You might remember from my Starbucks posting that I started drinking coffee while in college. It’s an age where one can start to safely drink coffee without any developmental effects, and it happens to be an age where one desperately needs to stay awake a lot! Korean cafés, of course, know these facts. So, therefore, one can easily find an over-abundance of cafés near university entrances, or in university neighborhoods. I’m not sure how it was before the Korean coffee boom, but it’s especially pronounced now! Today’s review, my first of a café near a university, is of a typical university neighborhood café, Swingby.
On a busy Friday in early September 2010, I went to the busy commercial area just outside Dangook University in Jukjeon-dong (apart from, by near, the Jukjeon café street). At the time, I still enjoyed going to Caffé Bene, so I went there first for coffee and to catch up on e-mail (sometimes it seems like a never-ending process, sigh…). 😉 After a few hours, I still wanted to hang out around there, so I looked around. Just across the street was Swingby, and it caught my eye with its deck, bright colors, and wink logo.
I went in and decided to order a croissant. You see, if I’ve just had coffee, I usually won’t order it again unless it’s many hours later or under extreme circumstances. So, coffee would have to wait until next time. Pleasantly, and to my great surprise, I received two croissants instead of one! I settled down to start reading Harry Potter 3, as I was rereading the series in preparation for the 7th movie. A little while later, I was offered free coffee! Wow! They really wanted to make a great first impression, and they did. The waitress was also very sweet that day. The rain was heavy too. I made sure to remember the place so I could come back sooner than later.
It turned out to be very soon. Just two days later! I went there to try more coffee and spend some time there. But that’s all I wrote about the coffee! I had no idea that three years later, I’d be writing a blog posting about my visits there. 😉 But I did write that the sun came out after a while, so I switched seats to outside to read some more there, and it was very pleasant
Finally, here’s some details about the coffee. Early in October, I went and ordered an intriguing item on the menu, a marshmallow latte:
But it was basically a latte with two large marshmallows in it. But still tasty!
Almost two weeks later I returned to work some more. I took a picture of a candle there:
In early December, I was busy compiling survey results from school, so I returned to Swingby and treated myself to a brownie:
I continued to go there a few more times alone and with friends, but there was nothing eventful to note.
Late next spring, though, I took some nice pictures of an iced café mocha:
This day, Swingby was full of university students, so it had a lot of nice energy and buzz. During vacation time, without students, a café like this can certainly empty out! Unfortunately, the university school schedule doesn’t quite coincide with the primary and secondary school schedule, so if you want to hang with the university kids, you have to be aware of their school dates! Oh, did I call them “kids”? Did I suddenly greatly age myself? Readers, I’m not that old… just… a few… years past my university days. (sigh #2…….)
ANYWAY… like before, I continued going from time to time with friends or alone. But I started to notice a decline in the service from that great first experience. The baristas were now almost sullen, and maybe the coffee didn’t seem quite as good? I started to be disappointed in going there. It started to become hit or miss.
Well, here is one of the last pictures I took at Swingby before I left Korea:
After a strong start, a little decline. I’ll try to return when I have the chance, but other cafés take preference now.
Here’s a link to a Google Map to find Swingby.
Address: 경기도 용인시 수지구 죽전동 1323-3
Korean name: 스윙바이
Website: http://www.swingby.co.kr [not active as of this posting]
Final verdict: ***