5 Unique Cafés Around The World You Need To Visit

– by Brendan Reid, Editor –

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Many types of businesses, such as cafés, have lost their individuality, becoming international conglomerates. And to be fair, most people would seem to prefer sticking to the chains they know than try someplace new. As a result, independent business owners are resorting to zany strategies to get people’s attention. Think you’ve seen it all? Think again! Here are five of the most unique cafés around the world. Make sure to visit them as you travel.

1. Dreamy Camera Café, South Korea

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The calming atmosphere of the Dreamy Camera Café.

Located in the South Korean county of Yangpyeong, the Dreamy Camera Café is the brainchild of Park Sung-hwan and Kwak Myung-hee. It is shaped like a massive Rolleiflex twin lens camera, with the two lenses being giant windows that overlook the countryside. The café is as much a museum for vintage cameras as it is a coffee shop, and the owners encourage visitors to contribute to the atmosphere by taking photos with instant film, recording their dreams on the edges, and pinning them on the walls.

2. Fukuro No Mise, Tokyo

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A few of the residents of Fukuro No Mise.

You’ve heard of cat cafés, but have you heard of owl cafés? The prospect seems too ridiculous to believe, but Fukuro No Mise in Tokyo Japan is exactly that. Throughout the café are perches and cages full of owls of all different shapes, sizes, and breeds. The owls are tame and socialized, can be patted and handled and are about as adorable as friendly as birds of prey can be. As you can imagine, Fukuro No Mise (which literally translates to “Café of Owls”) is a very popular spot. Visitors can only stay for one hour at a time, which results in a line up out the door almost every day.

3. Chillout Ice Lounge, Dubai

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The frigid interior of the Chillout Ice Lounge.

The Chillout Ice Lounge is the first subzero café in Dubai, and is a great place for visitors to escape the desert heat of the United Arab Emirates, which can be unbearable. Everything in the café is solid ice, from the couches to the chandeliers; it looks like something out of a James Bond movie. Visitors are given a winter jacket upon entry, and permitted to stay for only 40 minutes in the café. Coffee and hot chocolate are the encouraged beverages at the Chillout Ice Lounge, both to fend of the cold and to replicate the alpine experience.

4. Big Knit Café, Bangkok

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Some of the wool selection in the Big Knit Café.

The Big Knit Café in Thailand offers a unique, hands-on experience for its visitors. The café walls are lined with colorful yarn and knitting supplies, and you are encouraged to create a new garment while you sip on your tea. The Big Knit offers a cozy atmosphere to go along with its knitting classes and tutorials for the uninitiated. It also sells knitting and embroidery supplies, and is successfully reintroducing an old hobby to a new generation.

5. Disaster Café, Spain

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The unassuming exterior of the Disaster Café.

There are few places as bizarre and intriguing as The Disaster Café in Lloret de Mar, Spain. The upper level is an alien-themed restaurant for kids, but if you go to the floor below, you will be in the earthquake zone. Most people wouldn’t want to live through a 7.8 magnitude earthquake during their coffee break, but the Disaster Café replicates one every hour. Staff wear construction helmets and boots, and the plates and cups are heavier then usual, but spilled drinks are inevitable during the simulated disaster. If you’ve wondered what it feels like to have the Earth shift beneath your feet over tea, the Disaster Café might be the place for you.