You know what they say “Work Hard, Play Harder”. It’s no secret that Korean culture openly allows for discussion of drinking and clubbing. It’s where students can dance their stress away either from work. Here are some tips on popular bars and clubs where you can explore outside your comfort zone and even meet new people!
Tips for going to clubbing:
- Bring an ID
Bring a passport, driver’s license, or ARC card. If you are afraid to lose your passport just take a picture of it, but make sure you also have some kind of ID. If you have your ARC card already, you can just bring that
- Be aware of the Dress Code
Some clubs are very strict with the way you dress. Be aware some clubs may not let you enter if you are not dressed properly. The usual dress codes are no slippers and no sweatpants.
- Age limit
In Korea, the age limit to enter a club is normally 19-30 years old
4. Make sure to check the website of the clubs that you are going to go to because some clubs might be free! Some free promotions include free entry for women, or free entry for everyone between a certain time frame (usually earlier before 11PM).
Clubs and Bars in Hongdae:
NB1 and NB2 (Noise Basement)
Very crowded and the crowds can get handsy. NB1 NB2 are sister clubs, just across the street from each other. They offered mostly hip hop music and 15,000 won entrance fee that includes 1 free drink. Be wary of your safety. At this club, it’s common for women to be grabbed on the waist and if you manage to pry off one guy another guy will come and take his place. Location: 362-4 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Open on Thur, Fri, and Saturday from 10 pm to 6 am. Their music genres are Electro House Music. The entry fees are usually 10,000 won but different if they have an event going on.
Location: Seoul, Mapo-gu, Seokyo-Dong 356-1. (Near Seokyo Hotel)
Formerly known as a cocoon, this club passes around drinks, sparklers and also light sticks for everyone. It cost $15,000 won to get in and a free drink. You can get into Aura for free if you get into this club. Location: 364-24 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
It’s a free club. The room reek of smoke as you step into the club. I personally don’t like going in there because of the strong smell and the small space they offer.
Bars in Sinchon & Hongdae
Bars work much simpler than the clubs. You show ID, and you can walk in and grab a drink or you can choose to buy a table 80,000KRW+ (depending on the bottle service).
Menus are available in both Korean and English. The crowd is mostly foreigners and plays mostly the top 40 pop hits. The DJ likes to take requests from the crowd and depending on who the audience is— I’ve even heard Brazilian Hip Hop! Typically, people do not buy tables here, and you are free to waltz in and just sit down and buy a cocktail and chill.
Hongdae: 94-13 Eoulmadang-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Sinchon: 52-152 Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Address: 34 Wausau-ro 21-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Hands Down the liveliest choice out of all the bar mentioned. It probably has to do with cheap drinks. You can get 6 tequila shots for 10,000KRW. It gets mega crowded once it hits 1 AM with people dancing on stage and even between the tables. Between 5 PM and Midnight, the bar keeps out a pool table that then converts to a regular table once the crowd gets more packed. If you want to sit at a table, it’s safer to buy bottle service so you’re guaranteed space.
Lively Location: 364-3, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Chill Location: 407-12 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
People usually choose this bar over the other because it offers Beer Pong. Best food options out of all of the bars as they offer chicken fingers, fries, and even milkshakes. Definitely a good choice for those who don’t enjoy bar hopping, as its lively enough but not overwhelming so it’s a bar that’s the most comfortable to stay for longer periods of time for those who get a bit bored with the more chill locations such as Jun’s Bar or Pink Elephant but don’t want something as crazy as Bar Zen or Mikes Cabin. You can usually find an open table here, and bottle service isn’t needed to claim a table/seat.
Address: 362-8 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Typically quite empty. The bartenders are all English speaking natives, so this can be a good introduction to nightlife if you’re more apprehensive about Korean crowds. A good place to start or end the night if you prefer more empty, small, and intimate vibes.
Pink Elephant Bar:
Address: 407-26 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Very laid back and chill. My personal favorite. Good for if you want to sit and chat with a group of friends over some wine or cocktails. Don’t expect to be bothered much by other patrons, it’s a nice change of pace compared to the other options.
Clubs in Itaewon
A blue-hued club, the price may vary depends on who is performing that day, but one free drink per ticket. Different performers each time so make sure to check out their page to see who will be performing. Address: 132-3 Itaewon-dong Yongsan-gu Seoul KR 04346, 132-3 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
A hip-hop club as well as EDM and rap. Open Thurs, Fri, and Sat at 10 pm and close at 5 am.
Address: Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Hannam-dong, Itaewon-ro, 211 한남빌딩 2층
$15,000 won entrance fee
23-33 Itaewon-1-dong, Yongsan-gu Seoul
Gangnam Clubs and Bars
A well-known club currently standing as the 5th best club in the world according to DJ Mag Top 100 Clubs and the 29th for International Nightlife Association. Octagon is a high-end club with an entry fee of $30,000 won. Be prepare need to dress up for a really long night. It’s open until 6 am. Address: 645 Nonhyeon-ro, Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Look forward to dressing up to another high-end club in Gangnam. With professional models and dancers. Famous for their EDM and the progressive house. Open Friday to Saturday and open on Sunday if there’s an event held that day.
707 Nonhyeon-ro, Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Smallest club in the area with EDM music. An entrance fee cost 20,000won, open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday nights, from 1:00 am to 9:00 am. Right outside Sinsa Station (line 3) Exit 1.
Bars in Gangnam
Once in a Blue Moon