Yri Café [이리카페]

Kokdu: Season of Deity (2023); Link: Eat, Love, Kill (2022); Forecasting Love and Weather (2022)

Looking for job, Han Gye-jeol (Im Soo-hyang) calls up her acquaintance Sa Guk-hwa (Son So-mang) who is a nurse at ‘Pilseong Hospital’ in episode 3 of Kokdu: Season of Deity (Kkokduui Gyejeol/꼭두의 계절) (MBC, 2023). Guk-hwa takes the call at this café; being here with friends for a drink.

Na Chun-ok (Ye Soo-jung) meets up here with her son at this café in episode 16 of Link: Eat, Love, Kill (링크: 먹고 사랑하라, 죽이게) (tvN, 2022).

This is where Shin Seok-ho (Moon Tae-yoo) and Jin Tae-kyung (Jung Woon-sun) meet up regularly in Forecasting Love and Weather/Weather People (기상청 사람들: 사내연애 잔혹사 편) (JTBC/Netflix, 2022). He helps her work on her writing (and they also flirt) at this café, for instance, in episode 11 and 12.

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Yri Café [이리카페] is a vintage style book cafe named after Hermann Hesse’s Der Steppenwolf (황야의 이리) located in Seoul’s neighborhood of Seogang [Seogang-dong/서강동] (formerly Sangsu [Sangsu-dong/상수동]) in the Mapo District [Mapo-gu/마포구]. It speaks to this café’s notoriety that it is also mentioned on anglophone websites; ahead of all by Timeout who describes it as “a sort of godfather to the Hongdae café scene, inspiring a generation of ‘culture cafes’.”

It is further described as “daytime cafe and workspace as [well as] night-time drinks venue.” Phreuron from The Calm Chronicle explains her first impression of this café “like stepping into a time machine. The vintage sofa, antique tables, gramophone records and endless collection of classic literature, all create a warm atmosphere of a coffee club in the 60s in South Korea.”

The café was founded by two literature graduates, Kim Sang-woo (김상우) —former drummer of indie band ‘Line 3 Butterfly (3호선 버터플라이)’— and Lee Yoon-yong (이준용), and opened in 2004 close to Hongik University’s Sanwoolim Small Theater [산울림 소극장]. It moved to this current location in October 2009 due to soaring rent in its previous neighborhood. In 2017, the café was again on the verge for needing to move due to a rise in monthly rent but they were able to sign a new contract with acceptable conditions.

Next to coffee, they sell homemade teas, toast and also beer and snacks are served here. They also hold mini concerts and artistic performances and artists —from writers over singers, painters to film directors— are regulars here since the cafés Hongdae times.

27 Wausan-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울 마포구 와우산로3길 27
(상수동 337-4)
Geolocation: 37.545852, 126.921585

Getting here
Sangsu Station [상수역/上水驛], Seoul Subway Line 6, Exit 4
(4 min. walk)

— submitted by Marion KDL

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