the Coolest Places in Korea
10 Places to Satisfy Your Sophisticated Music Palate
A long-playing record (LP) cafe that will please your mouth and ears
HWANG IN YONG MUSIC SPACE CAMERATA
Open the narrow steel door of the heavy concrete box-style building, and you will find a long space with a 10-meter high ceiling filled with analog sounds.
The seats all face forward so that every visitor can enjoy listening to music while looking at the stage.
There is a short moment of semi-quiet between songs.
During that time, the sound of footsteps or the turning of pages seems incredibly loud, as if they were coming from the speaker, but even these sounds are attractive.
Some guests are reading while others are simply resting with their eyes closed. They are focusing on their own moments while keeping silent.
This cafe features vintage audio equipment from the 1920s and LPs and CDs collected by In-yong Hwang, who worked as a radio DJ for approximately 40 years. It is a great place to visit and listen to classical music.
Even though it takes a long time to get here, I think this cafe will be my favorite place in the future.
- Address: 83 Heyrimaeul-gil, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
- Operating hours: 11:00-21:00 (Has a different fixed day off each month)
- Check the following before your visit / Admission: 10,000 won(Admission fee includes a free drink)
- #Culture Complex
- # Cafe
- # Music
A music listening space and cafe in Insa-dong
Music Complex Seoul
A place for music lovers opened on the fifth floor of Anyoung Insadong. Music Complex Seoul is a music listening space and cafe in Insa-dong. Its location at the heart of Seoul makes this place even more attractive. You can order a drink, choose an LP you want, and play it on the turntable at your table by the window or in the middle of the space. You can also choose to listen to the masterpieces that are played over the cafés sound system, and time will fly. The biggest merit of this cafe is that you can enjoy any music you want that suits your preference. There is a possibility of a time limit being imposed in the future, but currently, no such limit exists.
There are around ten window seats and several sofa seats in the middle of the cafe. There is also a private listening area. The interior gives a strong impression with a combination of red and black, but the atmosphere is quite warm and cozy. This cafe can be a unique dating spot in Jongno or an ideal space for music lovers.
- There are four or five single-origin coffee beans.
- Beer and other items will be added to the menu later.
I ordered a pour-over coffee with Ethiopia damo. I liked the coffee’s acidity, which reminded me of the color yellow, and the sweet fruity flavor.
At Music Complex Seoul, you can enjoy a variety of music genres, including masterpieces from artists such as ABBA and Elton John. Personally, just listening to the music played at the café, without playing an individual turntable using a headphone, was a great experience.
- Address: 5F, 49 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- Operating hours: 10:00-22:00
- Kids Zone
- Pets are not allowed
- Free parking for 30 minutes
ORFEO is a private sound theater where you can enjoy content related to films and performances related to music.
You can also visit a cafe and a wine bar – QUARTET and The LAST PAGE – located in the same building, Sounds Urban Resort Hannam.
(*nearby places to visit: Aesop Sounds Hannam, Dyson store)
- Reservations: Send a DM to the Instagram account ‘ode.orfeo’, or send a message to Kakao Talk Plus Friend ‘ORFEO’
- You can get a 10% discount on cafes and restaurants in the Sounds Urban Resort Hannam if you present an ORFEO membership card.
- # Cafe
- # Bar
Having a coffee while listening to jazz on a cloudy or rainy day will be so romantic.
A must-visit jazz spot located in Euljiro
- Address: 2F, 3 Chungmu-ro 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Operating hours: 17:00-24:00 Monday to Thursday, 13:00-24:00 Friday to Saturday, 13:00-23:00 Sunday
- Tips: You can enjoy more atmosphere if you visit here on a rainy day!
- # Bar
I was mesmerized when I saw through the windows the sea and the sky turn purple.
“Personally, it was my favorite place during my Jeju trip. I’ll come here next time to enjoy wine!”
- Address: 106 Teuhaean-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
- #Culture Complex
The impression obtained through minimalist architecture
I often compare buildings to people. I personify large buildings to lessen the heavy feeling they impose and to make it easier to analyze and interpret spaces. By observing the building’s façade, materials, details, and how it interacts with the land, I see some as cold and indifferent people, some as warm and caring individuals, and even some as psychos that I don’t want to interact with. I see various images from different buildings, and it’s like having conversations with different people.
If you walk along Itaewon-ro, you’ll see that most of the buildings lined up are four or five-story buildings due to height restrictions around N Seoul Tower. Although the buildings are not that tall compared to the width of the road, only the road and sidewalk are open spaces, making the area look rather bleak like other areas in Seoul. In this regard, your attention will be drawn to a building with an empty space that takes more than half of the building’s area – Hyundai Card Music Library – because it clears up a previously obstructed view.
The building’s metal frame shows its boundaries, but more than half of the space is empty. So when you look at the building from the pedestrian crossing, the metal structure looks like a picture frame surrounding the Hannam-dong area. Buildings line up along the mountain ridge, and a cathedral is seen at the end, creating a fairytale-like scene. It seems as if the building has stepped aside and is gesturing to me to enjoy the view together.
If you follow the gesture and enter the building, you will be surprised once by the ground, and once again by the structure of the first floor. Usually, the ground is leveled before construction in order to make a flat surface on which a building will be constructed for ease of design, construction, and use. However, this building preserves the existing topography. The downward road following the ridge of Namsan Mountain naturally leads people to the first floor. Generally, people are accustomed to flat ground, so the sloping floor provides both tension and enjoyment. The building’s first impression may be cold due to its metal structure, but consideration and details that can be found across the building add to its charm.
The key area in the building is the 2nd and 3rd floors. Rare vinyl records are collected here. The two floors are connected without a ceiling, making the area look spacious. On the 2nd floor, there is a turntable where you can directly listen to music. Walk up the stairs and visit the 3rd floor to see albums from various eras and countries.
The building houses rare vinyl records and important materials, so the building runs a closed system that only Hyundai Card holders can access. Instead, the building has a transparent glass facade that people can see the inside from the outside, and vice versa, offsetting the building’s closed nature with the transparent material.
Iron and glass, which are the outcome of industrialization, represent modern and contemporary eras. Therefore, the cold image of the materials is also reflected in the building’s first impression. However, the building’s relation to the ground, careful consideration for passers-by, and selection of materials that connect the interior and exterior remind me of a warm-hearted and sensible person. Likewise, by personifying, analyzing, and experiencing buildings in this way, you can have an enjoyable experience with the space.
Only Hyundai Card holders and DIVE app members can enter the library.
Architecture: Kazuyo Sejima-> Moon-gyu Choi + Ga.A Architects
Photo and article by: Hyo-geun Shin ( @_hyogeun_ )
#A space for a good experience
- Address: 246 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- Operating hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 12:00-21:00 / Sunday: 12:00-18:00 / Closed on Mondays
- # Restaurant
- # Bar
Located on a street filled with dozens of pubs in Yongsan-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, HILLS & EUROPA is a cafe and bar
HILLS & EUROPA has an exotic atmosphere. It is a great place to spend some time while listening to music on LPs.
It operates as a coffee bar during the day and as a bar in the evening, making it a great place to have a drink.
- Address: 2F, 35 Sinheung-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- Operating hours: Cafe 10:00-15:30, Bar / Kitchen 17:00-01:00 Monday to Friday /13:00-01:00 Saturday to Sunday
- # Restaurant
- # Bar
It feels like visiting the house of a collector friend who loves music and art – #Lost & Found in Euljiro
Here, during Sunday brunch, you can enjoy a high-quality music selection that can usually only be found in dimly lit bars late at night. And the bar plays funk and disco music from the 1980s and 1990s!
It’s also fun to check out the Sunday brunch menu, which changes every week.
The menu is simple, yet dishes come in generous portions.
I love being here. I like this place that much. It satisfies my taste 120%.
I am not a big fan of Euljiro’s kitschy vibe represented by countless stores that opened everywhere, so I wasn’t interested in Hipjiro (a combination of the words hip and Euljiro). But I think the café has an authentic Hipjiro vibe. I’ll definitely come back.
- They operate as a bar on Wednesday and Saturday evenings and offer brunch on Sunday. / Parking in nearby areas
- Address: 2F, 5 Chungmu-ro 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
- # Bar
At this LP bar in Guri, you can enjoy various genres of music, such as jazz, classical music, and old pop.
They have a collection of LPs of different genres and will play songs you request!
The bar opens at 5:00 PM. Enjoying some beer while listening to music on LPs after work would be really great
A must-visit LP bar in Guri
- Address: 116 Galmaejungang-ro 55beon-gil, Guri-si, Gyeonggi-do
- Operating hours: 17:00-22:00, Closed on Mondays
- Tips: Die Welt ist Musik serves beer and wine, but does not offer coffee. I recommend that you take this into consideration before your visit.
- # Exhibition
- # Museum
The outcome of a passion for music
The most remarkable aspect of this space, named by combining concino (meaning resonance in Latin) and concrete, the primary material used for both the interior and exterior of the building, is that as the name suggests, music resonates evenly throughout the space from any direction, not just in front of the speaker.
(This is an incredibly challenging acoustic environment to realize.)
Another characteristic of the space is that it was designed to avoid creating a feeling of “worshipping” the various audio devices, collections, and the large system located at the front of the hall.
As part of this effort, the space was designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape. The large windows throughout the space allow visitors to observe the changing weather and seasons from indoors. The goal is to limit the magnificent sound echoing through the area as part of the overall experience.
It appears that profitability was not the primary consideration from the beginning. The bar decisively excluded elements -- being a cafe, for instance -- that may cause unnecessary noise, and decided to charge admission fees. This shows the sincerity of this space.
The owner of this space is, surprisingly a doctor. If he started this place as a hobby, then he could be an exemplary case of a successful enthusiast.
- Address: 17 Saeori-ro 161beon-gil, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
- Admission: 20,000 won / Mineral water provided
- Operating hours: 14:00-19:00 Monday, Tuesday, and Friday / 12:00-19:00 Saturday to Sunday / Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays
- Parking space available (strongly recommend using your own car)
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