Once upon a time, expat revelry (
not to be confused with L’revelry) revolved mostly around Haeundae Beach and the famously-wealthy district surrounding it. Today, it remains a popular destination for foreigners, offering many varieties of food and drink, both Korean and western-owned-and-designed (as well as a dizzying multitude of coffee shops. Soon, soon). Not to mention Burger King.
But, in recent years districts such as
Gwangan have gained traction. While Gwangan’s beach has been quite popular for a while, relatively few nighttime options (at least for the expat crowd) tended to send many off to other areas like Haeundae and the Kyungsung University area, for more opportunities to drain one’s wallet well into the wee hours. Today, both daytime and nighttime adventures can be had all along this strip of commerce running from one end of the beach to the other, and beyond.
So much to see and do requires so, so much coffee.
Caffe Pascucci is an Italian coffee shop chain. However, its dominating presence appears to be in east Asia. Fun fact: I think they still give your second cup for free if you’re having them inside the cafe. At least, that’s what they were doing a year ago at a location in Seomyeon, Busan. From Wikipedia: Caffè Pascucci is an Italian coffeehouse chain, with branches in Greenland, the U.S.A., South Korea, Egypt, and Japan. …The locations in South Korea are run by SPC Group…SPC Group (hangul:SPC 그룹) is a large South Korean chaebol (conglomerate), producing food and confectionery products and headquartered in Seoul…SPC Group is one of the oldest brands in the confectionery and bakery industry in Korea.
Hands Coffee, based in Daegu. My first encounter with what might be a Christian-owned company (if the “hands of God” stuff on the cups is any indication) was in the Kyungsung University area of Busan. Located near the KSU subway exit and next to a Starbucks, I actually preferred Hands’ warm, wooden interior to Starbucks’ predictable patterns. I still, however, prefer Starbucks coffee (note: that Hands location is still in business as of this writing).
Coffeesmith. I cannot share much about this coffee chain except to say I used one of their bathrooms once. It might have been at this location, although I believe there is another location near Busan Station.
Cafe Nada is in a unique location, nestled just off the Gwangan strip and amidst its famous fish markets (and equally famous, somewhat sketchy miniature amusement park). It has grown popular among both Koreans and expats, and even recently hosted an arts show that had attendees spilling out onto the street. Sadly, it was closed on the Sunday Wart and I tried to go and see the arts on display without the stress of the crowds.
Babeans Coffee is located just a little beyond the Gwanganli Beach strip. I have never been to any locations (I am pretty sure I saw another location in Centum City, Busan), but I am in love with the name. It just begs to be said in a faux Brooklyn accent. “Babeans! Babeans! Fuhgeddaboutit!”