super filling ginseng chicken lunch we had prior to this cafe.
It was about an 800m walk and we did not take the shortcut so basically we walked the bigger driving road. The slopes were not very steep but if you climb steadily at a brisk walk pace, it’s enough to make you pant.. or perhaps my backpack was a little too heavy.
On your way up, you should spot a sign like thsi and you will know that you are on the right track.
Anyway, for the lazy ones, you can just choose to cab up. We saw a few people alighting from a taxi when we were at the entrance.
This is the entrance of the cafe and if you can’t remember which scene it is in the drama, this is the ‘home’ of the second lead (the spectacles guy).
Female lead used to deliver milk to his house and she will play with his dog so this it the gate.
The prices here in this cafe is quite steep.
Cheapest item in the menu is Espresso and Americano at 7,000W (additional 1,000W for ice) and the cakes cost 7,000W. There isn’t any minimum order per pax but i guess it is polite to at least buy a drink each. It is a self-service concept where you search for your own seats, queue up to order and collect your drinks. Also, I realise that Koreans have a good habit of returning their trays and plates when they are done, clearing the table for the next patron. Do take note on this the next time you are there. Sometimes, there will be a ‘return point’ but if there isn’t, you can just pass it to the staff at the counter.
Apart from Coffee Prince, there were many other dramas and variety shows that filmed at this location. Well, the biggest crowd-puller is still Coffee Prince and with Gong Yoo’s surging popularity after Train to Busan and Goblin, I’m sure many new fans probably picked up on this old drama and the old fans started re-watching it all over again.
Anyway, the cafe was about 50% filled when we reached. All the indoor seats were taken so we had to go outside. It was both cooling and warm at the same time (oh, spring!) but the sun was a little annoying as the rays may hurt. Later towards the evening time (well, we stayed more than 2 hours), it started to get a little chilly with the wind.
It was a random thursday afternoon and I’m pretty surprised at the crowd. Like.. do all this people not work?
Anyway, apart from us, we heard the voices of 2 other singaporeans. Our accent is pretty distinctive when we are overseas.
Anyway, so we spent the next 2 to 3 hours chilling, sitting and appreciating the beauty of spring. In the past, I would have thought that allocating so much time to ‘doing nothing’ is a waste of time and chilling at cafes would never be part of my itinerary but now, I really do enjoy it. Well, I was indeed tired from the lack of rest the night before but at the same time, it made me realise that travelling and going on a vacation is not just about wanting to visit every single place and taking photos. It is also about relaxing, unwinding, enjoying and perhaps a bit of healing? Healing from all that stress and mess that you have back at home/work which you can put aside temporarily because you’re in a different country.
You know, the feeling of being able to stare out at a beautiful scenery and just not do anything at all, is pretty awesome. Now that I am back, just thinking about these carefree memories can bring a smile to my face and it is so hard to do nothing in my real life. When I really do ‘nothing at all’ I feel that I am wasting time but few weeks ago (in Korea), I could do nothing yet feel happy about it. No idea what I’m trying to say but.. I guess until the day you discover your love for ‘doing nothing’, then you will understand. ‘Doing nothing’ and feeling good at the same time is a luxury in life.
Here’s what you can expect of the view.
Does the 2 stone horses look familiar? It got featured in the drama if you have ultra good memory!
Don’t forget to check out the basement too for a mini collection/museum. I’m not sure of the reason behind this random mix of items but I guess the owners love to collect and display them? This place is pretty much unsupervised at most times (which worries me as there are some fragile items) but I guess, feel free to take photographs as long as you don’t damage anything. It was totally empty when I headed down to explore.
Do you know that one of the ‘TOP RATED CHICKEN SHOPS’ by Koreans is located in Buam-dong?
It is labeled as “1” on my map at the start of my post and you will definitely walk past it if you’re intending to visit the Coffee Prince place.
Korean Name: Gyeyeolsa 계열사
Address: 258-3 Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating Hours: 12:00 – 11:30PM; Closed on Mondays
How shall I describe the chicken? It is really tasty (I believe they marinated it for a long time before frying them) and that it will be served to you pipping hot. I really love the potato wedges which was like totally potato, not processed mashed potato but the real potato (I hope I’m making sense). Anyway, as they serve you the whole chicken, you will have to eat the not so delicious part of the chicken as well which is usually not as juicy and tender as the nicer parts. It comes with this damn delicious chilli sauce (no photos) which I really love.
I can’t remember the price we paid for the chicken alone but we paid 23,000W for chicken + beer + coke. 3 of us shared a chicken and we were pretty full. I do see people coming in pairs and finishing up the entire chicken so is is not impossible.
All highly rated places will definitely come with a queue. When we left (slightly before 7PM on a random Thursday), the customers were already waiting by writing their names on the board outside the shop. According to the reviews I saw on Google, waiting is perfectly normal. We did not have to queue when we entered the shop but the shop (Level 1 and B1) was at full occupancy D:
Anyway.. like all viral places, copycats will tend to sprout out around the corner.
There’s one called “Sai Chicken” with a teddy bear mascot and I guess you can read this entry for a more detailed comparison. I haven’t tried the other branch so I am in no position to comment.
If you’re in the mood for more coffee, you can check out ‘Club Espresso – Number 3 in my Map’ which is just opposite.
Found a blogger who really loves the coffee and here’s her detailed write up – http://pheurontay.com/good-brews-at-buam-dong-club-espresso/.
Read my recap of my Korea Apr 2017 Trip – https://www.flyhoneystars.com/2017/05/12/visiting-south-korea-may-2017/