A Complete Guide to Seoul Nightlife
You might think that South Koreans are always hard workers and work long hours, but they also know how to party!
Seoul has one of the liveliest nightlife spots in Asia. This makes Seoul an ideal destination for party-goers and night owls. Some might even find it difficult to keep up with the locals!
Well, grab your evening wear and fill your glass with soju to read all about Seoul nightlife in our guide below.
Unique dynamic of Korean nightlife
The clubs are similar to nightclubs around the world. They are located in party districts, mostly like Itaewon or Hongdae. Clubs have a dance floor where guests can dance to loud music. DJs can show off their moves on stage and energize the crowd.
Tables and chambers are available, and guests can access them when purchasing pricey bottled liquor. Socializing takes place mainly on the dance floor, where guests can drink and dance.
2. Hunting pubs or hunting pocha
These are singles bars where people can meet while drinking. Customers can personally approach other tables and suggest drinking together without needing the help of servers.
Some hunting pubs are more technologically advanced and equipped with tablet PCs. Guests can use these devices to send messages to a “destination” table. If the customers at the table agree, the guests can come along for a drink.
3. Old Fashioned Pub or Gamseong Jujeom
The literal translation of the Korean word “gamseong jujeom” is “emotional pub”. They are equipped with a dance floor and play music from the past. In these pubs you can hear pop music from the late 1990s to early 2000s.
Customers can sit and have a drink or dance to the music or even sing songs. Socializing is open everywhere, whether you are seated or on the dance floor.
Most people around the world prefer to party with heavy drinking on weekends, but Koreans can party almost any night of the week.
They prefer to celebrate in “cha” or rounds. In several places people eat and celebrate until the early hours of the morning.
Typically, an evening includes two or three chas, but on special occasions it can be up to a fifth. Each round takes place in a specific type of facility, ranging from a grill to a bar to a karaoke called a noraebang.
Nightlife in Seoul
There are many areas in Seoul that are popular with locals and tourists alike for their nightlife. Each region has its own unique nightlife vibe in Seoul.
It is a popular place to enjoy nightlife in Seoul among college students and 20-year-olds who want to escape the pressures of life.
Drinks are cheap enough to cater to student crowds. The neighborhoods are noisy and lively with a young crowd. It is particularly appreciated for its underground music scene, street performers and hip hop clubs.
- gang name
Gangnam is home to the city’s upscale clubs like Arena and Octagon. Young and beautiful dance all night south of the Han River.
The Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong areas are home to a number of extravagant lounges and cocktail bars frequented by celebrities and socialites.
Itaewon caters to a broader demographic—people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. It’s a cultural mecca for those looking for delicious international cuisine, rooftop bars and foreigner-friendly clubs.
Also in the neighborhood is Homo Hill which has a range of gay bars, drag shows and gay saunas.
Watch your manners
As a visitor, you are not expected to be familiar with all of South Korea’s very different cultural customs regarding alcohol. However, if you’re planning on hanging out with Koreans — especially for work reasons — you’d better make an effort.
In professional and personal life, Korea places great importance on relationships, especially between people and their elders.
When drinking together, the youngest at the table should serve everyone. There are also specific ways to serve and receive a drink, so be mindful of those around you and do the same.
When traveling, keep in mind that some clubs are only open to Korean citizens, as there is a perception that non-Koreans (particularly military personnel) are more prone to starting fights.
It is best to avoid these well-signposted establishments altogether. In general, strangers are always welcome – just make sure you display the best behavior possible to avoid trouble.
You are now ready to spend crazy evenings!