Music & Nightlife

Your guide to music in Seoul, including concert listings and what’s on at top music venues

Enjoy jazz shows and a cocktail at Seoul's iconic old-school clubs, under 20,000 won
Music

Enjoy jazz shows and a cocktail at Seoul's iconic old-school clubs, under 20,000 won

Attending a jazz show in Seoul may sound like rather fancy activity, but there are ways to find a pure jazz spirit without spending a lot. Take, for example, the monumental All That Jazz, where you can enjoy a show and a cocktail at only 16,000 won. Step into the alley by the Hamilton Hotel to bask in the lively atmosphere of All That Jazz. Founded in 1976, All That Jazz is the oldest jazz bar in Korea. Despite its long history, All That Jazz continues to be one of the hottest jazz clubs in town, with a constant flow of visitors even on weeknights. If you'd rather head yourself to Hongdae, there is Club Evans which has been staying in the area for almost a decade now offering quality jazz shows. Cocktail prices range between 5,000 won and 9,000 won, with 7,000 won - 15,000 won admissions, it's a great place to enjoy music and booze without draining your wallet. In the Daehangno area, there is Chunnyundongando. It might not seem like much from the outside, but Chunnyundongando is one of Seoul’s well-established jazz bars that began its story in 1996. Originally located in the theater district of Daehangno, the venue had moved to Ikseon-dong, then reopened on August 25th, 2017, back in its hometown. Feast on the live jazz music split into 2 sections with the first starting at around 7pm and the second at around 9pm. The admission during weekdays is 6,000 won and 8,000 won for the weekends. They’re known to have some pretty decent food, so get yourself a nice cup of wine, someth

Club Diva Janus
Music

Club Diva Janus

With a rather impressive milestone of 40 years in operation, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the history of Diva Janus itself is that of jazz music in Korea. The venue first opened its doors by Daehagno in 1978 with a heavy focus on vocals. This is unsurprising as the bar was founded by 1st generation jazz vocalist Park Sung-yeon, who had begun her career as a musician at the Eighth United States Army base, the only renowned stage for jazz music back in the 1950’s and 60’s. While the venue temporarily closed down due to Park’s health condition, Diva Janus reopened just two years ago with vocalist Malo and bassist Hong Se-jon leading the charge. Now located near the Seoul National University of Education station, the venue keeps its desgin simple so that audiences can truly focus on the performance. While Diva Janus is located in a quiet alleyway, the sight of musicians leaning against the walls and talking should give you a hint as to the proximity of the venue. If you want to hear vocalist Malo’s performance, make sure to come Wednesday nights. Aside from Wednesdays, the band performs every night from 8:30pm, and there is a special ‘jam session’ for vocalists held on Sundays. For more information, you can check out Diva Janus’ homepage and Instagram account (@diva_janus).

Your 24-hour itinerary in Seoul: The partier
Things to do

Your 24-hour itinerary in Seoul: The partier

When it comes to partying, you can go all out in Seoul. From the bustling Gangnam Station area to ritzy Cheongdam, still artsy Hongdae to raging Itaewon, Seoul has something to offer throughout the day for the ultimate partier. Sounds overwhelming? Perhaps, you haven't had enough soju yet.

Seoul's chill vinyl bars
Music

Seoul's chill vinyl bars

Those who know, know. The difference between vinyls, CD, and even online streaming. You might not own a turntable, but you can always enjoy good music at these select bars.

All That Jazz
Music

All That Jazz

Step into the alley by the Hamilton Hotel to bask in the lively atmosphere of All That Jazz. Founded in 1976, All That Jazz is the oldest jazz bar in Korea. Despite its long history, All That Jazz continues to be one of the hottest jazz clubs in town, with a constant flow of visitors even on weeknights. On this particular night I visited, the vocalist Park Hye-won from jazz duo Winterplay and drummer Oh Jong-dae were performing as a trio. It was obvious that every single one in the audience was excited and enthusiastic in between performances of Whisper Not, C Jam Blues and Dream a Little Dream of Me, and by the end of each song, in awe of  the captivating music. While you might not be able to see the same trio perform again soon, you will have some options in the performance you get to see as the performers change frequently. There are two performances each day, and be sure to check out schedule on the homepage as the performance times also tend to change day by day.

Latest interviews and features

Q&A: Hyukoh
Music

Q&A: Hyukoh

After debuting with their EP album in late 2014, they recently joined the festival scene for the first time. In fact, they’ll be one of the most frequently appearing bands on the festival circuit this year, including the Seoul Jazz Festival in May, Rainbow Island in June and Ansan Valley Rock Festival in July. Band members include vocalist Oh Hyuk, who lent his name to the group, guitarist Lim Hyeon-jae, base player Lim Dong-geon, and drummer Lee In-Woo. We sat down with Hyukoh to talk music.   How are you prepping for your upcoming shows? Anything fun planned? Lim Hyeon-jae: There is a song from the recent EP album that we’ll launch during the performance. Lee In Woo: We will be mostly presenting fun and bright songs like our single album “Panda Bear.” Oh Hyuk: We tend to get jinxed if our harmony is awkward. It’s our goal to prepare hard and perform well.   Give us a rundown of your EP. Oh Hyuk: There are a total of 6 songs and the title song is called “Warigari.” That comes from a hide and seek game that we used to play when we were young.   What was the concept for this album? Oh Hyuk: There isn’t an actual concept. We’re not the type to fix a topic and make an album based on it. We make songs while jamming together or recording. We exchange feedback every time, and this album is composed of songs that have been made this way.   You’ve just released another EP album, pretty soon after your last EP and single. Why? Oh Hyuk: The Korean music market moves so fa

Time Out Meets:  Johan Duncanson of The Radio Dept.
Music

Time Out Meets: Johan Duncanson of The Radio Dept.

"I remember that it felt unreal to hear our songs in a big Hollywood film and to see my name in the closing credits. I stayed in my seat in the theater for awhile after the film to let it all sink in, and I actually fell asleep..." 

TIME OUT MEETS: Moon Boots
Music

TIME OUT MEETS: Moon Boots

Keeping up the steady stream of big name DJs, Fake Virgin has now added Moon Boots to the list that includes the likes of Bondax and The Magician making its mark on the two-month baby SKRT. An American-based DJ currently in New York, Peter Dougherty has done everything from being a classical music aficionado, attending Princeton University and DJing everywhere from Berlin to Bangladesh. He joins us in our Time Out Seoul office to talk about his brief time in the city, what it’s like to tour and his transition from classical music. 

Q&A: Bondax
Music

Q&A: Bondax

Even those unfamiliar with the names Adam Kaye and George Townsend will recognize the tune behind their track “Gold” released in 2013. The duo, better known as Bondax, got together in 2012 and is originally “from a hill in the middle of nowhere” near Lancaster, George says. Gaining popularity after being featured on BBC Radio 1, they’ve played festivals such as Crssd, Bestival and Creamfields. Today, the down-to-earth two have their own record label (Just Us Recordings) and 5.6 million followers on Soundcloud to add to their name. Time Out Seoul meets them to talk about touring the world, their impressions of Seoul and their genre-defying music. 

Booking clubs for hooking up
Nightlife

Booking clubs for hooking up

Seoul’s most famous booking clubs, the latest craze in the city!

Seoul music venues

SKRT SEOUL
Nightlife

SKRT SEOUL

Pronounced “skirt,” this is the new hottest spot for hipsters Fake Virgin, known for bringing talented artists, such as Grimes, Bon Iver and Kitsune Club Night, to Seoul has opened up SKRT Seoul near Itaewon Fire Station. SKRT is a club and unique space for various events, such as performances, parties, exhibits, pop-up stores etc. The first two weeks saw English electronic duo Bondax and Belgium-born DJ The Magician. Thanks to the passion of the clubbers, the atmosphere is hot and pumping. The pink neon sign on one wall that reads “TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG” is a great photo spot. I can’t wait to see what other great events will take place in this fantastic venue.

Club Steel Face
Nightlife

Club Steel Face

Shout-out to all the funk lovers! Cho Min-su, who has a solid reputation as the vocalist and bassist of the hybrid funk rock band PATiENTS, recently opened Club Steel Face, an interesting and extraordinary live music club. This is where the bands of Steel Face Records, including PATiENTS, Cockrasher, Dives, Bad Trip, Swindlers and more, perform. Unlike most of the live music clubs that are located in the basement, it is located on the fifth floor where you can take in a colorful night view of Hongdae.

Music pub There there
Music

Music pub There there

Yeonnam is home to countless delicious restaurants and cafés, but maybe because of its market-central location, it’s been difficult to find a great music pub. However, we have great news for music lovers, Kwon Bum-jun, the owner of the famous and now-defunct Sangsu-dong music bar Phoenix, has opened a new space in Yeonnam. Kwon is a reporter for the music journal Hot Music and a critic who opened Phoenix as a place where one could listen to some of his thousands of collected records and make song requests. It was a space for listening to and sharing music, and where famous musicians such as Phoenix and Damien Rice had stepped foot in. As many mourned its closing, the opening of There There is just as welcome. The shift in location and name hasn’t changed the delicious drinks and, of course, the great music. You can still request your favorite tunes and listen to vinyl records. Only available at There There are cocktails named after famous bands and songs, including Oasis, Coldplay and Daft Punk, which all music fans should try at least once.  

Faust
Nightlife

Faust

The alleyway behind Itaewon’s fire station has an ominous “No Teens Allowed” sign and is more wellrecognized by its alias, “Hooker Hill.” This alley was once a booming red-light district solicited by American soldiers but as the Eighth United States Army base was moved to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, it has died down a lot. A few businesses and transgender bars have held out but the street is pretty dead now. At the end of this deserted alleyway sits Club Faust. Unlike most Korean clubs that are housed underground, Club Faust is located on the third floor, above an unmarked transgender bar on the second. Get stamped (it’s the face of Faust himself) and walk into the dark club. The interior and atmosphere isn’t flashy or modern but it’s welcoming and familiar, reminiscent of the Hongdae clubs I frequented in the 2000s. From the window behind the DJ booth, you can peer out at the lights of Itaewon while listening to the pumping music flowing from the DJ—the combination of which makes for a chill atmosphere. The music is most often house and the club hosts DJs from all over the world. The regular Der Faustian parties are a “local nights” series where you can hear tunes from resident DJs and DJs new to the club scene. If you love house music, Club Faust is the go-to for hearing the latest tunes. Another plus is that you’ll also be supporting young local DJs. Get a fresh clubbing experience at Faust, different from the usual mundane routine.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

Seoul Club issue

Get in the scene
Music

Get in the scene

In Korea’s lesser-known underground music scene, there’s a crop of talented, independent artists and entrepreneurs who are creating their own alternatives. Amidst the buzz are three foreigners who’ve dedicated years of hard work to developing their own small slice of Seoul’s underground music scene.

Clubbing in Seoul
Things to do

Clubbing in Seoul

Beating out Berlin’s Berghain, Club Octagon in Gangnam is listed as number six on DJ Mag’s list of Top 100 Clubs in 2015. Bringing in big names like Manufactured Superstars (Aug 8) and Andrew Rayel (Aug 14) all summer long, don’t let the 30,000 won entrance fee and expensive cocktails stop ya. Pregame at the convenience store up the street and go before 11pm for the discounted price of 10,000 won. Rumor has it that Ellui is where Seoul’s hottest people hang out (though ironically, not much mingling happens here) and The A has the most elite VIP area. South of the river, I.D. checking is strict and the dress code’s stricter. No shorts for men, no sandals, no slippers and ladies must have backs on even heels. To stay closer to the bars, head to Itaewon to go all rounds in one hood. There’s less pretense about what to wear and you’re not bound to one club for the night. Cakeshop still reigns but since it’s blown up, weekends are packed and crowds are younger. The evolution means it’s better for mingling, but not necessarily everyone there is a music-head anymore. Want alternatives? Head over to Cakeshop’s younger brother Pistil for mellower times with chill beats and great food (Thursday’s free) or to B1 Lounge Club if bumpin’ and grindin’ is on your mind. Open every night of the week, B1’s the go to place for post-hweshik night fever. Let’s not leave Hongdae out of th

Critics’ picks: The best clubs in Seoul
Nightlife

Critics’ picks: The best clubs in Seoul

The biggest club nights in Seoul
Nightlife

The biggest club nights in Seoul

Whoever said that size doesn't matter definitely was not referring to clubs. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a small, expensive club when you're stuck with a whole bunch of overheated strangers. Seoul's mega clubs are a must see experience. Usually packed with posh Seoulites dressed to the nines and ready to party, here, the parties are guaranteed to keep you up all night long. Places like Octagon and The A are large enough that each corner and level of the club has a different feel, not to mention that they keep a steady flow of big name DJs all the time. Size matters but there's more to these clubs than just their immensity, go see for yourself.