Harry Potter Cafe in Seoul

Like many others, I was very excited about the arrival of King’s Cross 943, a Harry Potter themed cafe to open up in Seoul. To be honest, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I knew it probably wasn’t going to be a real Harry Potter cafe, due to copyright laws and such, but on the other hand, I was hearing a lot of hype, so I was definitely invested in seeing what it was really all about.

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Like most things in Korea, be prepared to wait, especially considering that it’s a relatively new establishment. The hype is on, and the line for us just to enter the door was about 30 minutes long. It’s okay, though, as we expected it. All things considered, tt wasn’t that bad of a line. Being here for 3.5 years, and I’m almost immune to large crowds and line coils. Seeing as it is winter, you might want to pick the warmest day of the week or weekend (if that’s the only free time you have) as you will be waiting outside with no heater in sight. Lucky for us, it wasn’t that cold when we went.

When it’s finally your turn (oh yay!). you enter into an instagrammable photo-op room. Newsflash: the cafe is drowning in instagrammable locales, and it was definitely quite fun. But more on that later. I was under the impression that you waited outside for this room’s purpose. Because you can really do a whole photoshoot in the first room, the staff probably didn’t want too many people crowding around waiting to do the same thing. Fair enough, it is quite cute.

Is it Harry Potter like? Um…somewhat? Maybe I’m being generous? There were the wand boxes and some of the books displayed. I can’t emphasize this enough: if you are going for an authentic Harry Potter experience, you will be disappointed. Take this cafe with a grain of salt and just roll with it? The first couple rooms are cool for posing in.

As for the drinks, it was pretty standard. I felt they could have really gotten more creative here, perhaps with some knockoff butterbeer or just cuter little wizardy shaped baked goods, but my latte was okay. And honestly? I paid 7,000 won for a fun afternoon with friends. Could I have perhaps gone somewhere else with them for the same price and a much shorter wait? Sure, but FWIW, I had a blast.

Bonus: There is a bar downstairs, but I didn’t go. We got there in the afternoon, and we didn’t want to stick around inside for another hour until it opened. Waiting in the line once seemed to be enough. I am very curious to hear how it is, though.

Personally, my favorite part was actually once you went upstairs. I think the different themed floors were a cool touch. I was a little surprised that the pictures in the hallway didn’t move or anything though. I wonder why that is? They could have done a lot more with the hallways.

The good news is that while it takes a bit just to enter the cafe itself, there is definitely no shortage of seating available, although you might have to go up a floor or two to find something. I found myself pleasantly surprised at how the rooms were different and how I didn’t have to squeeze by to find a decent spot. Here’s a couple of the setups.

When you get to the top floor (right), you can sit on the “beds”, and in the middle is a giant photo-op. It’s probably different now, as I went right before Christmas, but I thought the decorated tree and assorted props were cute. There were 4 robes, some wands, and patterned scarves. Protip: you should probably wear your own if you don’t want to wait for the costume (but you still would have had to wait for the setup).

I am mildly embarrassed to report that one friend and I waited a full hour for this opportunity. I have to admit, though, it was good camaraderie. We made friends with the people behind us, and we took turns photographing each other. Also, most everything in Korea is filled with people and has some kind of line somewhere, so you get used to it after awhile. No one in particular was hogging the set or props. Would I do it again? I’m not sure, but it was a fun afternoon with good people.

Address: 417 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul (Near the Trick Eye Museum. I was able to walk there easily from getting out of Hongik University Exit 9.)

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