Cafés in Jeju – Gongbech: The Café Owned by Suga’s Brother?

Cafés in Jeju – Gongbech: The Café Owned by Suga’s Brother?


The Island of Jeju is a coveted vacation destination in South Korea and Asia. With scenic beaches and aesthetic cafés dotted all around the island, it is one of the most relaxing places you can visit in South Korea. With particular focus on the cafés in Jeju, it’s almost like the owners in this province have an entirely new standard to what the café experience should be like.

It is not just a place to eat and hang out with friends in this holiday spot. Looking at Min Geum-Jae, who is the brother of Lead rapper of BTS; Suga - his café Gongbech certainly not only meets these standards but also exceeds them.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Deemed as a Bakery Café, Gongbech is located on the northeast coast area of Jeju, sitting right on the beach where the view of the sea greets you from both inside and out. Upon first glance, the café from its exterior looks quite minimalistic and unremarkable in a way that it blends into its surroundings. But when you step inside, it’s a starkly different experience.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The inside is complemented by glass walls and a big open space. There are various foliage features and trees displayed in an almost gallery-like fashion as you roam the halls and rooms. The pebbles and grey stones add to the coastal aesthetic and create a calming ambiance.

Even though you are stepping into a building, the space doesn’t feel any less part of the beach than the actual beach. The vibe blends with the aesthetics very well.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The huge concrete landscape is simple and complimentary to the surroundings, which makes this a highly coveted spot in the north part of Jeju. People can move about more freely, than other places because the establishment maximizes on space without sacrificing the surrounding landscape.

With the popularity of the café exploding on social media, the location has become a source for artistic inspiration. The building in its artistic foundations, is even called a building of architecture.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The fact that the building was preserved from the original warehouses that were built on the coast decades ago. In fact, the name Gongbech (공백 in Korean) means ‘’blank space’’ which certainly set the precedent of wiping the slate clean and building on what was there before. The true word of sustainability and preservation. Jeju’s history still echoes in the modernity of this new establishment, which opened in 2019.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

As you step inside, the stairs that lead to a lower-ground floor and a rocky beach is what first greets you. You get to enjoy the complete panoramic view of Gongbech once you step onto the beach. Facing the sea through big floor-ceiling windows are two chic buildings, which is contrasted by two abandoned stone buildings.

The stone buildings are what is being used for the nature-foliage and modern art-piece installations and the space acts in the same way as exhibition galleries do.  

The main café follows a similar artistic theme, with the lower ground floor having a classy art gallery atmosphere with gorgeous views out onto its permanent oceanic exhibition. The seating structure is also quite unique, as there are no individual tables or spaces; just a long-winding red bench that looks like an art installation in and of itself.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The café counter pays homage to Jeju’s fishing industry by displaying fishing nets intertwined with light fixtures to give that old-seaman rustic feel, which obviously look spectacular with the perpetual view of the sea behind it.

And if the beauty of this place couldn’t get any better, there’s even a skylight that lets in the sun all hours of the day on the roof, which provides a warm glow to the interior design and certainly makes you feel warm and golden. Perfect for taking pictures. It’s sure to add to the art and entertainment scene present in Jeju and other cafés in Jeju alike. Another stop for café hopping.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The café itself, which markets itself as a bakery, serves a wide selection of breads, from traditional, to sweet and with foreign influences too. The pastries available, which are baked fresh on-site, are delectable German and Italian inspired treats.

The menu also consists of regular coffee choices, as well as specials, that you can pair with a fresh bagel or accompany with a wide range of cupcakes to curb your sweet tooth. The prices at Gongbech are also competitive, with nothing on the menu costing more than 10,000₩.

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So, if you find yourself in Jeju, and would like to explore the northeast coastline a little more intimately, stop off for a couple of hours at Gongbech, to experience the lush landscapes, delicious foods, serene vibes and appreciate the artistry of this beautiful café. There are plenty of cafés in Jeju, but this one is definitely one to put on your bucket list to visit.

See you there!

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Author: Anya

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