In HBC, across from the Bonny’s Pizza line-up, there is a little basement bar that welcomes a great mix of everybody for good chats and great music. Jack Ahn, the owner, and local celebrity Pounamu from New Zealand, have teamed up recently and set the stage for the welcoming atmosphere. “It’s a safe place that is about interacting with other people,” Jack says, as Pounamu adds: “It’s also about cheap therapy.”
The unusual thing about this bar is that the draft beers are only categorized, not named. When Jack opened in July of 2015, another neighborhood bar owner was slightly miffed that he was offering lower prices for the same beer. Wanting to be a good neighbor, this creative owner decided to keep his prices but not to show the brands of the beers. Customers, however, can always sample the beer to see if they like it before ordering, and Jack has come to enjoy the fact that people are not drinking for the brand but actually for the taste.
Cocktails and sandwiches are also on offer now. Jack makes his own homemade hibiscus ginger ale that he pairs with Jameson for a Hotel Juliette, and there is also the popular Bunker on Vacation, which is a mix of Jäger, vodka, and pineapple juice. Another homemade specialty is the grilled cheese and pulled pork sandwiches — which, if I might say, are scrumptious both before and after a few Hotel Juliettes.
The food and drinks are sound, but the Bunker also really loves to support the arts. Musicians come in for jam sessions on Wednesdays, Pounamu holds Skool Me event every Sunday afternoon, which is a free guitar lesson, and there is a new open mic called Monday Rant happening every other Monday at 9pm. Weekends also typically hold a healthy docket of free live music — ranging from folk and jazz to rock. The hours are usually from 7pm until 1am, and 7pm till late on weekends. Drinks are between 3,000 won and 12,000 won, but the fun and friendly people you meet there is the real reason to go. Local regular Alecia Janeiro said: “What I like about the Alley Bunker is that you never know what it’s going to be like when you walk in — it could be a quiet night or you could walk in and people are playing music and dancing.”
To get there, head out exit 2 of Noksapyeong station, walk up past the kimchi pots, and take a left at Bonny’s Pizza and you’ll see the yellow sign up the way on your left. A good idea for some is to skip the pizza line at Bonny’s, order a pizza, and go and eat it at the Bunker.
BY: Esther Uhlenhopp