Upon hearing that Dave and I went to the Hello Kitty Cafe, one of our friends suggested that we go to the Charlie Brown Cafe as well. So yesterday, Dave and I looked up the directions to the cafe and got on a bus headed to Hongdae. The directions we had said to get out of exit 5 of the Hongik University subway station. We usually take the bus to exit 9, so we went down into the subway to find exit 5.
Unfortunately for us, the directions we had were a little outdated. In our defense, I looked at multiple websites to confirm we had the correct directions and none of them mentioned an exit different from exit 5. The Airport Railroad also stops at the Hongik University Station and appears to be a convenient new addition, unless you are looking for exit five which has moved in the exact opposite direction of the old exit 5.
Dave and I wandered around outside the new exit 5 for a while, checking out what was in the area, until we decided that the directions were probably wrong. Turns out exit 9, the one we started at, was the exit we needed. We walked straight out of exit 9, made at a left at the first light and walked up the hill to the university. At the university gate we made a right and then made another right at the first alley/street we saw. To the left, behind the stalls, there was a small park. We walked to the end of the park and stalls and then made a left up a hill. As soon as you start to turn in that direction, the Charlie Brown Cafe will be in your view. You can’t miss it, unless you are at the new exit 5 wondering why it is so dead.
I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed once we finally arrived at the cafe. Perhaps it was because we worked so hard to get there or maybe it’s because I just like Hello Kitty so much more than Charlie Brown and Snoopy (although I really do love Woodstock). The cafe was covered in Charlie Brown decorations. There were little Snoopy statues in plexiglass boxes in between tables, the ceiling lights had Charlie Brown characters on them, the tables and food had Snoopy stenciled on them, and there was a TV playing Charlie Brown cartoons at the front of the shop.
The cafe had many more tables than the Hello Kitty Cafe, making the search for a seat less of an ordeal, and the line to order drinks was significantly shorter. But there was something missing. I feel like the Hello Kitty Cafe really committed to their mission of making it all about Hello Kitty. The chairs were in the shape of her head, it was all pink and red, and it didn’t seem as cluttery. They found a way to make it dedicated to Hello Kitty without covering the place in little figurines. Anybody can fill a room with Charlie Brown clutter. Plus as a Woodstock fan, I have to say there really wasn’t enough Woodstock around.
To top it off, the latte didn’t even come with a Charlie Brown character stenciled on it. Very disappointing. I’ve read on other blogs, that the Hello Kitty Cafe was disappointing and the Charlie Brown Cafe wasn’t, but I have to respectfully disagree. Dave on the other hand didn’t love one more than the other. My preference may lie in the fact that I really do adore Hello Kitty.
The best part of the cafe was this kid I saw across the room. At first I thought he was cute because he was cuddling with a Snoopy stuffed animal, but then I saw him picking his nose. He was really digging for gold for a few minutes and then when he had gotten everything out and quite possibly scratched his brain as well, he wiped it all on the chair back. Ten minutes later I saw his mom dragging him out of the bathroom with his pants around his ankles and his tush hanging out. She proceeded to put a diaper on him in the middle of the cafe, but didn’t bother to pull up his pants. It made my day and my Charlie Brown Cafe experience.