Korea Diary | Themed in Hongdae (Day 32)
To some Hongdae is known for it's bars and clubbing scene. For others it is an artsy and indie music cultural hub. But that night my friends and I were on the hunt for something totally different, themed restaurants.
With so many bars and restaurants in such a concentrated area, everyone has to differentiate themselves somehow. One of our friends was a big fan of the anime called One Piece and found out there was a place in Hongdae that was all about it. This place was pretty difficult to find because it was not only on one of the quieter streets but it is also a lower-level establishment. The only major indicator that it was the One Piece shop was the sole green illuminated flag hanging in between two buildings.
Even though I was not familiar with the anime, I was just as amazed by those who were at the restaurant's decor. Various themed merchandise were strategically placed: t-shirts, stuffed animals, figurines, etc. A projector was airing the anime against a free wall. We all thought it would have been a great to eat, chat, and enjoy the anime. That was until we were given the menu and saw how expensive the food dishes were. Would it really be worth it?
After a little while of confused and indecisive glances at the menu in front of us and then to each other, the staff let us know that this was actually a bar and the food items were more like accompaniments rather than entrees. Since we hadn't ordered or given anything yet, our group was able to walk out no strings attached. I still don't quite understand the concept of that restaurant/bar but at least the big anime fans were able to get to see a space dedicated to their favorite show.
To say those friends were disappointed that they couldn't get to eat there was probably an understatement. It also didn't help that we were trying to locate the place in rainy weather. By the time we left the One Piece bar, we were getting hungrier and hungrier. At some point we stumbled upon the Chinese-style restaurant named Caiyuan. At this point, I think it is safe to say that if it wasn't a meal that made a particular impression on me it was probably just alright. Nothing bad but nothing great either.
While one friend really wanted to find the One Piece spot, another had her eyes on the Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae. How can someone resist such cutely decorated foods and drinks? Cakes and waffles shaped as Hello Kitty's head. Lattes with Hello Kitty's face outlined in cocoa powder. Even the tables and walls had her imprint. I wouldn't say this is a place to go for outstanding sweets. It was definitely more of a novelty stop to let our inner child get all giddy.