This weekend I finally had a chance to check out Cafe Nicolia here in Bucheon. It's Bucheon's own 'European style English cafe, opened up two months ago by husband and wife superteam Nicolas and Lia Young (right and left, respectively).
I was struck by the great library they had set up. It has a good mix of English books, novels, books on Korea, beautiful coffee table books, travel books, and some classics. It felt to me like a great start to what could, with time, become one of those old cafe libraries full of great surprises and books that seem, in retrospect, to be absolute necessities.
I spoke to Nicolas at length about his philosophy for the place. His goal has been to create a safe place where Koreans and foreigners can meet in a safe and controlled environment. That means not leaning too heavily in either direction. I imagine this requires an incredibly light touch. For example, Nicolas told me about the limited amount of marketing that he did towards foreigners, in an effort to keep the place from becoming 'that foreigner cafe'. His efforts seem to be successful. While I was there, the clientèle was evenly split.
The decor is extremely well thought out and comforting. I made myself at home as soon as I walked in the door.
Here's Nicolas hard at work making something or other. I must say that the coffee I had here was some of the finest fresh brewed coffee I've had in Korea, and the food (Miyoung and I had the tomato and mozzarella with basil and balsamic vinaigrette) was equally delicious.
There's a beautiful little nook for large groups in the back.
I really feel that this is something that Bucheon needs and ought to be nurtured. I wish Nicolas and Lia all the success in the world and hope that if you have the chance you'll check the place out.