A night out in Seoul

I’ve been promising to do this for about two weeks now, so let’s talk about Seoul, y’all.

More to the point, let’s talk about the ridiculous things Westerners do when they go out drinking in Hongdae.



Somewhere in this picture, some guy in Khaki shorts and a peak cap has his wang out.

(I’ve left out everyone else’s names because I don’t know how they’d feel about being written about).

After about a month of pottering around the modern streets of suburban Cheongna, I managed to synch my schedule up with some friends from Seochan who were heading into Itaewon, then Hongdae on a party mission for the one dude’s birthday.

Now. If none of those names rang any bells with you, it’s because they’re all weird. No, that’s not true. They’re just weird to your Eurocentric sensibilities, Mr Internet reader. It’s time you woke up to the world of rapid-fire, consonant-injected LIFE!



So I consulted Google maps, got on a couple subways and hit Yongsan station to connect with three backpack-totin’ men who, within twenty-five minutes of finding me trying in vain to find free wifi with my stupid South African cell phone, taught me the coolest thing I’ve learned since being here.

You can drink ANYwhere in this country. And it’s not, like, sensible people looking the other way because of some archaic tradition – they don’t give a shit. It’s phenomenal. The government has basically put the responsibility into the hands of the drinking public to not be an asshole out in the streets if you’re going to chug an Asahi lager in public in Nagwon. You just drink it, and make sure you put your can in the right recycling bin afterwards, dude, because of the explosive importance of the environment in  a country where 80% of the people around you in line to process payments at the bank are drunker than Merlot-Judas in a confessional. 


 Be green – knowah’I’mean?

After spending some time inspecting the station’s shopping center’s pet show (I’ll talk about the lame living conditions of pet store pups some other time), we boarded a train for somewhere I missed the name of which, as it turns out, was about a stone’s throw from the infamous (to me at least) Nagwon arcade where I went in search of a guitar three weeks ago. The idea, I would learn, is to find a cheap hotel and have everybody split the costs on a couple rooms.

What we found was basically the Korean Bates motel.


Which is, in this case, to say it was cheap and nastier than that thing Snooki’s been trying to wash off her lip since the second season of the Jersey Shore. It was rad, though – cheap wallpaper everywhere, even cheaper bathroom fixtures, and actual, genuine, true-to-life hotel porn TVs, complete with boxes of tissues on top of them.

No, I’m not kidding.


As featured in that story you’ll probably want to avoid telling your children one day. (actual picture from the night)

So we got ready, us four, in two separate rooms we’d picked up for some paltry sum, and headed out to meet some more people at a restaurant in Itaewon. Itaewon is an area pretty much overrun with Westerners, from one end to the other. It’s an antfarm of gorgeous women and beefy okes wandering up and down between pubs, restaurants and 7-11s. The main street area’s basically on top of a nearby  military base and, from the time I spent outside on the pavement tapping my feet and drinking Cass out of a can, the atmosphere is pretty much relentless.

Eventually, we got let in and occupied a table alongside the people we’d come to meet. Ordered some food. Talked about baseball. Got the bill and made like flubber out to our next stop: a nearby club called ‘Dojo’, where one of the group’s mates was DJ’ing. Hauling 12+ people’s worth of ass down the road, it was clear that one of our fray was on his way out, as he’d basically started the day by cracking open a Guiness. Arriving at the underground (no, not by name – this was a basement club) club, I discovered about two-and-a-half to three hours worth of gin and tonics, bar nuts, and, admittedly, pretty sick music.

Outside, a little later, I got introduced to a local D’nB sound guy / organiser / artist / dual-wielding entertainment multiclasser by the name of Tong, before jumping in a taxi with two new friends and the guy who was crashing earlier on the street (who was now thoroughly crashed). We took off at an unnatural speed for our next destination: the party / indie / alternative sprawling Circus Circus of Hongdae.

Arriving to find the rest of our compatriots in a comparatively shabby state of dishevelment, we took to the park, finding massive milling crowds of people who had all apparently also discovered the drinking regulations earlier that day.


“In the STREET. No, I’m serious as shit, dog. (actual picture from the night)

After discovering the horror that is one of the public toilets in this place (and relegating myself to the dumpster around the corner for the rest of the evening) and seeing off the crashed-guy in a taxi with another friend bound for home and a mattress he could sleep away his bad decisions on, we made our way to the last club of the evening – which you could actually see from where we were standing this entire time.

This place’s name is Exit.

Now, I’m not sure if this is a regular club during any other time of the year, but I have to figure they were having some kind of Duncan-warming ceremony on the night that I went, because it was a street party. The crowds outside of this club, a one story thing apparently made out of the hollowed out remnants of some unlucky bastard’s billiards room, were as big, if not larger, than some of what I saw inside. It was wall to wall foreigners chatting up, getting chatted up, defending their girlfriends against, and getting lost in a milieu of Korean dudes and the now-ubiquitous hot Korean girl.

We danced. We drank screwdrivers until they stopped serving them. We chatted, got in cabs, wondered around the streets looking for Family Marts, stomped, wondered past a temple where people were praying, and eventually wound up in our beds at the end of the night.

The hangovers the next day were not flattering, but the evening was a resounding success 🙂 I’d add more pictures, but they’re mostly blurry snapshots of the Bates motel stairs and this place where one dude threw up in Itaewon as we were leaving this one club.

And there you have it 🙂 A night out in Seoul.


~ by dook on September 13, 2012.

One Response to “A night out in Seoul”

  1. Oh, to be young and drunk in the streets of a foreign country.

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