Book Cafés (Nolsoop/놀숲)

May 10, 2017

The concept of book cafes seems so simple yet so incredibly genius. They're a great place to exist outside of your house with all the comforts and entertainment you need. Whether you want to get some work/studying done or hang out with your friends/kids, 10/10 do recommend! 

The particular book cafe that I visited is a chain called 놀숲/Nolsoop. This particular one was in Mokpo, but there seem to be locations all around Korea. I've also been to an independently owned book cafe, and it operated much the same as this one. 

As soon as you walk in, you exchange your shoes for slippers and leave your shoes in a locker. You leave the locker key at the front counter and pick it up when you leave.

Depending on the amount of time you intend to stay, you pay a fee per person (see image below). Most of the options include your choice of americano or iced tea (or something different at extra cost) and after your time is up, they charge an additional 400 won for every 10 minutes. Each person is provided with a card (numbered to correspond with your shoe locker) which keeps track of your purchases, and you pay on your way out.

Once you've paid, it's time to get comfortable. There are seated booths that can fit larger groups, or bunks along the walls which are more suitable for 1-2 people. Each bunk has a light, an outlet, a small tabletop, cushions, and a small blanket. 

I didn't see any English books, but you can bring your own books/laptop or brush up on your Korean with the huge selection of books, comics, and magazines. There are also a small selection of board games available. In terms of atmosphere, Nolsoop isn't as silent as a library (they had some good music playing) but it's certainly quieter and more serene than regular coffee shops.

Whether you have some work to do or you just need a place to hang out on rainy days (or, as in recent cases in Korea, dangerously dusty days), book cafes like Nolsoop are perfect.

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