Take a seat at the bar, look up, and you’ll find sparkling array of whiskies and spirits hung up like Christmas lights. Short for “Strong of Heart and Mind,” SAHM is a small but serious bar located on a side street of Apgujeong Rodeo Street. Run by an owner who rarely smiles or talks, SAHM comes the closest in Seoul to resembling the bar culture and philosophies of Brooklyn neighborhood bars. The lights are dimmed down low and the bartenders are knowledgeable, and (unlike the owner) always up for casual conversation. Make an abstract order for a cocktail, and let the bartender surprise you. We were pleased with our order of "an old-fashioned-like drink minus the whiskey and the orange zest.”
“We don't want to be the only beer you drink; we just want to be the best beer you drink” — it’s such a self-confident slogan, and we’re feeling it. The beers offered at Goose Island Brewhouse which opened in Yeoksam-dong last month are simply heavenly, letting us almost forget about the high price tags that come with them. At the moment, the menu includes 5 types of drafts, 12 types of bottles and a few non-Goose Island draft beers (mostly from Elysian Brewing Company and Blue Point Brewing Company, both of which are subsidiaries of Anheuser-Busch). There are also beer cocktails and spirits. The food menu (priced at 15,000 won – 23,000 won, except for steaks) includes mac & cheese, beer-battered fried calamari, beef tartare, smoked chicken wings and salads. They’re all no-frills, with quite generous portions. As for space, the brewhouse has a rooftop area and a reservation-only “barrel room,” on top of two spacious floors with table and bar seatings. One of the drafts that are currently available is Goose IPA (5.9% ABV), which is pretty light with subtle fruity notes. There’s nothing insane about it and that’s a great thing, in this case of overall well-balanced beer. If you’re into farmhouse ales, you should go for Sofie (6.5% ABV). Aged in wine barrels with citrus peels, it’s got an almost blissful aroma of elderflower with a hint of coriander and a subtle note of vanilla to finish. Sour, sweet and spicy without any domineering flavor, it’s such a deliciously gentle beer;
Alice, a lounge style bar, serves experimental cocktails and equally bizarre bar snacks. The bar and lounge space mimics the airs of an English mansion with sofas to sink into, and ceilings that resemble the surface of a chocolate bar. Order the "Alice Boutique" from the signature cocktail list, and the bartender will whip up a gin tonic flavored with grapefruit juice, emitting a white cloud food grade nitrogen gas. The cocktail comes served in a glass shaped like an elephant, in which the truck doubles as an attached straw. The bar’s dedication to eclecticism doesn’t end here. At the touch of a button, bartenders can make drink glasses magically appear from the bar table and the bathroom with its camouflaged walls are a mysterious find, too.