Business Concept: Hunting Cafe

Adam Novak
4 min readAug 6, 2022


There’s a thing in South Korea called 헌팅 포차, or “Hunting Pocha.”

It’s a combination of “pocha”, a night life spot to eat and drink alcohol with your friends, and “hunting”, as in going after that cutie across the room.

These hunting pochas are super popular amongst teenagers and young adults. They offer a pointed atmosphere which not everyone is always down for — an environment where approaching another group at their table out of the blue is normal. Plenty of times people would rather party and just have a good time with the friends they came with, or they might be in a relationship and not be looking to meet someone new, and hunting pochas aren’t the move. Yet outside of those cases, there’s a pretty solid demand for hunting pochas on any given night in Gangnam.

Hunting Pocha, Exhibit a (ft me)

As someone who’s been to several hunting pochas, I can verify that they’re a great time. The first time I ended up raving in this basement with a bunch of Koreas I’d never met before, and the next time four of us hit it off and ended up at a 노래방 (song room) together.

Recently, I was in a “hunting Pocha” mood and wanted to meet some new friends over a good time. The problem? It was 2pm. Way too early for hunting pochas. They’re not even open this early.

But you know what else is a major piece of culture in South Korea? Hanging out in cafes. It’s the norm to go with your friends to a Starbucks or Twosome Cafe and chat over a coffee or tea. These are obviously much more daytime vibes than a hunting Pocha.

Given the success of hutning pochas and the huge popularity of cafes… why aren’t there hunting cafes?

If there are pochas which thrive off an atmosphere of “bring a friend and approach another group of people”, surely there could be cafes which could see success from a similar idea?

The cafe doesn’t have to entirely dedicate itself to being a hunting cafe 24/7. Maybe just a few times a week, or for a few hours of the day, or at special times here and there, they offer “hunting events.” You bring a friend, grab some coffee, and sit down with another pair of people to mingle. After half an hour or so you could move on to strike up a new conversation.

This would be a win win for everyone involved. The cafes can boost their sales for that day by bringing in more customers and improve their brand presence with a unique event. Young people get an opportunity to meet their peers and make new friends.

In fact, I could see governments like Japan, and many more down the road as others follow Japan’s demographic trends, provide financial incentives so that cafes and local shops to put on events like these. Events deliberately designed for young people to come together and meet. Birth rates are dropping low in developed countries around the world—and one great way to increase babies is to increase relationships.

That being said, there are some concerns with the concept of a hunting cafe:

  • During the day people drink coffee, not alcohol. People’s guards are not as down and they might not be as comfortable meeting new people like at a Pocha. It’s a lot easier to approach someone and strike up a conversation when you’re a bottle of soju in.
  • We don’t want 40 year old men approaching 20 year old women at a cafe. Do we implement an age cap? Is that not discrimination?
  • A good number of people go to cafes to be productive-to work, read, etc. You’d likely be turning away these customers during the hunting time slot.

These concerns are just kinks to work out. Overall, the crazy success of hunting pochas, and the smiles from Korean friends at the idea of a hunting cafe, lead me to believe this could be worthwhile endeavor in Korea.

Getting coffee w my friend He-lyoung in Itaewon: cafe culture, exhibit a

That is, in Korea. Cafe culture is a prerequisite to the success of hunting cafes. South Korea certainly has this culture, but places like the US do not. For the time being, hunting in American likely won’t be accompanied by americanos and croissants.

At the very least, a hunting cafe experiment would be worth running at least a few times. The best way to find out if it would actually work is to just try.



Adam Novak

Monastic Living | Language Learning | Responsible Technology