Samcheong Dong is home to many swanky bars, jazz clubs, restaurants, and coffee shops. Every city has its artsy areas and Samcheong certainly delivers for Seoul. If you live in Seoul, you should visit this area more often. If you are visiting Seoul, you need include this area as you visit Insadong, the Blue House, Hanok Village, or Gyeongbokgong Palace. Samcheong Dong is literally a stones throw away from all of these locations. While you walk up and down Samcheong Dong absorbing the art, unique architecture, specialty shops, handmade crafts, and designer chocolates, you will undoubtably need a place to rest your cultured derrière. With so many interesting and unique looking places to choose from, there is pressure to choose the ideal spot that will both epitomize and complement the feeling of being in Samcheong Dong. I recommend Yeon Traveler’s Hangout.
Yeon’s stirs the same feelings I would get at an airport when I was a little boy. When I was younger, airports had a peculiar mystique about them. I would enter an airport, jump into a metal box, and fall asleep. Hours later, I would wake up, walk out of the metal box, walk out of a similar building and find myself in a completely different world. I couldn’t help but imagine how big the world was and wonder where all of those other people were being teleported to. Thinking about it still gives me a rush. The energy of being in an airport where so many diverging destinies briefly connect before their worlds are ultimately reshaped is both eclectic and invigorating. How many different stories are about to unfold that all start in the same place?
I’m not saying Yeon’s makes me feel the same as an airport, but it certainly captures that same type of energy. You feel like you’re taking part of something inspired by someone who understands despite our different journeys, we all still share common points of reference in life. What could be a better place to stop for a drink?
Upon entering, you will walk into a courtyard. The courtyard has an elevated platform with pillows and a table for any parties wishing to sit outside. The walls are decorated with tasteful art and decor. The courtroom is surrounded by several small rooms for different parties. Two of these rooms are not connected and can only be accessed through the courtyard. The two doors for the kitchen are open and you can watch the owners create drinks or cook food. If you look above the door to the kitchen, you’ll be surprised to see another room normally equipped with a gorgeous young couple displaying subtle smiles, stares and signs of interest towards one another. I know this beacuase I’ve always been unable to sit up there because some couple always appears to be acting out a scene from the movie Serendipity.
The main room of Yeon’s has three to four low tables with a comfortably padded floor sporting very colorful pillows. Just think of it as a very long couch on the floor. This really is the perfect set up for a glass of wine with a date. You will inevitably sit closely together on the floor and rub shoulders or touch elbows, effectively dismantling the touch barrier. The walls are colored a dark pascal green and the owners decorated the walls with pictures of water, travel, and daydreams. You’ll notice a bookshelf filled with hundreds of travel books and magazines. If you search the quarters carefully, you’ll also find a mint collection of snoopy figurines.
The staff is very chill and does not wear shoes(I’m from Florida so no problem here). They are very kind and the owner is a very fluent English Speaker. The collection of music they play is better than most music venues in Seoul. I sipped on my tea while listening to the best of The Cure, David Bowie, Duran Duran and the Police. The music styles vary but it’s always tasteful and very relaxing.
The ambience and design of Yeon’s is enough to merit a review from me; however, the menu is also intriguing and delicious. The menu has a great collection of unique tea and drinks from around the world. It also has a very good range of Korean drinks and specialties. You can order various types of beer, wine, food, coffee, cocktails, sangria and food. I’m not a food critic, but let me give you some examples of the wordly, eclectic, and diverse offerings. They include: Laos iced coffee, Vietnamese tea, acai and goji berry fruit infusion, India chai, Moroccan mint Tea, pine needle tea, yam milkshake, banana lasso, yuzu mojito, mitra squid and file fish, and fried sausage and veggies. The menu reflects the experience and tastes of a traveler which fits into the overall theme and nature of the bar. Kimchibytes(me) recommends the warm pine needle tea. It’s one of the most flavorful cups of tea I’ve ever had during the cold and frigid Korean winter. Yeon’s does not have a website but they have been in business for 7 years. They operate from 12(noon) to 11:00 pm every day of the week. You can see their address and contact number here and when they add their facebook page I will link it to this article.
Happy travels and when in Samcheong Dong, you know where to stop for more than just a drink!