Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rainbow Café – Room With a View Atop Hannam Bridge


Story and Photos by Ben Min
At first glace the new Rainbow Café atop Hannam Bridge in central Seoul doesn`t look much like a café – in fact it looks more like an airport control tower. But step inside and the city noise fades away, and there you are perched on the bridge with great views of the Han River and city lights.
On the third-level café, a curved bar-top with seating wraps around one side of the glass wall. From there, turn your head a bit and you see the bright lights of Sinsa on the south bank; look back and you have the bridge with traffic zipping along beneath you.

With an elevated ceiling and large windows, the interior has pleasant, open feeling about it. There’s also a fourth-floor observation deck with a view in the opposite direction, allowing you to look out over the river at the city lights on the north bank, and down into Han River Park below. There are a few small tables on the observation deck along with another curved bar along the glass wall.

The third-level café offers a wide variety of sodas, fruit juices, coffee drinks, beer, and wine. They also serve shaved ice treats and hot dogs to help tide your appetite over. The menu is reasonably priced with the most expensive item at W5,000. The atmosphere is wonderfully relaxed and it would be very easy to spend an afternoon or part of the evening here reading, lounging, and watching the people and traffic go by while enjoying a latte or glass of wine.
Located on the south side of the Hannam Bridge, the Rainbow Café is the first in a series of bridge cafes that the city is developing along the Han River. The café is easily accessible from its base in the Han River Park via an elevator or short flight of stairs; there is also a public bus stop at the bridge level. There is bicycle parking at the park level; but remember if you are renting and want to leave your bike somewhere, you need to bring your own lock.

In the surrounding Han River Park area there are two separate walking/riding trails for people and bicycles, a parking lot for about 80 cars, restroom facilities, and a soccer field. There is also a bit of green space for people to bring a blanket and have a picnic during the day or enjoy the view of the river at night.
People also use the space directly under the bridge, relaxing on a bench or mat as the shade is most welcome on a hot summer day.
Note: The Rainbow Café is easily accessible on the following buses heading north on the Hannam Bridge – 471, 472, 241, 421, 420, 470, 407, 408, 144, 402, 140, and 142. You can also get there using one of the river’s water taxis – Hannam River stop.

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