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Feel the 70’s and the 80’s Vibe in Jeonju: Samyang Dabang and LP Café Sori

 

There are a variety of things to see in Jeonju. Yes, you’ve heard of Jeonju Hanok Village, but you might also want to discover the lotus lake in Deokjin Park, Jeonju Zoo, Gaekridan-gil Street, and Ajung Lake. You can also enjoy a night out near Jeonbuk National University.

Also, the Jeonju Castle, which had been lost since the Imperial Japanese occupation period, is being unearthed since earlier this year. Hopefully we’ll be able to witness the restored Jeonju Castle in the near future.

On the site of the Jeonju Castle are the Gyeonggijeon Shrine, Jeolla Gamyoung (the Joseon Dynasty Governor’s Residence), Gaeksa (the Joseon Dynasty Guesthouse), Nambu Market, the Movie Street, and Dongmun Art Street.

Also within the site are many old cafés and bars that remind the visitors of the 70’s and the 80’s. Such venues are popular to both young and old patrons. Today I’ll visit two of them: Samyang Dabang and LP Café Sori.

Samyang Dabang Café

Walk along the Gyeonggijeon Shine’s stone wall towards Dongmun, and you’ll arrive at Dongmun Art Street.

The street has many old businesses, including Waengi Kongnamul Gukbap (bean sprouts soup with rice) and Jeonil Gabo (famous for Jeonju’s ‘corner store beer’ culture). Culture and food meet in the Dongmun district.

Samyang Dabang is the oldest ‘dabang’ (early 20th century teahouse or café) in Korea. It opened well before the 1950s, when the café culture started becoming popular. It’s been a cozy gathering venue for the locals since then. If you want to feel the old ‘dabang’ you should visit here.

At a first glance, it seems rather too modern. Yet, on the other side of the wall it’s a different story!

I travelled back in time! There’s only a wall separating the past and the present. The ‘old’ section is equipped with the old furniture and decorations of the original ‘dabang’.

This is like witnessing the past and the present at once!

In every corner of the ‘dabang’, I see old stuffs. Back in the days, Samyang Dabang was the favorite gathering place of the local artists and intellectuals. The scent of good coffee, smiles, heated discussions, and emotions floated in the air.

In 2013, just like many other old venues, Samyang Dabang faced difficulties continuing business. Then, the locals intervened to save the oldest ‘dabang’ in the country. So, Samyang Dabang is really meaningful to the locals.

The most popular beverage of Samyang Dabang is ‘Yetnal Coffee’ (literally, ‘old coffee’). It tastes like a good old sweet iced coffee made from a Korean coffee sachet. I was surprised that I emptied my glass rather quickly, but there’s one more place to visit.

Samyang Dabang
Address: Dongmungil 94, Wansangu, Jeonju
Contact: 063-231-2238
Opening hours: 08:30~00:00

LP Café Sori

Not far from Samyang Dabang, I came across a café with not-so-ordinary exterior.

These are all LP discs! And the white curtain? I entered.

I was greeted by the old music and the scent of coffee in the air. This is LP Sori Café. I find the uncountable number of the LP discs on the shelves quite interesting.

Looking at the owner’s collection of the old discs, I couldn’t help but wonder if I accidentally stepped into the 70’s or the 80’s.

LP Café Sori is also renowned for the hand drip coffee. Since I don’t know much about coffee, the owner recommended the beans. Upon order, the owner roasted, ground, and made the hand drip coffee in front of me.

The hand drip coffee came with cold water and glasses filled with ice, so that I can try different flavor. I chose the Guatemalan coffee and I loved it!

Also, the traditional Korean teas, brewed by the owner, are also popular at LP Café Sori. Especially, ‘Ssanghwatang’ is a herbal tea brewed according to the old medicine book recipe.

I really enjoyed the rich flavor of the 13 medicinal ingredients of the Ssanghwatang. I also enjoyed eating nurungji (the crusty part of boiled rice) offered as the nibble.

 

LP Café Sori
Address: Hyunmu 2gil 13-7, Wansangu, Jeonju
Contact: 0507-1421-9802
Opening hours: 10:00~23:00 (closed on Sundays)

This autumn, why not visit the old town of Jeonju? It must be nice even if you’re alone, because you’ll probably stumble upon a local favorite café, store, or pub!

 

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  • mahesh jain

    wonderful retro look…
    what i like most is LP records… the grooves of records will produce music which will enchant the whole environment around… https://media1.giphy.com/media/3o6wrdmthNm9vxQnfO/giphy.gif https://media3.giphy.com/media/Ca9TNthVXlWms/giphy.gif

  • Jared Sandler

    The hand drip coffee and herbal ‘Ssanghwatang’ tradtional tea look splendid at LP Cafe Sori. A blast from the past indeed! Samyang Dabang Cafe represents Korea’s past and present all under one roof. Usually, a dabang only contains relics from the past, but Samyang Dabang Cafe offers both a modern atmosphere and nostalgic charms only separated by a wall. Intriguing concept that would be attractive to many different types of people, including foreign visitors! Specifically which types of intervening measures were taken by the local Jeonju citizens in 2013 so that Samyang Dabang Cafe could continue to operate?

  • Sameer Alam

    Old memories always the best part of life you can create memories then the past one but not like the past one . It always remains the best😍😍😍

    Samyang Dabang is amazing that kept memorable too since they will find old things and old vibe reminicing their old memories~~
    Heart of Korean traditions, stubborn conservatism and the fidelity and royalty of Korean Sunbi(classical scholar in Chosun Dynasty). Because of their belief, we could preserve some historical buildings and traditions. We all can feel the Korean preserved it old memories very safely No other country would have this.
    Samyang Dabang are antiques through which you can reminisce the past. The old matchboxes, telephones, calculators, and menus are on display.

  • Soontare Suntares

    I love the vibe of Samyang Dabang Café so much. It looks so cozy and warm. All decorations and furniture really make feel the vibe of 70’s. Like you’ve said, It feels like when we enter in this cafe, we travel back in time.

  • Jed Rattikal

    As someone who loves listening to the old songs, LP Café Sori is a must visit!
    The cup of Ssanghwatang looks so classy and cool!

  • Rea Aguinaldo

    One of the things I love about Korea is their cafe culture. So many interesting and unique themes and menu! These vintage cafes in Jeonju look so beautiful and eclectic~ I could stay for hours and just bask in the nostalgic vibes. Period dramas always feature these kinds of cafe and I’ve always wanted to visit one.

  • Triyandini Agashie

    Korean have many themes cafe and all is worth to visit, I will visit this old town in Jeonju to visit Samyang Dabang a d LP Cafe Sori. Samyang Dabang is Oldest Dabang in Korea so many good memories in this place and this Dabang so famous around local citizens. I’m so interest with old stuff that I can look in this Dabang. And second LP Cafe Sori is LP themed Cafe from the exterior full of LP and in inside they have so many LP collection too. Ssanghwatang herbal tea the recommended menu looks so healthy with traditional cup looks made by stone so uniquely and authentic. And the snack nurungji I think I will like it too~ I can’t wait to enjoy the cafe in Jeonju city

  • Natashaz Grangerz

    I love visiting cafes in Korea but this blog post is a whole new level for me! These themed cafes look so interesting. They are so unique and styles! I would like to try Ssanghwatang and nurungji. They are also suitable to the vibe of the cafe.

  • Woo Woo

    If I visit Jeonju, I will visit one of above places!

  • Melissa

    Wow! Love the old school vibes!

  • Rythem Hong

    I really like to visit the SAMYANG DABANG🔶️🔶️🔶️

    Maybe visiting Samyang Dabang with my parents will be memorable too since they will find old things and old vibe reminicing their old memories

    Heart of Korean traditions, stubborn conservatism and the fidelity and royalty of Korean Sunbi(classical scholar in Chosun Dynasty). Because of their belief, we could preserve some historical buildings and traditions. You can see many of the remains there, not like other places in Korea

  • Ruperdra Singh

    Samyang Dabang is the oldest surviving café in Korea. Open in 1952, the dark time in the middle of the Korean War, this place used to be the gathering place for the lost intellectuals, artists, and entertainers. The café is a witness to the turbulent history of modern Korea.

    The place is amazing for getting the old vibes of Korea. Its Faces many difficulties in 2013 We almost lost Samyang Dabang in 2013, but thanks to the effort of the locals, the café was renewed in its original site. One can traverse between the modern and the past through this wall.

  • Ever Enrique Castillo Osorio

    I am always surprised by the beautiful designs that are in the cafes of Korea. Those in this post surprise me more and I’m glad to see that there is an opportunity to remember and feel a bit like old times!

  • Hayat Khan

    South Korea was a gritty, poverty-racked, unsophisticated nation that was one decade into an industrialization program that would lead to riches
    Samyang Dabang is the perfect place to feel the 70s and 80s korea. It the oldest surviving café in Korea. I wish I could be there soon.😍😍😍

  • Kriti Sana

    Dear, @Jeonjucity thank you for this amazing article it is the hidden gem of Jeonju.
    The vibes of 70s and 80s korea are really awesome it gives a mental relief to us and inner peace when we think about our culture and tradition.
    The world is changing rapidly i appreciate the Samyang dabang cafe to maintain the traditional vibes of korea 😍😍😍

  • Zubair Ali

    Ah! What a place it really get me into the old Korea . I never use the tube radio, I really want to have first experience using it in Samyang dabang! It will be so hard to find a functioning tube radio in these day! the old photographs and other relics of the café were on display. Korean are really great that they preserved their traditional. 🤗🤗🤗🤗

  • Kamran Akmal

    beautiful place , thank you for the recommendation

  • Kalesha Mech

    i just love the suggestions, awesome blog posts, thank you