K-pop stars may gain worldwide recognition for their talent on stage, but many go on to pursue other things outside of the entertainment industry. Many of them set up restaurants, coffee shops, and bars—and for fans, these establishments are an important part of the itinerary during trips to Seoul, other parts of South Korea, or even outside the country!
Dropping by for a meal or a cup of coffee is not only a great way to support K-pop idols, but it also gives you the opportunity to potentially catch a glimpse of your personal bias! Here are a couple of the restaurants and cafés you can hit to sate your appetite and get a little bit closer to your favorite artist.
Loco Quan 401
Loco Quan 401, often simply called 401, is a Korean restaurant owned by Running Man’s Haha. With two branches in Hongdae and Myeongdong, it’s already quite successful and well-known for its incredible Korean barbecue.
Keep your eyes peeled when you’re eating here as the rapper and other Running Man and Infinite Challenge cast members have already been spotted here.
Big Bang is one of the most famous K-pop groups in the world and if you want to pay tribute to member G-Dragon, stop by Untitled, 2017 in Jeju Shinhwa World on Jeju Island. G-Dragon played a huge role in designing the bright, airy café, resulting in a space that’s an extremely popular destination for fans from all over the world.
Those who are craving good Japanese food in Seoul can visit Ossu Seiromushi, the brainchild of BTS’ Jin and his brother.
From minimalist wood interiors to traditional Japanese fare served in wooden boards, the atmosphere inside the establishment is homey and authentic. While a meal at Ossu Seiromushi can get quite pricey, Jin’s restaurant has gotten rave reviews from diners since it opened its doors in 2018.
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Fans of EXO member Kai can head to Kamong Café near Gangnam Station to see the coffee shop the K-pop idol established for his sister. Simple, cozy, and conveniently located, it’s a great stop for travelers craving coffee, tea, or a smoothie while embarking on a tour of the Gangnam area. Drop by to rest for an hour or so and try some of their snacks, such as waffles and cookies.
Café J Holic
Another café to visit in Gangnam is Café J Holic, which is owned by Jaejoong of JYJ. Tucked away in a quiet area, the Instagram-friendly coffee shop is a charming place where travelers can relax and enjoy refreshments in peace. Treat yourself to some of the Jaejoong souvenirs available here, including tumblers for your brew.
Even if you’re not a fan of Super Junior’s Yesung, his café Mouse Rabbit is a cool place to visit. The K-pop idol and his brother set up this café in Gwangjin, naming it after their respective zodiac signs. Mouse Rabbit is a cozy, charming space for hanging out, with a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer, or a pastry dish.
Nerd on Earth
Nerd on Earth, often simply referred to as Nerd, is one of the most popular hotspots in Itaewon. While it’s owned by Im Seulong of 2AM fame, the bar has gained a great reputation on its own merit with a hip atmosphere, incredible music, and even better food. See what the hype is all about and spend one night out to party in Nerd during your trip to Seoul.
BONUS: When In Bangkok
While most K-pop artists kept their establishments within their home country South Korea, there are a number of them who ventured to Bangkok, Thailand to set up their restaurants.
B’Chill is owned by BamBam, GOT7’s Thai lead rapper and dancer. The singer-songwriter even helped serve customers when the café opened!
Psy, who shot to worldwide stardom for his hit song “Gangnam Style,” also opened Psy Korean Ramen in Bangkok.