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Youngsang Cafe and Gallery

There’s a neat little place in Namgu, that might be of interest to anyone who is in to art, photography or especially cameras. The place is called Youngsang Cafe (영상카페). It’s been around since 2006 and has seen many alterations to its décor and menu, but there are some constants which make this place absolutely worth visiting.

First, Youngsang offers a nice quiet place in which to enjoy a cup of tea and read a book or maybe do some writing. The interior was originally done in an aesthetic reminiscent of a studio space, with an all black and white motif, but the lovely woman who runs the cafe has added bits of color here and there over the years, giving the space a more homey feeling. The seating comes in the form of big, soft, high-backed chairs that are much more comfortable than the average coffee shop’s chairs. A mix of classical, jazz and easy listening adds to the relaxed, almost sleepy, atmosphere.

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Secondly, for those interested in art, Youngsang boasts a small gallery adjacent to the main cafe area. Each week a new local artist or photographer exhibits their pieces. There’s almost always something interesting featured there. The owner doesn’t charge a fee to display work there, but instead takes a 10% commission from anything that’s sold while it’s hanging in the gallery. This has made Youngsang gallery very popular among Ulsan artists, meaning that if you should wish to have an exhibition of your own photography or paintings there, then you have to book the space far in advance; around 4 months or so.

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The final and most interesting aspect to this cafe is that which sets it apart from any other cafe in Ulsan and probably even Korea: the camera collection. This collection, which is impressive, holds around 200 cameras, all from the pre-digital era. There’s everything from spy cameras made to look like cigarette packs to early 20th century studio cameras. If you’re a cameraphile or even moderately interested in cameras you should definitely check it out. It’s amazing.

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If, after perusing the camera collection you happen to find yourself hungry, take a look at the menu. It features two dishes; a pizza salad and focaccia bread au gratin, in addition to standard hof-style side dishes (안주), with sausage, chicken and salad. The ever ubiquitous patbingsu (팟빙수) is also available.

As for the drinks, there is a nice selection of teas, black or herbal, which are properly steeped, along with the standard coffee shop offerings of espresso drinks, smoothies and fresh fruit juices. I recommend getting some tea, hot or iced, as it is probably the best thing available and the best value for your money. You can also find beer, wine and cocktails on the menu.

Only about fifty percent of the menu has English translations and the owner and staff, as far as I know, don’t speak English, so if you can’t read Korean you might want to consider going with a Korean friend. Drinks range in price from 5,000 to 8,000 won and food from 9,000 to 19,000 won. I can’t speak as to the quality of the food or drinks here (other than the tea, which is good), so don’t go to Youngsang expecting anything delicious. Just go, order some tea and enjoy the cameras and art.

Youngsang cafe and gallery is located in Namgu, near KBS Hall, the Namgu Office and Pop Factory. If you walk north from the Namgu office on the street between it and KBS Hall, you will pass Pop Factory on your right. Keep walking until you get to a small roundabout. Youngsang is across the street on the second floor above a classical instrument shop. Here is a link to a map.

For more info (if you read Korean) click here.

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