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[Well-curated] Test out guitars, explore old photos and drink coffee on airplane

Jan. 26, 2024 - 09:01 By Lee Si-jin By Lee Jung-youn By Hong Yoo

Electric and bass guitars are on display at the Guitarnet Showroom in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Explore guitars at Guitarnet Showroom

While enjoying a weekend stroll through Apgujeong, visit the Guitarnet Showroom, where you can feast your eyes on an array of colorful guitars.

Just a 5 to 7-minute walk from Apgujeongrodeo Station's Exit No. 6 on the Suin-Bundang Line, the oval-shaped, dark gray store cannot be missed after making a right turn at the Hana Bank.

Insa-dong’s Nagwon Instrument Arcade, also known as the Nagwon Music Mall, is widely considered to be a musicians' paradise, with hundreds of music stores in one place, all selling music-related items, from instruments and audio equipment to karaoke machines and amps.

However, Guitarnet Showroom curates a more unique and personalized music experience for guitar enthusiasts in particular.

“I worked in a music store at Nagwon Music Mall for many years. And I felt that Korean music shops and visitors tend to avoid testing instruments, and there is a reluctance to play (or allow visitors to play) the instruments on display,” a Guitarnet official told The Korea Herald on Jan. 17.

“We wanted to create a space for music lovers to easily try and experience how it feels to play the store's guitars without any inconvenience or pressure, like Japanese guitar shops,” the official explained.

The store's first floor offers quality products from popular guitar brands like Ibanez, Orangewood, Squier and Sterling, as well as guitar accessories, while the second floor houses Fender electric guitars and bass guitars.

Some guitars at the store are offered at a large discount because they have small scratches, but still deliver top quality sounds.

An instrument testing area at the Guitarnet Showroom in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul (Guitarnet Showroom)

Unlike the Nagwon Instrument Arcade stores, where visitors test instruments in a relatively small space, the Guitarnet Showroom presents a stage-like area for a more comfortable testing experience.

Postcards and film boxes are on display at Pixel Per Inch, an independent bookstore and vintage photo and camera shop. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald)

Vintage photos, film cameras at indie bookstore

For those looking to take a break from digital technology and smartphones, a quiet store filled with old film cameras and vintage photographs is the perfect place to seek refuge.

Pixel Per Inch, located on the third floor of an old building near Samgakji Station on Subway Line No. 4, is a store that sells books as well as items related to photography. Photo collections by local and international photographers and products made of various photos -- fabric posters, postcards, tea coasters, and bookmarks -- are all on display in this cozy, quaint space. The store owner took some of the photos on display.

The store is also home to camera film and old film cameras, and customers can rent Polaroid or film cameras for a day at prices ranging from 3,000 won to 5,000 won.

A Polaroid photo booth is the highlight of the store, and customers can take two Polaroid photos for 8,000 won. Although instant photo booths have become commonplace in Korea, bright and blurry photos taken with Polaroid cameras have an irreplaceable, nostalgic quality.

The store is open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Mondays.

Vintage film is displayed at Pixel Per Inch. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald)

Boing, an airplane-themed cafe located in Euljiro, Seoul (Hong Yoo/ The Korea Herald)

Coffee or wine in the clouds

Boing, an airplane-themed cafe in Euljiro, Seoul, offers visitors the chance to enjoy some coffee or wine in an airplane while remaining on the ground.

Visitors to the store are welcomed by a large sign that switches every few seconds to display an airport departure board.

Boing, an airplane-themed cafe located in Euljiro, Seoul (Hong Yoo/ The Korea Herald)

Once inside the cafe, orders are taken at a counter that resembles an airport check-in counter, with flight schedules showing on the screens above the counter.

The cafe is divided into two sections -- a section themed like the interior of an airplane and a section with ordinary tables and chairs.

In the airplane section, the window seals are lifted to show a screen on which videos of landing and departures are continuously played, making it seem like one is actually on a plane.

Boing, an airplane-themed cafe located in Euljiro, Seoul (Hong Yoo/ The Korea Herald)

Even the restroom of the cafe looks like it comes straight out of an airplane as its door, lock, sink, and toilet are identical to the ones we encounter when flying.

Not only is the interior designed like an airplane, also some of the items on the menu are served as in-flight meals.

Irish coffee sold at Boing, an airplane-themed cafe located in Euljiro, Seoul (Hong Yoo/ The Korea Herald)

Boing's signature coffee is an Irish coffee, made with a shot of whiskey, espresso and whipped cream. It is the perfect drink to warm up in this week's freezing temperatures.