Cafe Neulbo in Seoul

Aesthetic cafes in Korea are a dime a dozen, yet every once in a while, we find something that tickles our fancy. One such example is Cafe Neulbo, which allows you to make your own shrink plastic keychain as part of their cafe experience. 

Make your own keychain from scratch

ades on a tray that doubles as palette
Image credit: @d_kkong_

For just KRW7,000 (~USD5.48), you will be provided with a sheet of heat shrink plastic and a tray of art supplies including watercolour paint, colour pencils, and coloured markers.

drawing of ducks on transfer paper and photo print of the same drawing
Traced design from the cafe’s template.
Image credit: @segenie_

You can either free-hand their drawing or trace over the templates provided by the cafe.

coloured keychain done by a customer
Image adapted from: @leejjieung

After completing your artwork on a piece of shrink plastic, cut out your design using the scissors provided by the cafe.

Pro tip: punch a hole in the plastic sheet if you want to attach a keyring to the finished product.

baking a shrink plastic keychain
Video adapted from: @alabamasavannah

The employees at the cafe will then place your heat shrink plastic sheet in an oven for 20 to 30 seconds to bake it. The shrink plastic will then, well, shrink and become hard, forming the final product.

finished keychain hanging on coloured pencils
Image credit: @_he_won_

After leaving the finished product to air dry, you can then choose to affix a keyring to it.

photo print and drawing on transfer paper
Image credit: @alabamasavannah

If you can’t freehand a design but aren’t satisfied with the templates provided by the cafe, you can print out your chosen pictures or designs to trace over for an extra KRW1,200 (~USD0.94)

An abundance of sloths all around & inside the cafe

“Neulbo” in Korean means “sloth” and the general theme of the cafe revolves around the slow-moving animal.

sloth signboard outside the cafe
Image adapted from: @lsyoung_v

The entrance of the cafe can easily be spotted thanks to its distinctive sloth-shaped store signage.

sloth statues outside of the cafe
Image credit: @dawn._.lee

A teal-coloured sloth statue also greets customers before they enter the cafe.

painted mirror outside the cafe
Image credit: @vaniangelz

There is also a painted mirror with a sloth design outside the cafe, and it is a popular photo zone for many customers.

corner of the interior of the cafe with decorations
Image credit: @dawn._.lee

The sloth motif continues inside the cafe – just look at this adorable sloth doll hanging from a curtain.

white and teal interior of cafe
Image adapted from: @gimmesunny

The atmosphere of the cafe is cosy and comfortable, and the various drawings and photos put up around the place emphasises that artistic expression is encouraged.

menu outside the cafe with drawings of the menu items
Image credit: @kikisunjoung

Even the icons on the menu are drawn and coloured by hand, showing the cafe’s interest in art. 

A variety of beverages on the menu

drinks with tray that doubles as a palette
Image credit: @veronicadubrova

Like most cafes, Cafe Neulbo sells an assortment of drinks such as coffee, fruit sodas, and fruit yoghurt drinks. These beverages range from KRW4,500-6,500 (~USD3.54-5.12).

Those looking for something more substantial to fill their stomachs can order the pound cake (KRW3,500, ~USD2.75) or a chocolate cream puff (KRW4,000, ~USD3.15).

Getting to Cafe Neulbo

Cafe Neulbo is the perfect place for adults who want to unwind and begin a new hobby, as well as families with young children who are just starting to express themselves creatively.

How to get there:

  • From Gajwa Station, go to Exit 4
  • Walk for about 94m to Moraenae Traditional Market, Gajwa Station stop. 
  • Then, take buses no. N75, 761, 721, 740, 270, or 753 and alight at Guseongsan Hall stop. 
  • Walk for around 3 minutes and you will reach Cafe Neulbo. 

Tip: Use Naver Map to navigate your way as Google Maps does not work well in South Korea.

Address: 2F, 26 Donggyo-ro 51an-gil, Mapo-gu
Opening hours: Wed – Fri, 2PM-10PM | Sat – Sun, 1PM-9PM (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)
Telephone: 02-337-0011

Also check out: 

Cover image adapted from: @g__zoon, @d_kkong_ and @dawn._.lee

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