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Seongsu 'jazz kissa' Kataomoi finds right blend of music, cocktails

June 9, 2024 - 09:52 By Kim Da-sol
Inside Kataomoi (Kataomoi)

Western Seoul's district of Seongsu-dong sees new restaurants and bars open every week. The area undoubtedly boasts one of the most vibrant and unique nightlife scenes in Seoul.

Located in a small alley close to Ttukseom Station on Subway Line No. 2, Kataomoi mimics a "jazz kissa" -- niche Japanese cafes stocked with whisky, vinyl and high-end audio systems.

Jang Yoon-su, owner of Kataomoi, opened the place last year after quitting his 12-year career as an office worker at a local company. Kataomoi means to have a crush in Japanese. It is not related to the theme of his bar -- it was just part of the lyrics of the song he listened to in the morning he decided on the name.

While many jazz kissa do not sell alcohol, with menus based on tea or coffee, the one thing that they share is that they play jazz music.

Walking into the cozy fourth-floor bar-cafe, guests are greeted by shelves of jazz LPs, along with the pleasurable sound of music -- most likely jazz from the from 1950s or 1960s. Kataomoi has around a dozen seats, six of them arranged around the open kitchen bar. Only basic and light snacks such as popcorn or nuts are available.

Interior of Jazz kissa Kataomoi (Kataomoi)

Kataomoi looks out to a scenic view of Seongsu-dong. The zen-style interior is decorated in a wooden tone with tall, potted plants creating a natural and comfortable mood.

From Antonio Carlos Jobim to Ryuichi Sakamoto, Daft Punk, Stan Getz and Bill Evans, Kataomoi’s selection of music covers a diverse range. Arundel speakers from Tannoy deliver realistic and vivid sounds to which visitors can enjoy their drinks.

While the menu can be viewed by scanning the QR code printed on the coaster, the drinks are as diverse as the music played -- beer, Scotch whisky, gin, wine, Champagne, coffee and tea are available. Under each item, Jang has left recommendation notes.

Kataomoi is open every day from 2 p.m. until midnight. Find out more on its Instagram at @bar.kataomoi. It is located at Wangsimni-ro 4-gil, 26-7, Seongdong-gu, Seoul.

Gin tonic at Kataomoi (Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald)