Gongbech in Jeju: Chic Cafe Slash Gallery of BTS Suga’s Brother

Gongbech Bakery Café is located in the northeast part of Jeju Island, and along the coast. One of the many, many coffee shops you can find along the coast of Jeju. It is also in an in-the-middle-of-nowhere sort. Its location is remote and solitary.

Actually, I really came here to pick up BTS breadcrumbs. Gongbech is the café of the brother of Yoongi/Suga, and I’m sure many of the customers are aware too. I even overheard a girl and her mom (Koreans), and I guess the girl told her mom about the fact and her mom went—“Oh, the boys who sang fuh-yaAaAah?” LOL

The cafe’s minimalistic architecture and design stand out. From the road, it gives an illusion that it’s a simple rectangular café with no tables and chairs. I was even hesitant to go in at first. I wasn’t sure if it was the right place because, from the road outside, it looked empty and had few signs that indicate it’s a café. My first impression was it was probably a workshop place. Beside the “rectangular café” are a parking lot and an old abandoned stone building (which I would later discover is a part of Gongbech).

A spacious parking lot next to the “rectangular cafe”

When you step into the café, you’ll find stairs that lead to a lower-ground floor, which also then leads to the rocky beach. And then, when you step out onto the beach, you’ll get to see the entirety of Gongbech: two chic buildings with big windows facing the sea, contrasted by two abandoned stone buildings that have been turned into exhibition galleries.

View of the entire Gongbech Cafe from the front beach not visible from the main road.

One gallery has a nature theme, while the other has some kind of modern installation, which is a famous pictorial spot among young visitors.

The modern space. Can you see the art installation? The center stairs lead to an open platform with a view of the ocean. A popular photo opp spot.

The main café itself complements the artistic theme. The lower-ground level is the main café area where customers hang out—it has a classy art gallery vibe and the ocean is its permanent exhibition. There are no tables, just a long winding red bench, which itself is like minimalist installation art. You sit here with your coffee beside you and enjoy nature’s art through the glass walls.

Communal appreciation of coffee, the ocean, and companions.
Very simple, minimalistic yet tasteful lounging area.

Even the washrooms have views!

Can I have my drink here?

The café counter and pastry area (on the ground floor, where the main entrance is) features a trace of homage to Jeju’s local fishery industry—fishing nets intertwined with pretty light fixtures, with the backdrop of the ocean.

Impressive incorporation of the fishing nets.
Condensed Milk Latte (7,000 KRW) + Injeolmi Toast (3,500 KRW)

The perfect coffee spot is right here!

Not inside, not behind a window, not under a roof. Just here—outside, on a rock, under the Jeju sky.

Being located along the coast right next to the ocean, Gongbech has sort of annexed the front beach so it’s like part of the café—the “al fresco” area if you will. I broke away from the café crowd (which is small) to settle right at the front of the beach. And it is the best café spot I ever had!

I was the only one there, and it was so much more peaceful and solitary. I brought my coffee cup and sat on a rock close to the water. I could directly face the ocean and meet the breeze. I could watch a fishing native close by.

If you go to Gongbech and follow what I did—or to any similar café with such privilege to be so close to nature—DO NOT FORGET TO BRING YOUR CUP BACK WITH YOU AND THROW IT PROPERLY. Gongbech has a very organized disposal corner where you can throw any leftover coffee or food and stack your cup along with other empty used cups.

 

 

Some fun trivia!

Gongbech may be attracting a lot of BTS fans, but it really has nothing to do with BTS except for the fact that the owner is Suga’s brother. Suga’s real name is Min Yoongi. Gongbech is owned by his big brother, Min Geum-Jae, who is about four years older than Yoongi.

The opening day on May 5, 2019 was ushered in by the performances of Korean music artists Dynamic Duo, Zion.T, Heize, and Car the Garden.

The name of the café, although romanized as “Gongbech,” is actually a Korean word “Gongbaek” (공백) that means “a blank or empty space.” Very apt for the concept—because the place is largely minimalistic. Even the art installations, despite being in a large space are very minimal. So you don’t lose that sense of an empty place, a blank slate where you have space for your own delicacy.

The bus stop and the amiable road near Gongbech.

Gongbech is located at Dongbok-ro 83, Gujwa-eup, Jejusi, Jeju.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s