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[Well-curated] Take time out for tea, enjoy wine at a secret den or solve your way out of an escape room

March 11, 2022 - 09:01 By Korea Herald
Poster of special exhibition, “Teatime and Coffee Break” (The Korea Foundation)
The culture of daily teatime with guests and acquaintances is prevalent in most ASEAN countries. Many artists have been inspired by the soothing ritual that offers a moment of quiet contemplation and an opportunity to recharge.

A special exhibition, “Teatime and Coffee Break,” is being held at ASEAN Culture House’s Exhibition Gallery in Haeundae, Busan. The exhibition centers around three concepts -- coffee, tea and moments of pause. 

Park Hwa-young’s four-channel video installation art (The Korea Foundation)
The exhibition features some 40 works by three contemporary Koreans artists -- Beak Jung-ki, Lee Chang-won and Park Hwa-young -- themed around the act of making and drinking coffee and tea.

Photographer Baek’s landscape photos are printed using natural pigments extracted from tea leaves.

Lee used tea leaves and powdered coffee in her drawings and paintings to portray historical events that Korea and ASEAN share. Installation artist Park’s four-channel video art shows traces of coffee leftover in a cup.

After viewing the show, take part in teatime hosted by designer groups GoWaSeo and Mujindongsa that explains how coffee and tea in ASEAN countries are made and served.

The exhibition will run through June 19. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free.

Secret space with a view
People enjoy wine at My Secret Den in Jung-gu, Seoul. (My Secret Den)
There are days when you head out to read a book and spend some quiet time on your own, but find that coffee shops are too noisy and crowded, especially on the weekends.

My Secret Den may be just what you are looking for.

Located at the entrance of Deoksugung doldam-gil, which refers to the path that runs along the stone wall of the Joseon period royal palace in Jeong-dong, Seoul, My Secret Den is a quiet space by day and wine bar by night.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, the space functions as a reading or working nook.

A woman reads while enjoying wine at My Secret Den in Jung-gu, Seoul. (My Secret Den)
Only people who receive passwords by booking in advance via the online platform Naver can enter the unmanned facility. You can reserve seats for up to three people.

But remember that you cannot talk loudly with your companions here. 

Books curated for office workers seeking new inspiration are displayed on the shelves and the selection changes regularly.

The space also has a great spot for enjoying the view of Deoksugung doldam-gil and people watching through the big windows.

A woman reads while enjoying wine at My Secret Den in Jung-gu, Seoul. (My Secret Den)
After 6 p.m. the place turns into a wine bar with staff on hand.

Since My Secret Den does not have a kitchen, visitors can bring in food or have food delivered to the place and pay extra for using the dishes and cutlery on site.

You can also ask the staff for recommendations of nearby restaurants delivering food that pair well with the wines sold at the bar.

During the day, classical music fills the space to help visitors concentrate on reading and getting their work done. In the evening, the music playlist changes depending on the mood and the weather.

Escape rooms at Yongsan CGV
Mission Break at the CGV Yongsan branch in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul (CGV)
If watching a movie is not enough entertainment, challenge yourself with the missions in escape rooms based on hit Korean TV dramas and variety shows at the CGV Yongsan branch in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul.

Yongsan CGV is a favorite among many Korean movie fans as it offers the largest IMAX screen experience and screens a variety of films, including independent films.

But escape room Mission Break and VR-experience zone V Busters are what make the Yongsan branch of the nationwide multiplex special.

Though V Busters has temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mission Break remains open.

A minimum of two and maximum of five can play. The rooms have unique themes adapted from various TV drama series and variety shows, including tvN’s crime series “Signal” and reality show “New Journey to the West.”

Players have to escape the room and a souvenir photo can be taken if the missions are completed within 60 minutes.

If you are not a big fan of crime and thrillers, others such as “The Sealed Wizard: The Greatest Wizard” and romance-themed game “The Book Reader” are also available.

Tickets are priced at 22,000 won and the escape room operates from noon to 11:00 p.m. and from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and weekends, respectively.

Reservations are required for Mission Break and can be made via CGV’s website or mobile application.