The ‘90s was the time of movies on VHS. Cine 21 and Kino came out in 1995 and the Busan International Film Festival held its first event the next year. People formed movie clubs on PC networks (even before the World Wide Web) and people causally talked about films with Uncle Kim at the video rental store. Cinetown, which was allegedly the largest video rental chain in the country, is now nowhere to be found. Instead, there’s Okin Theatre, a place where you and your childhood friends can go reminisce about the good ol’ days. Built in a western-style two-story house, Okin Theatre is an independent movie theater founded by five guys. Although they screen movies, more people visit the VHS shelf on the first floor. There are two televisions and two white chairs, and the shelves are filled with quite the collection (but apparently you can’t rent the videos). Video-viewing rooms are free of charge, but there’s a catch: Don’t forget to rewind the tape for the next person.
The Korean TV show Reply 1994 takes place in Sinchon. In the show, students from the countryside first meet one another at a particular boarding house in Sinchon. It’s where students from Yonsei, Ewha and Sogang Universities came together to indulge in their youth and culture. Everyone’s meeting point used to be the Sinchon clock tower. Long story short, Sinchon is the epitome of ‘90s college life. And ever since 1987, Damotori is the bar that has been the go-to watering hole for freshmen and the upperclassmen. Now there are five more branches, but to get the full-on ‘90s experience, go to Damotori 1 (each branch has a number according to the order of establishment). Scribble your favorite song on a napkin, pass it to the DJ and they will play anything from protest songs to the pop hits of the era. Plus, there’s no need to feel awkward if you go ahead and sing along with your friends. Recent grads of these schools come to reminisce on their glory days, and the current students avoid this particular branch so that they don’t run into their professors. Get your grasp of Korea in the ‘90s here at Damotori 1.