Hot Spots

AM Hybrid Club
CLOSED: In Seoul, club cardio, free of party drugs and weapons of all kinds, can continue at 'after clubs' until lunch time traffic. After the notorious Miro is Club AM where tech sound by noted underground DJs like InnuRoh and Bak is pumped up for professional vampires, with stamina, who refuse to return to coffins after their favorite clubs close down by 5 a.m. Door opens from 5 a.m. until noon on weekends. Check out events at the Web site, www.n2glam.com.
Price Range: Varies
Location: B1 Samjoo Bldg, Nonhyeon-dong (Sinsa Station Exit No. 2)
Telephone: 070-8224-7876
CLOSED: Trends come and go but this lounge-cum-bar is here to stay, or so it seems. A quick sampling of Seoul's foreigner and foreigner-friendly demographics is made easy here, as people of all status and nationalities enjoy schmoozing over standard cocktails and live tech-house music by local DJs. To secure tables, advance reservation is required, but give it a couple of rounds and no one cares. Expect a long queque on weekend nights which, like it or not, tend to get a bit too rowdy.
Price Range: 7,000 won and up
Location: 119-7 Itaewon near Hamilton Hotel
Telephone: 02-749-6164
B-One Lounge Club
In February 2013, the big boss of District, Between, Queen and Eat Me in the entertainment district of Itaewon revamped the vast underground space, once a home of Korea's only Hard Rock Cafe, and opened the city's latest hipster zone. Forget the area's already infamous hook-up joint B-One nearby; that place is gone for good. Here's comes born-again B-One Deluxe replete with ornate vintage decorations inspired by sexually charged Middle Age dungeons. Divided into three party themes and/or sections, A, B and C, B-One is spacious enough for drunken revelers to get lost in time and space, literally. Expect the long and winding queue lines on weekends.
Price Range: Varies
Location: 119-7 Itaewon-dong near Hamilton Hotel
Telephone: 02-749-6164
EDM (electronic dance music) is mega-big in Korea but the swaggin' hiphop lives on. Boombar is one of few thrivin' hiphop clubs in town for casual party time. With good crowd, mostly well-dressed and -behaved yuppy Korean, post-Boombar reviews are always great. Door ticket prices vary depending on the day, DJ gigs and occasional theme parties. For tables, reservations are required.
Price Range: Varies
Location: 211 Itaewon-ro
Telephone: 02-749-9181
Café Dior by Pierre Hermé
What Women Want on Instagram and blogs all over: Dior's first flagship store in Asia comes with all things Dior for men and women, and a Dior-endorsing art gallery on the 4th floor and a posh cafe on the 5th floor. Every guest arriving at the shop's main gate is greeted and escorted by a designated Dior personal shopper. The trend of the moment, "Ispahan" pastries and teas by the French bakery Pierre Hermé are served on Dior plates and cups. Afternoon tea or coffee time requires a reservation in advance, for the café is packed with ladies-who-shop and in for occasional Korean (lady) star-spotting.
Price Range: 20,000 won and up
Location: 464 Apgujeong-ro
Telephone: 02=513-0390
Casa del Vino
The city's better known oenologist-cum-importer KP Eun stocks over 500 kinds of wines at reasonable prices. Even on weekday nights, this sleek bar located alongside luxury boutiques is swarmy with lovers of wine and good coversations.
Price Range: Varies
Location: 437 Apgujeong-ro
Telephone: 02-542-8003
Chinchin Season 2
CLOSED: The lastest trend reverse-imported from Tokyo bars is makkeoli. Insired by the hot trend in Japan, the owner of Chinchin, formerly fushion Japanese restaurant, reopened it as Chinchin Season 2: "Let's Drink Makkeoli" specializing in Korean traditional grain liquor and tasty fusion dishes. The makkeoli list details regions, tastes and interesting anecdotes for conversation starters. Opens from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Price Range: 20,000 won and up
Location: Near Hongik Univ entrance
Telephone: 02-334-1476
Club Holic
CLOSED: You're young (under 30) and carefree and don't give a damn about what happens with whoever because you can simply shrug it off by saying, "Too drunk to remember!" at awkward morning-afters, Club Holic is made for your purpose of living. When the clubs or karaokes you went for were done for the night but you weren't, what a relief - you can still head out to extend your night out with pole-dancers. Opens past noon the next day, so you figure.
Price Range: Admission Varies
Location: 6 Nonhyeon-dong, Yeongdong Hotel
Club Mystik
When conceived by the city's better-known DJ Yeonjun and his associates in the fall of 2011, Mystik was designed exclusively for the city's discerning ears and style gurus and it has remained so. If you're in for authentic German techno and house music and hipanistas, you know where to hit after-hours. Opens until 5 a.m. on weekends.
Price Range: Varies
Location: Behind KFC near Hamilton Hotel, Itaewon
Telephone: 02-792-2446
Club Naked
CLOSED: One of the happening after-clubs in southern Seoul, that is, if your weekend cup of tea at 6 a.m. is a combo of psych-trance, green laser and Jose Cuervo shot, unless of course there's a special DJ gig you're rooting for. You won't go past the brut bouncer if you "look" over 30.
Price Range: 20,000 won and up
Location: Nonhyeon-dong
Club Octagon
The city's larget - and by far hottest club since its grand opening in 2012 has made it to the 12th in "World's Top 100 Clubs" listed by UK's "DJ Mag." The scene on weekend nights is "Gangnam-style," infamously sung to the world by the Korean entertainer Psy. Designed by Urbantainer, an award-winning architectural firm based in Seoul, the music and dance central is an all-in-one combo of a dining bar, a lounge and a club. Connecting the general entry first floor and the second floor reserved for VIPs is an elevator whose glass doors are opened by Russian hotties. Pictured here is a newly renovated lounge on the second floor equipped with interactive lights conceived by American media artist James Powderly. www.octagonseoul.com
Price Range: Varies
Location: 645 Nonhyeon-ro, New Hiltop Hotel
Telephone: 010-4168-6946
Comme des Garcons
The country's first Comme des Garcons flagship store excited the local fashion industry people when it unveiled the brand's all ranges in August, 2010, becoming the area's most famous landmark. The store opening also coincides with the area's land price hike of late. Those who don't want to shell out three to four times the price in Tokyo, or much much more for a piece of land there, can chill out on the first floor Rose Bakery (02-790-7225) where buns, sandwiches adn coffee are served fresh and hot.
Price Range: Varies
Location: 261 Itaewon-ro
Corner Cafe
CLOSED: A real breather in Garosu-gil. This book cafe above the street level, located near Garosu-gil's end toward Sinsa-dong, instantly lifts you away from the craziness of shopping, eating and people-watching in the area. A quiet chat about your latest acquisitions can take place over a cup of fresh coffee, homemade cake and some good books.
Price Range: 5,000 won and up
Location: Garosu-gil, Sinsa-dong
Telephone: 02-545-0240
Daily Projects
The city's arbiters of fashion and trends regularly check out this multi-cultural complex, consisting of cafes, select shops, exhibition/event spaces and a beauty parlor. For community service, the jet-set director offers fun Sunday flea market. www.dailyprojects.co.kr
Price Range: Varies
Location: 760 Seolleung-ro
Telephone: 02-3218-4072
DDP, Dongdaemun Design Plaza
DDP is a stunning spaceship right at the heart of Seoul, ready to take off to the Mars with all things Korean wonders. Walk around the exterior site to find traces of ancient roads unearthed when the original ground, formerly a landmark stadium, was dug for construction; inside the silvery domes are myriads of design goods and inspirations, both local and global. DDP, or Dongdamun Design Plaza famously designed by Zaha Hadid, is booked a year around for blockbuster exhibitions and events, including semi-annual Seoul Fashion Week. www.ddp.or.kr
Price Range:
Location: 281 Eulji-ro
Telephone: 02-2513-0000
District: Prost, Glam & Mute
Well-located District is an ambitious project by the city's dream team, the restaurateur Mickey Park and the two-time Red Dot award-winning interior designer Chiho Kim, who together in early 2012 planned on building the area's best spot ever. This giant two-storied entertainment central consists of Prost (casual Brit pub), Glam ("Be glamorous" kind of bar), Mute (stylish club) and a lovely outdoor garden designed for warm seasons. The phenomenal success in the business led Mr. Park to grace the cover of the January 2012 issue of "Newsweek Korea." You thought getting into District was tough? Try getting a drink at the overcrowded bar.
Price Range: 8,000 won and up
Location: Annex of Hamilton Hotel, Itaewon
Telephone: 02-792-6164
The scene has long moved away but Club Eden, once the king of clubbers since its opening in December 2008 tucked in the basement of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, though no relation, remains open. Check out the monthly schedule at www.eden-club.co.kr.
Price Range: Varies
Location: Yeoksam-dong
Telephone: 02-6447-0042
El Bliss
The sprawling club zone near Hongik University in northern Seoul has always been anything but chic, until lounge-cum-bar El Bliss came along. A spin-off of the successful Bliss lounge in Itaewon, the stylish establishment offers extensive cocktails made by the city's better-known mixologists and stylish music spun live by co-owner Ji, former boy band singer-turned-entrepreneur, part-timing DJ at El Bliss.
Price Range: 7,000 won and up
Location: 407-12 Seogyo-dong, next to Club Via on Seven-Eleven street in Hongdae
Telephone: 02-326-2599
Strawberry Red Wine with Szechuan Pepper? iApple? Darth Vader Black Sesame? They are some of top-selling ice creams du jour at Fell'n Cole. The pioneer of "gastronomic ice cream for epicures" and rated to be the best ice cream in town is a work of creativty by the talented Tristan Choi. Inspired by free-spirited parities and fine dining back in San Francisco and exotic Korean cuisine and taste, Tristan used to make ice creams for fun but now it's a big business. With extra-fresh and organic ingredients, creative recipes and a little sense of humor in naming his babies, an ice cream date is a must in Seoul. www.fellncole.com
Price Range: 5,000 won and up
Location: 494 Apgujoeng-dong, Galleria Gourmet 494
Telephone: 02-6905-3919
Jump'n say "Yes" to an invitation if it says the party venue is this super-sleek edifice floating on the Han river. With a stunning cityscape along the river especially at night, Bar The a [pronounced "thi-aa"], on the third floor is the place to be. Renting out the entire buildling is perfect for a full-house soiree. The first floor is Seoul International Yacht Club (02-3477-0333). www.fradia.co.kr
Price Range: Varies
Location: Jamwon-dong
Telephone: 02-3477-0033
IP Boutique Hotel
Weekend trip to Seoul is made easy'n pleasant by IP Boutique Hotel conveniently located in the Itaewon district. Affordable, under US$200, and styled after W Hotel chains, the IP Boutique Hotel offers 127 rooms and 6 suites that are all clean and well-decorated. Coffee in the lounge tastes bland but only minutes of walk are cafes, bars and restaurants of all kinds. Only 15 minute cab ride to either north or south can take you to shopping centers. www.ipboutiquehotel.com
Price Range: Varies
Location: 221 Itaewon-ro
Telephone: 02-3702-8000
J.J. Mahoney's
Let's face it - Rejection at the hottest club. Do not despair, for you can joyfully head out to another sleek joint, the city's legendary bar-lounge-club located inside the Grand Hyatt hotel atop Namsan. If easy draft beer, dancing, nightly entertainment and/or almost-guaranteed hook-up is not fun, what is? No sneakers and shorts. Opens all day until 1-3 a.m. nightly. www.grandhyattseoul.co.kr
Price Range: Varies
Location: Basement of the Grand Hyatt, Namsan
Telephone: 02-799-8601
Le Chamber
The official World Class bartender Sung-min Park, aka, Bori, opened his dream bar in April, 2014 with the city's noted mixologists; already his long-time fans have packed the space, creating even a bigger buzz in Seoul. Not only specializes in top selection of single malts but also "impressive-me" haute cocktails crafted from Bori's own apothecary of herbs, scent and spices. Without reservations, seats are hard to come by because unlike most bars made for hopping, drinkers here are here to stay for imbin' good stuff. Private rooms are registered VIP members only. The entrance is discreet: Find a brown book titled "Le Chamber" and push to open the wall-bookcase!
Price Range: 30,000 won and up
Location: B1, 42 Dosan-daero 55-gil
Telephone: 02-6337-2014
Listen Super Lounge
CLOSED: Listen Super Lounge is a half-social, half-musical spot in the tony district of southern Seoul where guests' exchanging business cards while sipping cocktails or import beer doesn't look weird. The club owners proved their other clubs in the city's entertainment zone in Itaewon successful (Luv Super Lounge and BoomBar) and wanted to venture into an entirely different market - and you guessed, it's a hit. If you want to avoid cheesy sleazy, go head to Listen.
Price Range: Varies
Location: 87-9 Cheongdam-dong
Telephone: 02-540-3386
Luv Superlounge
CLOSED: When B-One, the popular bar/lounge in the block, could no longer accomodate desperate partiers quequing all night long, someone got an idea. Since it's opening in April 2010, Luv Superlounge, operated by the same owners of Macaroni Market and Boutique Fuction, became an ideal, easy haven to late nighters, expats and local hipsters, who enjoy good drinks, good music and good company in their 20s to youthful 40s. As currently the "It" spot in the area, it caters to beverage brand and DJ parties. Opens from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays, closes at 5 p.m. on weekends. Closed on Mondays.
Price Range: Varies
Location: 116-15 Itaewon-dong, behind Samsonite
Telephone: 02-794-9989
Mama Superlounge, aka Mama Gorilla
A Monkey Beach (a crazy pole-dancing bar for let's-get-trashed singles) in the north side of Seoul is Papa Gorilla located near Hongik University in Mapo-gu. Papa Gorilla's got a fancy wife in November 2010 and called her, what else, Mama Gorilla, a nickname of Mama Superlounge. The infamous Bucket Cocktail costs 10,000 won, which can be shared with 2 or 3 persons. If you happen to be in the Hongdae area and in the mood for a fun night out without hitting a real club, this new club-style bar is the best bet for carefree enjoyment - without a fear of running into people you know. Opens until 7 a.m. nightly.
Price Range: 5,000 won cover charge
Location: Near By The Way in Hongdae
Telephone: 010-9086-9123 / 010-9920-8165
Monkey Beach
Tired of posers who, you think deep down, don't know what serious fun is all about? Drag'em to naughty ol' Monkey Beach where there is seasonless fun in the unlikely glitterama 'hood called Apgujeong-dong, buy'em the very notorious "bucket" of cocktails and show'em you can pole dance under green laser beams. Not exactly reputed to be an ideal spot for romancing your current or future spouse(s), but that depends on how substantial you wanna get with who, when and how. Enough is said before gettin' wasted! Opens at sundown and once there Monkey Beach fans don't recall ever leaving the place. www.monkeybeach.co.kr (for English direction)
Price Range: 15,000 won for a bucket of cocktail
Location: B1, 662-15 Sinsa-dong (near Galleria Dept Store)
Telephone: 011-748-7390 / 010-3614-7390
Naos Nova
CLOSED: Created by the Korean-born Paris-educated fashion designer, this stunning work of architecture, interior design, graphic art and poetry combined to serve French cuisine and champagne is too "haute" to be in Korea. Each of the three exquisite floors top to bottom are called Heaven, Earth and Hell, and you can tell exactly where the proprietor throws his famous Halloween party every year. Perfect for classy private events. www.naosnova.net
Price Range: 40,000 won and up
Location: Huam-dong, Namsan
Telephone: 02-754-2202
If freshly baked earl grey chiffon cake, caramel pudding, citron macaron make your knees weak, here at Passion5 you will swoon along with the cafe's loyal fans who never seem to leave the coveted corner seats. Operated by SPC Group, which owns a number of bakery, cafe and restaurant chains, including Queen's Park in South Korea, this famous dessert cafe offers assorted munches from its own kitchen as well as partner brands, such as Paris Croissant. Opens daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price Range: 10,000 won
Location: 272 Itaewon-ro SPC Bldg.
Telephone: 02-2071-9505
Pierrot Strike
Nightly going out just gets fun at Pierrot Strike, a neat combo of a 12-lane bowling alley and a pub located at the center of Korean trends in Apgujeong-dong. This is not an ol'school bowling here. Surrounded by wall-size images of edgy dark clowns and ear-deafening electro dance music, revelers sip cocktails, schmoose at the bar and engage in a game or two with glow-in-the-dark balls under the black light. Opens daily from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. www.pierrotstrike.co.kr
Price Range: 5,000 won per game + shoe rental 1500 won
Location: 818 Seolleung-ro
Telephone: 02-6007-8008
One of the hotspots in the Itaewon club scene attracts the city's trendsetters. This is a major gay joint but mainstream pop stars, who are non-gay, emulating Madonna and/or Britney showcase their latest release here proves gay scenes are accounted for pop sensation here as well.
Price Range: Varies
Location: Itaewon
CLOSED: The latest addition to the city's clubbing scenes is Rococo since December 9, 2010 and is the only legitimate "straight" club in the famous entertainment district. Not rated to be the top but remains popular among general-standard techno music lovers and not-too-picky bar flies. Check out the Web site for nightly events. www.club-rococo.com
Price Range: Varies
Location: 737-32 Hannam-dong, Basement of IP Boutique Hotel
Telephone: 02-790-2269
The Lounge, Hotel The Plaza
No more dowdy in downtown please! Following the renovated Chosun Hotel nearby, the city's old Plaza Hotel opened anew, with the help of sophiticated Italian touch by designer Guido Ciompi, to surprise not only business travellers but also local trendsetters. The new concept is stylish boutique hotel-cum-trend-central featuring a metal swoosh as Concierge and a swank lobby equipped with a must-see, The Lounge, directly from which Cosmpolitan drinkers can view the landmark City Hall Plaza. Seoul has never seen The Plaza this chic. Cafe on the lobby floor opens from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Bar (from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. next day) is below. www.hoteltheplaza.com
Price Range: Varies
Location: 23 Taepyeongno 2-ga, in front of the City Hall downtown Seoul
Telephone: 02-310-7400
The Opus
The Opus is all about wee hour entertaining Korea deluxe. A party kicks off with multiple shows to get your weary clients into the mood for singing. ONLY after a mime dance, a geisha dance, a lingerie dance, show-within-show DJ shows, a crossdresser slapstick show, a boyband show and a strip show is the old school karaoke round table of whiskey, wine, food and soft drinks. Read: this place for gold card and up. www.theopus.co.kr
Price Range: Varies
Location: B1, Baeksin Bldg. 630-19 Sinsa-dong (near Dosan Park)
Telephone: 02-514-9283~4
A cozy indie-style club to improve the Itaewon nightlife since September 2010 is Venue, a small underground spot only dozens of partiers become a full house. But the size game is played well here; Japanese-Korean proprietors' connection to the international house DJ community has brought big DJs to please the city's small but exclusive fashion- and trend-savvy crowd. Opens at 7 p.m. daily; closes at 2 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and at 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Price Range: Varies
Location: 119-29 Itaewon-dong, behind the Samsonite store in Itaewon
Telephone: 02-790-0840
Wooyoungmi Manmade
Noted menswear fashion designer Woo Young-mi moved her base from Paris to her home turf in Seoul in May 2012. The new six-storied building where she originally had her atelier for almost three decades comes with stores, a gallery and a cafe and has become the it-spot for contemporary art openings and other cultural events. www.wooyoungmi.com
Price Range: Varies
Location: 35 Seolleung-ro 153-gil
Telephone: 02-515-8897

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