Cafe Daeo Bookstore: BTS footsteps

Cafe Daeo Bookstore is one of the oldest bookstores in Seoul. The bookstore turned into a cafe which will bring you to the past. So let’s check it out its story. 

It’s was a warm day and after completing my mission at Suseongdong Valley, I and my friend decided to walk to see the neighborhood of  Seochon. It’s my first time visiting Seochon so I was eager to visit the famous places in the neighborhood. So let’s check out the story of this place.

Story of Cafe Daeo Bookstore

Cafe Daeo Bookstore is a small second-hand bookstore in Seoul where during the old days’ people can trade their textbooks and other used books. It was first opened in 1951 by Dae-sik Cho and bought and sold used books for 50 years. As years passed by, customers began shopping from new and big bookstores it became hard for them to manage the business.

When Dae-sik Cho passed away, the family tried to clear up the place but Mrs. Kwon did not agree and kept the bookstore as it is until now.  To keep the bookstore alive they transformed it into a cafe in 2013 with the help of Mrs. Kwon’s grandson Jang Jai-hun.

What’s on their menu?

They served coffees, teas, and chocolate drinks starting from 5,500 to 6,500 won. On my first visit with my friend, we ordered Chocolate and Yuja-lemon tea. The drinks were served together with a cute dalgona lollipop, a Korean traditional street food.

If you will visit Cafe Daeo Bookstore, remember that they only provide seats for those who will order and one drink for one person. They have few chairs and tables to accommodate customers and this pandemic they usually opened at 12nn.

What to see inside?

Entering Cafe Daeo Bookstore will totally bring you to the past especially in the times of the Korean War (1950 to 1953) so this place has so much story to tell.

This place is a combined bookstore, cafe, and a hanok (Korean traditional house) which has been preserved for almost 69 years. You can see antique furniture, walls, windows, decorations, and also old books.

There is also a Madang or inner yard in English which served as a happy place for the whole family. The inner yard has a story to tell. During hot summer, Mrs. Kwon’s mother-in-law (Mrs. Joo) will clean the floor of the inner yard and she will cover the drain hole with vinyl.  Then she will fill the 10cm  deep swimming pool with water from the water pump. She will call her grandchildren to play in the pool and will eat watermelons together to beat the heat of summer.

Visited by Stars

BTS RM  visited the bookstore in 2016 and 2019 and this place is located 5 minutes away from Gyeongbukgung station and also near Tongin Market.

If BTS RM visited this place, IU filmed the cover of her album jacket “A Flower Bookmark” here.  Aside from that, the Korean drama Shark by Kim Nam-gil and Son Ye-jin was also filmed here.

More Information

Address:  33 Nuha-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
How to get here: From Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway, Line 3) get out from Exit 2, walk straight for about 400 meters. When you reach Tongin Sweet Cafe walk a little more and you’ll reach the Cafe Daeo Bookstore.

For more details, you can also visit Cafe Daeo Bookstore’s Facebook page.

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