So, a nice coffee shop in Hongdae. It is actually really nice, very hipster and cool. Especially amongst young University students at the moment.

I had to remortgage my house to afford a green tea (6000), but that seems to be the way in Hongdae. To be fair, it was a tasty green tea, in an interesting teapot. I’ve always wanted a really really exciting teapot. Worth the 6000 on the novelty front.

On the outside, I don’t think it looks that much like a coffee shop. It says Design Museum on the front and then there is a tiny logo for ‘aA cafe’ by the steps leading up to it. As this is one of Hongdae’s hottest spots, it doesn’t need bells, whistles and neon signs to promote it. It’s just not necessary.

Once you walk in, there are high ceilings, some chilled out music playing, and lots of tables filled with Korean couples and university students. Everyone’s doing their own thing. It has a calm atmosphere despite the fact it is far more noisy than an ordinary cafe, but you can’t have it all. The noise is just people talking and it makes the place seem more alive.

I liked cafe aA a lot. Although it’s pretty big, it still has the air of a smaller, more independent coffee shop. It’s a refreshing change from the normal smaller coffee shops which fill up Hongdae’s back alleyways and street corners, and gives the large chain coffee outlets a run for their money without the stigma of being a chain. A mean feat, executed excellently. I think this is because the staff are really friendly and everybody is just minding their own business. Whether they’re sat on laptops, on a date with their boyfriend, or just hanging out with their friends – everybody is in their own little world.

I think also that cafe aA pulls off individuality through the fact the venue is more than just a cafe since out of its five floors four are a museum, and only the ground floor occupies the cafe space. aA is owned by the famous vintage furniture collector Myung-Hwan Kim, and this is why the furniture in this place is so eclectic, in the cafe as well as the museum. Every table is different, and the different tables have different chairs, meaning that not only do you get to look at the interesting designs, you get to do what you’re meant to do with furniture: use it. The whole reason I enjoyed this cafe so much was because of the art and fashion spin the owner has put on it. It was interesting, and I feel that it offered something more than most of the other smaller cutesy cafes around the area.

Operating Hours

12:00 – 24:00 (Mon – Sun)


02 – 3143 – 7312


서울시 마포구 서교동 408-11


Facing Hong-Ik university, turn right and go straight. Make sure that you are on the right hand side of the road. When you see Seven-Eleven on your right, go into the street between the Seven-Eleven and Yogi. Keep walking until you see 화로사랑 (hwaro sarang). Make a left in front of 화로사랑 (hwaro sarang). Keep walking until you see Diwan-I-Am on your left, and Cafe aA is on your right.

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