• Updated : 2019.5.23 목 16:33
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Dongmyeong-dong: Must-see Place in Gwangju[광주의 문화거리]동명동 카페골목
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승인 2015.03.09  10:28:51
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     Are you fed up with same café and same mood? And do you need the feeling of something new? If you do, there is a special spot for you. It is the Dongmyeong-dong Café Street. Dongmyeong-dong used to be one of the richest regions in Gwangju before the Provincial Government offices moved to Muan. As the Asian Cultural Complex is built up, the region becomes revitalized as an attractive café place. This article will introduce four cafés that might be differentiated from other cafés and get your attention. Let us visit the places with this Reporter.

▲ Hero figures at Play Coffee

Unique Theme Cafés: Play Coffee & Kunst Lounge
     A red sign and a big robot with a wind fan catches people’s eyes and calls them to enter Café Play Coffee, which has lots of small and big toys, from Gundam robots to animal figures. Hero figures remind of the movie “Avengers” and absent-mind faced cats are sitting in a row. Several bookshelves are fully filled with little toys. And a big yellow Gundam robot is standing at the counter. When you visit this café, a fluffy big dog named ‘Milk’ will also welcome you. The owner of the café said the word ‘play’ means far more active and extensive and includes enjoyment from drinking coffee with other people. For the ‘play’, the café offers some lectures about coffee and their coffee making equipment to help people roasting their coffee beans by themselves. Gundam robots and other figures that he has gathered from his childhood harmonize with the owner’s philosophy in a word ‘play’ and fit well into the place. The toys he decorated the café interior can create a synergy effect with customers and have a unique atmosphere.
     If you want to find taste of Germany in Gwangju, you can visit Kunst Lounge which is a café and restaurant. This café sells German food and mainly offers brunch, drinks, and alcoholic beverages. In the case of Europeans, they can choose whatever they want to eat regardless of what other people eat. So if someone wants a meal, he can eat his meal and if others just want coffee, they can drink coffee. Most Korean people think sausage and beer is just all for German food. It is true that German sausage and beer is famous, but there are many more healthy German foods to taste. German food usually takes a long time to cook. Schweinshaxe as an example, made out of a pig’s leg, takes 9 hours to be served. Also, Kunst Lounge’s popular menu is German Brunch which is called a Farmer’s Breakfast. The brunch is rich and provided plentifully with diverse foods and the reason for this is because usually farmers work very much. German staples are potatoes and bread, their breakfast also consists of baked potatoes and delicious bread to eat.

▲ Stoa Urbana has an uniqure structure.

Cafés as Cultural Meeting Places: Stoa Urbana & Sosohan Punggyeong
     The container box building with green grass garden shows the unique characteristics of Stoa Urbana. The owner said that the architecture of the café borrowed the motif from Byeongsan Seowon which is a Confucian Academy located in Andong. Stoa Urbana considers both indoor places and outdoors important and breaks down the boundary between outside and inside by using glass. The name ‘Stoa’ came from a Greek word ‘stoa’ which means a certain type of ancient Greek architecture. The Greeks assemble at the Agora on a large scale for public debates such political, economic and social matters. And nearby there are stoae to eat, drink and debate in more personal and smaller size. Like a stoa in Greece, Stoa Urbana wants to be a free and open place to drink, talk and enjoy any kind of art. The café exhibits artist’s works and invites artists and also welcomes busking bands or even students. The owner said, “I do not want that artists to think performing here will be difficult. They might make mistakes, but customers do not think of the mistakes and just enjoy what they see, hear and feel. Usually people are far from enjoying art because they do not get a chance to experience it. Stoa Urbana links people with art. When you visit the place, you can enjoy coffee with a fine view and various forms of art.
     Sosohan Punggyeong is a home-like café with a cozy and comfortable mood. It is small but has everything its customers need. When you enter the café, at first you will notice lots of books on the shelves. With book lending to customers, it offers various educational programs such as humanities lectures and book clubs. There are also Greek and Roman mythology in the history of western art, survival French, and drawing classes operated by talent donations. Some programs are not open due to lack of participants. However, the café tries to hold seminars, meetings and lectures. The owner said, “I want to offer the place where people can visit anytime and feel comfortable.” If you visit this café, you can enjoy lots of small musical concerts and exhibitions as well.

For Better Dongmyeong-dong
     On the Dongmyeong-dong Street, people can have various experiences and views. There are many things to look around along with the different cafés. Besides, Pureungil Park nearby the street is a nice place to hang around with a coffee. Wall paintings and trees make you feel peaceful. The Golmokgil Festival and the other programs offered at Sansu Library and Jungang Library are also good cultural opportunities. But those are not enough! Through many creative ideas, Dongmyeong-dong authorities and residents should make its name-brand. The road environment of the street also needs to be improved. Due to a lack of parking spots, cars are parked at the sides of the roads, and it makes for a traffic problem that has inconvenienced visitors. However, the Café Street in Dongmyeong-dong must be the place to make people have cultural experiences.

By Jeon Hyun-jeong, Tribune Reporter

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