Seoul has established itself as a top player in the themed café circuit and one of the most successful gimmicks to evolve in recent years is the cat café. Cat cafes have been extremely successful among both tourists looking to spice up their travel itinerary and residents unable to have a pet in Seoul for any number of reasons. These days, it is easy to find a cat café on almost every major street in Seoul. Almost anyone can adopt a few cats and open a furry establishment. That being said, not all cat cafes are alike and a few might not be up to snuff. So, do a little bit of research before running out to your nearest mom and pop cat café to find an afternoon cuppa with a difference. Here is a list of a few top notch cat cafes which have something different to offer the cat connoisseur.
Cat’s Attic Café Gangnam
The first Cat’s Attic Café opened in Myeongdong and now has nine locations from Seoul to Busan. Cat’s Attic Café has a very solid reputation as an all-around great option with the Gangnam location the most reputable of them all.
Upon entering Cat’s Attic, the décor is very simple, almost bare. Tables are partitioned along the wall and next to them are strategically-placed long, vertical towers and shelves for our feline friends to climb up and around. There is a huge open space in the middle which allows the customers and the cats to play together. Most of the cats are very social, friendly and affectionate as they come right up to the customers to play or take a nap on their laps.
Upon entering the Attic, you must remove your shoes and sanitize your hands. Cleanliness is of utmost importance when visiting any cat café and the Attic pleasantly surprised me by how little cat smell there was. No need to worry about belongings either, as each customer is given the use of a drawer underneath their chair. The café also has their rules clearly listed in both English and Korean for a stress-free experience.
Address: Cat Attic Gangnam, Seocho-gu, Seocho dae ro77 gil-9, 4F
Station: Gangnam Station (Line 2, Exit 9)
Cost: KRW 8,000 (including one drink)
Directions: From Exit 9, walk straight toward Starbucks. Walk for a few blocks until you reach a big sign that says Cat Café on your left. Go to the fourth floor. (If you walk past American Apparel, you’ve gone too far.)
Cat Playground Myeongdong
Purr-fect for an afternoon out with friends or family, Cat Playground first opened in 2011 in the heart of Myeongdong and now has a second location in the area. Just like other cafes, shoes must be removed and hands sanitized before entering the Playground.
The Playground décor is anything but simple. Featuring more color with pictures of cats, teddy bears and dolls than other establishments, tables cater for larger groups of friends as well as smaller offerings for couples.
The Myeongdong branch is very kid-friendly, with many toys for the cats to play with and a few mini-playgrounds where the cats can play with the customers. The staff also sell small bowls of cat food to help entice the cats.
The small, simple menu offers average tasting beverages and each customer is given a large white bag to place their belongings in. The Playground has fewer rules than other cafés, lending a more laid-back, hands-off vibe. Although the cats were not as social and affectionate as at the Attic, they were very beautiful and fun to take selfies with.
The café was very clean but unfortunately there was a stronger cat odor at the Cat Playground. Nevertheless, this is a fun café that is great for kids and couples. And once the cat smell is under control, it will be a top-notch cat cafe.
Address: Myeongdong Cats’ Playground Myeongdong, 8-gil, 37-14, 3F
Station: Myeongdong Station (Line 4, Exit 8)
Cost: KRW 8,000 (including one drink)
Directions: From Exit 8, turn left at the next street. Keep walking until your reach Shinhan Bank. Turn left and on your right side you will notice a sign for the cat café.
Y Cat Café Hongdae
Y Cat Café, formerly known as Gio Cat Café, opened back in 2006. Located ten minutes from Hongdae Station, right next to Hongdae Playground, this is a popular night destination for young people. After removing your shoes and sanitizing your hands, glance over at the cat café rules and menu displayed in both English and Korean for a very language friendly spot.
Y Cat Café is visually appealing with red, black and brick wall décor. Y also has an impressive and elaborate playground for the cats to play with the customers, exemplifying the trendy, stylish Hongdae vibe that is perfect for a younger crowd.
Menu options include tea and coffee, and also cold beverages for those upcoming summer days. The entrance fee is KRW 1,000 more expensive than the others, but the inclusive drink keeps the café on par with others.
The café ranks high in the cleanliness department with very little cat smell and the felines are very friendly, waiting to be fed from the small bowl of cat food available to buy.
Address: Y Cat Café, 3F 12-6, Wausan-ro 21-gil, Mapo-gu.
Station: Hongdae Station, (Line 2, Exit 9)
Cost: KRW 9,000 (including one drink)
Directions: From Exit 9, walk straight until you reach McDonalds. Turn left and walk straight until you reach the intersection in front of Honggik University. Turn right and walk straight until you reach Hongdae Playground. Walk down the street along the park and take the first right.