Looking to reward yourself at the end of a long week? All dressed up with nowhere to go? There's a saying in Korean: "Mul-i jotda," meaning the crowd is sexy and the standards are high. Head to these bars where the "mul-i jotda" and let loose on a Friday night.
Seoul bars you need to know
Baraboom is an "eating bar," a bar that is also a restaurant. The main ingredients change from season to season, and wine, vodka, and beer are available at affordable prices. The long table that can seat lots of people at once is reminiscent of something from Europe or New York. Exhibitions, parties, or other such large-scale gatherings are possible. This isn't so much a casual setting as it is something to save for a more elaborate, fancy night. It's perfect for enjoying wine without too much stilted fanfare.
This is the bar that brought the once-exclusively-Cheongdam-style high-end bars to Itaewon. Though everything is brand spanking new, they certainly splurged indulgently on making the place look every bit the vintage, old, tradition-filled European bar. The high ceiling, the long circular bar at the center, the many sparkling light fixtures atop the bar... everything is really as glamorous as the name promises. There is a dress code: Shirts with hoods are not allowed, and the only T-shirts allowed are PK shirts, the kind with collars. Fedoras are allowed, but caps aren't. Consider yourself warned.
Riding the wave of the single male whiskey trend is the second coming of the speakeasy. At Speakeasy Mortar, there is no sign—and you can't even open the door yourself. It opens only after the staff slides open a little wooden peephole to see who's outside. The “chosen” can enjoy their moderately-priced drinks in a moderately comfortable environment.
Son Dam-bi comes here for wine and Bae Jung-nam comes here for beer. When ATM first opened its doors, celebrities frequented the place, creating a stir. Now that it has become a popular hotspot, you'd best not get your hopes up for a celebrity sighting. An abbreviation for the expression "against the machine" (no relation to the American rock band), ATM is a laid-back pub, regularly attracting the fashion crowd.
Posh. High-end. Sophisticated. All words that come to mind when you step into Le Chamber. From their pricing to their service, Le Chamber is a speakeasy that strives for the finest. Diageo World Class champions and owner-bartenders Eom Do-hwan and Lim Jae-jin offer seven-star service. Consecutive Korean champion Park Sung-min recently joined the star roster, garnering more interest. Their sign has no distinct shape or form, understandably so as a speakeasy, but the entrance to their basement is even more intriguingly mysterious. The entrance is shaped like a bookshelf, and only if you pick the right book will the door open.