Unit 208, Building 31, Hangang Mansion, Ichon-dong — even if you had the address, you’d probably wander around, looking up and down the run-down building in which it’s located. While walking up the stairs built in the early 1970’s after vaguely locating this new café and bar, you’d only see a few residents of the apartments around it visiting their family doctor or picking up small bags of groceries. Hell Café Spiritus, however, has been attracting coffee and cocktail aficionados as well as industry professionals from all over Seoul, with its all-star squad of baristas (who are behind Bogwang-dong’s Hell Café) and bartenders — namely, Lim Seong-eun, Kwon Yo-seop, Lee Hun teamed up with Vault +82’s Seo Yong-won.
Inside, you’ll find a minimalistic setting: the tables, bar counter, bar back and even window blinds are all dark brown woods. The simple flower arrangements placed on a few of the tables add an emphasis to the exceptional simplicity, while the classical music played through the large speakers create a nostalgic feel that goes well with the surrounding area. As for the café menu, it is exactly the same as that of Bogwang-dong’s Hell Café, the first venture of the star barista team; the famous Hell Drip and classic cappuccino are available from 9am until 9pm. From 7pm until 2am, a large selection of cocktails, single malt whiskeys and other liquors are available. The list of cocktails including Rolls-Royce (which, here, is made with the Macallan Rare Cask, orange bitter and maple syrup) has a distinctively refined combination. What we never forget to get when we’re at Hell Café Spiritus is, though, the smoky yet delicate Irish coffee. The cream floats perfectly on top, creating a light, silky and almost fluffy layer. It’s definitely a glass you’d want to enjoy for a while (not just for the price tag, that is), but resisting the urge to just down a several glasses of this pleasantly sweet and boozy creation is not too easy.
Now, the price: there is nothing casual about the price tags found here, and for any bar menu, there is also a cover charge of 10,000 won. For an impressive coffee and/or cocktail experience, though, we’d say this place is worth traveling for. If you’re just looking for a heavenly caffeine fix for the day, you can always get a takeout with a 4000-won discount.