I went to Hongdae twice this week. Once by myself during the day to scope out some cafes on the street where Coffee Prince is and again with my friend Sunny for dinner. This is definitely one of my favorite areas to eat and play, partly because it's got such a college town feel (with Hong-ik University nearby) plus really good places to hole yourself away. I used to enjoy going here at night to get smashed with my friends, but now I tend to avoid this place at night because there's just so many times you can be hassled by the bbi-kki's before you want to pull off your earrings and get into fight stance.
My new favorite cafe is Alice & Dorothy, located off an alley near Quattro. I think it's relatively new because it's got that new paint smell. The decor is a simple mix of wooden minimalism and vintage, with references to Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. They have a menu of coffee (hand drip, iced or hot) and tea which is exactly how I like my cafes. What's with this sudden onslaught of dessert options with tempting calories? There's a plethora of cafes in Seoul with too much concentration on mediocre waffles/cakes/cookies and not enough focus on brewing a good, dark blend of coffee. It's nice to see that Alice & Dorothy has their priorities straight. Also, drink 8 cups and get your 9th free.
How to get there: Hongdae subway stop on line no. 2, exit #4 and make a right at the Seven Springs restaurant. Walk straight until you hit a T-intersection, then go left. Make a right into the alley with Hong-ik Saeng Gogi on the corner. (You're going to be walking on the street where Coffee Prince Cafe is located.) Make a right onto the second alley. Alice & Dorothy should be on your right, across from Quattro.
Last night, Sunny and I were in search of Reggae Chicken only to discover that it's since left the area. It seems like the whole building got up and disappeared as all that was left in its spot was a gigantic dirt hole. So, we started looking for an alternative and stumbled upon Flying Chicken, which was on the 2nd floor of a nearby building, close to Lazy Mama's Pie. The handwritten menu and retro charm drew me in, as well as the soundtrack - probably the only place in Seoul where I heard them play The Doors and Nirvana on the same mix. It's a nice, quiet place to enjoy a nicely done BBQ chicken while enjoying a cold one. If you're feeling adventurous and in the mood for spice, try their cheese covered spicy chicken.
How to get there: Sang-soo subway stop on line no. 2, exit #1. The cafe At Corner should be on your right. Walk down the street until you see Vinyl (a bar that serves its drinks in plastic bags). Take the steps that are on the left of Vinyl. Flying Chicken is on the 2nd floor.