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Do like an ajussi

How to enjoy Seoul's nights slow and easy

Written by
Hahna Yoon

Oftentimes in Seoul, life can mean long, stressful hours at the office, so suffocating that the last thing you’d wanna do is rush around and move your body trying to meet new people. While this affliction is most common amongst office worker ajussis, it’s also felt strong by the city’s millennials. Where do you go after work if you just want to be out, talk and relax? Euljiro`s Golbaengi Muchim Alley is the representative haven for working class ajussis uniformed in collared, sleeved shirts and slacks to become grown-up boys for a while. Though the delicacy of choice is golbaengi (a sea shell variation known as “whelk” in English), people mostly come here for the playground of plastic furniture that’s set up outside the restaurants. Cheap beer and soju from green bottles are the drinks du jour and there’s a certain aesthetic to the swirling cigarette curls as the lights dim. Replace golbaengi with slices of meat and Jongno 3-ga’s Korean Barbecue Alley exists in the same fashion. Pressed tightly between the other restaurants, Jeju Abang is one place that’s particularly talked about for its various cuts of pork from the island. Save a little room for the kimchi fried rice after and you won’t regret it. As good as the food is, a trend amongst Seoulites these days is to aim for no pretenses at all by drinking outside convenience stores. Yanghwa-ro 6-gil in Hapjeong-dong has a CU and a 7-11 that face each other diagonally within a single block. The CU has a television out front and crowds gather there to watch important late night sports matches while there are bound to be buskers outside the 7-11. In the Itaewon area, Woori Super next to the Gyungridan Magpie has long boasted rare imported beers but the newly built GS25 (overlooking Noksapyeong Station and across from Berlin) stands perched on a hill and has a far superior view. You know, when it boils down to it, summer memories are rarely about fancy interiors or expensive cocktails—they’re about laughing (or crying) with good friends until the sun comes up. 

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