Where to go in Seoul for the best bars and happy hour specials
Seoul is bursting at the seams with fun, chic and quirky bars where great deals and tasty food are the order of the day.
- December 2019
In this buzzing South Korean capital, happy hour deals can involve anything from rare wine to playtime with pups.
Wine Bar Boccalino
Located at the Four Seasons Hotel, this elegant establishment is linked to one of the most talked-about Italian restaurants in the city – Boccalino opens in new window. The wine bar offers a lighter alternative to a fine dining meal and boasts a menu of hard-to-find wines, delicate cocktails and antipasti with a Korean twist. During Wine Down Happy Hour, 5:30pm-9pm Tuesday to Saturday, the small luxuries are available at bargain prices – special prices apply to wine as well as appetisers. A glass of 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Vette di San Leonardo for 15,000won (AUD$18.50)? Yes, please. We love the Boccalino Spritz with Bianco vermouth, sparkling wine and soda.
This, South Korea’s first sustainable bar, sources local produce, focuses on minimising waste and creates a new menu every season. The Purple Drank and Pocket Mules are their mainstays and can be purchased at a better value on Tuesdays. Get a taco from sister establishment Southside Parlor and show your receipt for a buy-one-get-one-free Highballs deal at Pocket. It’s also Industry Night on Mondays so selected beers and wines are only 5000won (AUD$6.20) for those who work in the food and beverage business. Love people-watching? Pocket’s window-side seats offer panoramic views of pedestrians. Feeling adventurous? Try any of their cocktails mixed with On A Lark Sodas, a local soda brewery that uses local ingredients in their bubblies.
The Workshop & The Hidden Cellar
Looking for a place to watch a game or mingle with expats? Stop by these sister bars located on the first floor and basement of a small building in Haebangchon. While The Workshop focuses a bit more on food and The Hidden Cellar leans into the drinks side of things, both offer exceptional happy hour specials. At The Workshop, you can enjoy buy-one-get-one-free cocktails from Mondays to Thursdays, 6pm-8pm and to 7pm on weekends (lemon and herb-infused gin, anyone?). Downstairs, the deal applies to selected draught beers at the same times.
For those with a penchant for pastry, you’ll love the duo’s Savoury Pie Wednesdays.
Featuring antique décor, this cosy cocktail bar is nestled on the second floor of an industrial warehouse building in the trendy Euljiro neighbourhood. Admire the rare premium soju bottles in the fridge while lounging on one of the couches or take a seat at the bar to watch the bartenders whip up concoctions such as the Moonbae Sool negroni, made with 40 per cent Moonbae Sool soju. Their after-work special, which runs from 6pm to 6:50pm on weekdays, offers a drink-of-the-month paired with a small plate of fruits and crackers, for 10,000won (AUD$12.35).
If you’re daring, try a glass of the rare Dam Soul, a 40 per cent proof pine liquor.
This spacious bar is set within boutique Hotel Manu along Seoullo 7017, an overpass-turned-park, à la New York’s High Line. Sit on the patio and pick from a wide range of South Korea’s finest craft beers sourced from renowned breweries including Budnamu Brewery in Gangneung and Magpie Brewing Co. in Seoul. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 11:30am to 5pm, all beers are 6,900won (AUD$8.50). The Whale Run, a pub-crawl through some of the finest craft beer bars in Central Seoul is well worth taking part in.
Acclaimed cocktails, friendly service and phenomenal rooftop views? Texas-inspired bar Southside Parlor has it all, but Thursday’s Puppy Night is a cut above the rest. Bring a young pet dog along, order from the bar’s food menu and choose wine by the glass for just 5,000won (AUD$6) each. The same promotion also includes a bottle of house wine for 20,000won (AUD$25). And on Wednesdays grab a basket of 10 wings for 5,000won with a drink.
Big appetite? The Piggy Chips – potato chips with pulled pork, Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro and onions – will do just the trick.
The locals are so obsessed with pizza and maekju (beer), there’s a special name for the combination – pimec. And from 3pm to 6pm, you can celebrate pimec at this bar where a craft brew is just 3000won (AUD$3.70) with the order of a pizza.
Weekdays 5pm-10pm, beer fans can participate in the “100-minute show” – unlimited beer for 100 minutes at 17,000won (AUD$21).
The jalapeño pizza is not for the faint-hearted.
682-19 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, instagram.com/mill2gram_official opens in new window
Visiting South Korea’s capital? Here’s how to spend the perfect 48 hours in Seoul opens in new window.