Koreans know how to party. And no wonder, they work ridiculously hard and study even harder. So, what better to do than let your hair down at the end of the day? When the sun goes down in Seoul it’s time for the party people to come out. You’ll find everyone from salary men drinking soju to university students trying to be the next famous DJ out and about.
The streets of Seoul’s inner-city suburbs come alive. It really seems like you can get a drink pretty much anywhere in this city. At any time. If that isn’t good enough for you the other great thing is that you can find anything from super cheap to super expensive and everything in between.
So, if you’re travelling to Seoul or just stopping by for a layover here is a list of the 8 best drinking spots in Seoul.
Convenience Stores - Cheapest
I know, it sounds a bit strange. But if you’ve ever spent any time in Korea you’ll know that one of the best places to sit, relax and enjoy a beer is outside a Korean convenience store. These stores, usually staffed by university students, have plastic tables and chairs outside for you to enjoy whatever you’ve purchased.
You’ll be able to get a cold beer for a couple of dollars and a bottle of soju for a dollar or so. It just so also happens to be a great place to meet and chat with foreigners that live in Seoul. Get the local run down from them.
In most university areas in Seoul such as Hongdae you’ll find small trucks that sell cocktails to people passing by. They are terrible tasting and served in plastic bags with straws. Pretty much everything you could want for a party night.
Itaewon and Wangshimni are two areas that these trucks frequent, but you’ll find them in most party areas. Cheap and hangover creating.
Some of the most exciting parts of the city after dark are the suburbs that have universities in them. They are surrounded by cheap restaurants and drinking places. These drinking places are great for meeting local students that want to practice their English.
Hongdae and Konkuk university areas are two of the best spots to head to. Each have their own ‘eat streets’. If you’re lucky enough you might just find an ‘all you can drink’ beer bar. These are rare these days but basically you pay a flat fee and you can drink until you fall over. Can’t go wrong.
Salary Man Restaurants
What visit to Korea would be complete without visiting a Korean BBQ restaurant?
Usually very reasonably priced for food and a few beers and soju to wash it down. Join the locals by making a bomb drink, basically a glass of beer with a shot of soju in it. You’ll fit right in and your Korean language skills will improve by the glass.
Office workers frequent these places as something between a team building exercise, torture and escaping reality. It really just depends on how many bottles you can drink as to what category it falls into.
One of the best places in Seoul to drink if you want to meet the locals. These are the tent’s that you see lined up and full of people in the evenings. Usually run by old Korean woman who prepare traditional food in the centre of the tent while those seated around the small tables talk about their day.
The tents generally only serve beer and soju. You’ll find that the alcohol is extremely cheap while the food is where they make their money. You’ll need to order food, you can’t just drink!
If you want to find more great food in Seoul, check out this list of the best street food in Seoul.
Need your fix of Canadian, American or English beer? Head to Itaewon. As the unofficial foreigner town of Seoul, you’ll find a lot of expats who have set up shop here. There are some great little spots that serve everything from Guinness to Coors. You can chat with all the expats that live in Seoul and find out more about what makes it such an amazing city.
Although they aren’t too expensive they are usually a bit more on the pricy side if you compared them to more local options.
Traditional Alcohol Eating Houses
In the Insadongarea you can stumble upon a number of traditional style eating houses that serve a hundred types of alcohol that you’ve never heard of. With such a long and fragmented history, Korea’s regions have developed very independent personalities. Down to their food and alcohol.
A number of eating houses in Insadong celebrate this traditional by selling alcohol from regions all over Korea. Soju is just a start to the interesting and delicious drinks that you can find here. My recommendation is the Dong Dong Ju. It’s a sweet, syrupy drink served in a bowl.
Although not incredibly expensive they are made for tourists, so a higher price is expected.
High End Nightclub – Most Expensive
If you want to party in Seoul and you have the money to do it in style you should be booking a table at a nightclub. Depending on the club this will set you back anywhere from $500-$1000USD to book a table.
If you’re lucky the table may come with a choice of a whiskey or vodka set. This will include a bottle of either and some fruit or a few snacks. Just remember that you’re paying to be seen, who knows who you’ll meet!
Seoul is truly one of the best cities in Asia to party. No matter what your budget you’ll find a good night. Check out more about the best night spots in Seoul from the locals, and also check out the '8 Must Visit Places in Seoul Korea'.