Here’s to the old school
Decades have passed since spinning records in a bar was common, but there are still a handful of places around the city that have kept their vinyl collections, some of which still play LPs from time to time. Here are a few of the best LP bars in Seoul.
Min’s 70s, 80s, and 90s Bar
Min’s Bar is one of the newest LP bars in Itaewon, but it has the feel of an older neighborhood hangout. The owner, Min, used to run the highly successful Bulldog Pub until he decided to part ways with his old establishment and open a new place. Because the bar is located on a backstreet in Itaewon that has changed very little since the explosion of the neighborhood’s popularity last year, visitors get a feel for days of Itaewon past before even reaching Min’s. The venue itself is spacious, with a big dance floor, a giant bar decorated with a large collection of LPs, ample seating and a pool table. Min himself is behind his computer and soundboard at the bar every night, taking requests from guests, and playing hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, complete with music videos. As an added bonus, the bar has the lowest drink prices in Itaewon, and their own special house shot, called the Apple Pie Shot, which tastes unbelievably similar to a tasty slice of apple pie. Min’s Bar is perfect for anyone trying to find a neighborhood haunt that plays all the classics until the wee hours of the morning.
GO> From Itaewon Station 이태원역 (Line 6), Exit 3. Walk straight for about 200 meters until reaching the first intersection. Turn right, walk 100 meters, then take the first left. Walk up the hill another 200 meters, and Min’s is on the second floor on the right, above East and West Pub.
FYI> Address: 용산구 이태원동 136-2 2층
There are many bars scattered throughout the city carrying the name Woodstock, but one of the oldest and most well-known is Woodstock in Gangnam. Nestled on a small side street a few rows back from the bustling Gangnam Daero main street, Woodstock is a hidden gem in an often overwhelmingly crowded neighborhood. The bar itself has an impressive collection of LPs, and the music is mostly rock hits from the 60s and 70s. Visitors can write song requests on slips of paper and hand them in to hear their favorite songs. The crowd is eclectic, especially for Gangnam, ranging from tourists to visiting businesspeople to locals to resident expats, so there are always interesting people hanging around the bar on any given night. It is a nice place to hang out, drink with friends, play darts, and dance the night away. Woodstock Gangnam is highly recommended for those trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of Seoul’s busiest neighborhood, and step back in time to a friendly bar that seems straight out of a different era.
GO> Gangnam Station 강남역 (Line 2), Exit 10. Walk straight for about 200 meters, turn left at Giordano, walk to Dunkin Donuts, turn right and look up. Woodstock is on the left.
FYI> Address: 강남구 역삼동 817-22
Golmok Vinyl & Pub
Golmok opened just when Gyeongnidan was emerging as a new hot destination. It started as a quiet, late-night hangout for people who lived in the area, but has grown to one of the busiest bars in the neighborhood over the past year. Golmok has one of the largest vinyl collections in the city. Two entire walls of the bar are lined, floor to ceiling, with shelves upon shelves of LPs of all types. In the middle of the floor in front of the vinyl collection is a turntable, where DJs spin records (something almost unheard of in 2014) every night of the week. Golmok is spacious but cozy, with many tables and comfortable chairs scattered throughout the bar. It is a great place to go to people-watch, enjoy a wide range of music, meet people from the neighborhood, have a few drinks and spend time with friends.
GO> Noksapyeong Station 녹사평역 (Line 6), Exit 2. Walk straight for 100 meters and take the underpass on the right to cross under the street. Take the stairs up on the right and turn left at Street Churros. Golmok is on the second floor on the right.
FYI> Address: 용산구 녹사평대로 222 2층
Written by SEOUL staff
Photographed by Ryu Seunghoo