Concept bars give you a whole new experience
On some days, you just want a drink. But on others, you want a whole experience to go with it. For an evening of something completely different, check out one of Seoul’s many concept bars.
Step back in time when you visit 1950Hotel, an opulently decorated café and bar located down one of Garosugil’s romantic darker alleys. It’s easy to mistake the bar for an actual hotel: its brass lamps and luggage trolleys, false hotel doors, bellhop-like waiter and rotary telephones make a convincing illusion. And in fact, 1950Hotel is famous as a rental set for period dramas and movies.
But even if you’re not starring in your own TV series, you’re welcome to sink back in one of the heavy leather loveseats with a drink. The menu sticks to the classics, with single malt whiskeys, a short wine list and signature cocktails named after the hotel’s three false rooms. Should fancy strike, you can also shop for your own vintage duds at the small dress shop at the back.
31 Gangnamdaero 160gil, Gangnam-gu | 1950hotel.com
02-577-7579 | Sunday – Thursday 6 PM – 12 AM, Friday – Saturday 6 PM – 2 AM (Closed Monday)
For serious cyclers, bicycles are more than a mode of transport: they’re a way of life. Boundary is a cleverly designed café for those whose days revolve around their bikes. Run by French sportswear brand Le Coq Sportif, Boundary serves as not only their new flagship store but also a luxury destination for cyclers who are barred from normal cafés due to their unusual gear.
The café’s bike-height tables and recessed bike racks provide versatile storage options for cyclers. The lounge chairs and hammocks focus on relaxing strained legs and getting the blood flowing normally again after a hard sprint. And the drink menu, created in collaboration with juice bar Tribar, features veggie-filled super juices that provide a jolt of energy for tired pedalers. Boundary also hosts regular cycling classes and events — check out their Facebook page for info.
830 Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu | facebook.com/boundary.seoul 02-547-6626 | Weekdays 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM, weekends 7:30 AM – 9:00 PM
© Lounge Club Yakuk
Lounge Club Yakuk 라운지클럽 약국
The symptoms: a tough week. The prescription: Friday night. If this sounds like your approach to a party, then Yakuk may be for you. Meaning “pharmacy,” Yakuk is a high-energy, low-price bar that serves bottomless cocktails like an actual pharmacy does antibiotics: that is to say, liberally, cheaply and in a distinctly medical environment. Yakuk’s bartenders wear white coats, its drinks are mixed in beakers and several resident stuffed animals lie around the bar as they’re treated for their maladies with soju IVs.
This cutesy kitsch, cheap prices (KRW 15,000 for three hours of unlimited drinks) and a laid-back policy on snacks – you can order there, or bring your own food in – have made Yakuk one of Hongdae’s most popular bars for students. Just try not to mix your unlimited alcohols, or you may end up at a real pharmacy the next day.
31-4 Dongmak-ro 9-gil, Mapo-gu | yakuk.co.kr
010-6288-4365 | Weekdays 6 PM – 2 AM, weekends 6 PM – 5 AM
It calls itself a vintage pub, but Burp’s name and menu suggest that its concept revolves more around making visitors fat and happy. With cheesecake cocktails, toweringly stacked gourmet sliders and newsprint-covered serving platters of fries, the focus at Burp is definitely on the calories. Try the Mini Marble Soda, which comes out covered in a rainbow of tiny flash-frozen ice cream balls, or the Pina Colada, served inside a coconut that’s perched on a tiny bucket. Tiramisu, oreos and whipped cream also feature in many of Burp’s creations.
This isn’t to say, though, that the atmosphere isn’t also worth the visit. Burp’s smaller details – the indoor brick facade, plant-covered disco ball lighting and tiny metal bells that replace Korea’s ubiquitous call buttons – are charming all on their own.
2nd floor, 55-2 Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu | 010-3337-1374
Weekdays 4 PM – 3 AM, weekends 2 PM – 3 AM
Written by Seoul Staff
Photographed by Matthew Parker