One of the greatest parts of being in Seoul, in my opinion, is that there’s always something to do. It doesn’t matter what time of day (or night) it is, you can always find something that’ll match your mood. So after a long week of finals, my friend and I decided that we needed to do something fun and relaxing after our last exam- even if it was late in the evening.
Tucked away in the labyrinth of side streets surrounding the district of Sinchon, sits a little place called “My Secret Mate.” Even though the name is a bit misleading, this place is actually a cozy little puzzle café. It’s perfect for sitting around for hours, just putting together puzzles while sipping coffee.
After ordering your drink (and dessert if you feel like it), you can choose the puzzle you’d like to do. With the purchase of a drink, there is a rack of small puzzles to choose from for free. If you want to do bigger puzzles, I think you have to pay extra or buy the puzzle.
Like many buildings in Korea, the café was poorly insulated. In the middle of December on a cold night, the café felt rather chilly. Though, the café offered blankets which helped (and added to the cozy feel of the café).
Just after starting the first puzzle, our drinks came out. My friend ordered their drip coffee, which she said tasted like “real” coffee. I ordered some tea which came out- already steeping- in this cute teapot.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I did a puzzle but it was a lot of fun! The best part is that you don’t even have to put the puzzle away. You’re given a brown board to assemble the puzzles on and, when you finish, one of the café workers comes around and puts the puzzle away for you.
My friend and I ended up finishing 3 puzzles in about 1.5 hours. I’m not sure if there’s a limit to the number of puzzles you can do or how long you can stay there but we never felt rushed.
Student and Traveler Tips
Like any themed café in South Korea, the drinks can be on the pricier side. Remember that you’re paying for the atmosphere- specifically puzzles in this case.
You’ll also be able to see the relationship phenomenon in Korea at “My Secret Mate”. Unlike other cafes where there’s a healthy mix of couples, friends, and students studying, there were only couples at this café. My friend and I were the only non-couple in the café and we were there for a while. It didn’t hinder our experience, it’s just a unique part of the Korean culture.
57 Yonsei-ro 4-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Have you ever been to a puzzle café or any other themed café?
Do you enjoy themed cafes or do you prefer normal cafes?