Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sexy Side of Seoul


Hello Everyone,

I'll keep it short and to the point for those who are new to South Korea or simply passing through on business - here are the top places to visit in Seoul if you are looking to have some weekend fun (to include finding that special person).

Note: Your best spot for meeting someone may vary based upon your income, age and profession.



Gangnam

Upscale and pricey, it is mostly reserved for businessman who can afford the prices (mostly Korean), beautiful women who have no need to pay, and English teachers who want to pretend for the evening that they can afford the nightly fare. Since the curfew for United States military personnel is 1:00am, it is unlikely you will see many of them once the clubs/bars start to come alive.





Top Clubs - Holic, Eden, Answer, Heaven, Ellui, Phantom with lesser quality clubs like NB catering to the 18-20 something crowd. The list seems to grow longer every few months, as do the venues, so your best bet is to Google them individually and see what events are taking place.

Bar Scene - Timberhouse at the Park Hyatt, Once in a Blue Moon (Jazz Bar), Monkey Beach and Hobar (mostly expats) in Apgujeon, and a smattering of bars in the vicinity of Gangnam Station.



Itaewon

Seedy, fun and less expensive, Itaewon attracts mosty military personnel (before 1am), the standard lot of embassy, businessman, teachers, and Koreans who are western-friendly. Itaewon is better suited for those who prefer a cloistered, inexpensive bar scene, though there are a few small clubs.



Top Clubs - Function, Rococo (http://www.cnngo.com/seoul/play/club-rococo-itaewon), Naked, Helios (after 11pm).

Top Bars - Geckos, All That Jazz,  Three Alleys Pub, Scrooges, Helios, Sam Ryan's....in short, there are dozens of bars in Itaewon to frequent. They are all in close proximity to one another, so give them a try and see which one fits for you.



Hongdae

Young and wild, Hongdae surrounds the art school of Hongik University. Lots of unique cafes dot the area, and at night it is home to lots of clubs catering to college students. Inexpensive and crowded it can be overwhelming at times, especially if you are over the age of 30 (some clubs will not allow men in who are over a certain age).

Hongdae attracts lots of foreigners (mostly students and English teachers) and is known as probably the "wildest" place in Seoul.



Top Clubs: Cocoon, M2, NB, Harlem, Club FF (all are very loud, and suited to people in their 20s)

Top Bars: Hobar (there are about 10 of them in Hongdae), Zen Bar, Club FF.

Here is a pretty good article on the Indie Rock scene in Hongdae: http://www.cnngo.com/seoul/play/5-best-indie-rock-bands-hongdae-149011


Sinchon

About a 5 minute taxi ride from Hongdae, Sinchon is better known for its bars. If your looking for a young scene that gravitates toward bars this may be it. Not far from Yonsei and Ehwa, Sinchon is inexpensive, and suited to pretty much everyone - both professors at Yonsei, young businessman, students, etc.



Top Clubs: Bar Fly (this is about the only "club" in Sinchon but it doubles as a bar).

Top Bars: Mike's Cabin, Hobar, Yale Town (great burgers), The Bar, Beer O'Clock, Bar Fly and dozens of Korean bars that you can go to for a relatively quiet drink.



Daehangno

Daehango, or "college street," is located at Hyehwa Station and is great for those who are looking for a more relaxed nightlife. Not nearly as wild as Hongdae, Daehango has plenty of bars, but seems to attract the more tame artists. Numerous theaters and galleries adorn the area (probably more than Hongdae), so this is the place to go if you want to catch the equivalant of an "off-off Broadway" performance and then relax in a bar after the show.



Top Clubs - None that I know of.

Top Bars - All local (the area is fairly centrilized, so if you get off at Hyehwa Station and looks around you are bound to find something good).


Seoul Hotels (Hilton, Walker, Hyatt, Park Hyatt)

All four of these hotels have very nice bars, but the Grand Hyatt is clearly the best. JJ Mahoney's at the Grand Hyatt is a fanastic bar, club, restaurant that is frequented by some of the wealthiest and most beautiful people in Seoul.

Grand Hyatt - JJ's is open until 3am and the crowds can get fairly large on the weekends. JJ's also hosts events on a monthly basis. Prices are steep with nearly all drinks/cocktails in the $15-25 range.
Try this article - http://www.cnngo.com/seoul/play/j-j-mahoneys



Hilton - The Oak Room tends to go quiet by midnight. A small bar it is good for a nightcap.

Park Hyatt - Located near the Coex, the Timberhouse at the Park Hyatt usually attracts a small, but upper class crowd.



W Hotel - The WooBar at the Walker Hotel is second only JJ's - closing around 3am on weekends it sometimes hosts parties and events. Certainly worth a visit if you can afford the expensive drinks.



This run-down is best suited for those who are new to Korea or traveling through. For those who live in Seoul and know it intimately, you may take odds with some of the opinions expressed above. Please feel free to comment on this blog post so we can make the first-time experience for travelers to Seoul even better.

Cheers,
Lonely Traveler Team

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Tasty Side of Incheon Beside the West Sea

Who loves seafood?!!!:)

Not far from the screaming aircraft engines of Incheon International Airport are a myriad of seaside restaurants that specialize in fresh seafood. Whether you fancy shrimp or clams, these restaurants provide for the freshest fair coming out of the depths of the West Sea.



Frequented by Seoulites looking to escape the bustle of the inner city metropolis, this area is known for its fairly decent beaches and seaside restaurants. What makes it even better is the distance - about ten minutes from Incheon Airport, and about an hour from Seoul.



While you won't find many foreigners here due to its near-far location, it is not uncommon for celebrities or Seoul's rich to seek escape here and talk beside the surprisingly calm water - and it is nearly impossible to find a table not adorned with a blend of soju bottles and empty clam shells.



So if you ever drop off someone at Incheon Airport and you have some spare time, head on over to Eulwang-ri and enjoy some fresh and inexpensive seafood.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Autumn Party for Lonely Traveler

Hello Everyone,

The team from Lonely Traveler hosted friends at their Autumn Party to celebrate nearly 400 members signing up.

In just a few short days, Lonely Traveler will be translated into Korean and its paid tour system will be implemented. On 17 December the Lonely Traveler Team will present their website at the Twist Seoul II Pitch Competition.

Here are a few pictures from the party:

Enjoy!:)







Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lonely Traveler Takes TWist Seoul Pitch Event

Hello again,

Despite being only a two weeks old at the time of its win, Lonely Traveler proved itself at the TWist Seoul Pitch Workshop on October 7th, taking first place over numerous other startups here in Seoul.

The event was hosted by Seoulspace and included about a dozen local startups.




At the moment, the Lonely Traveler team is working to translate the site into Korean and Japanese, and by the end of November we aim to have the site monitized, where local guides receive gift certificates for the local experiences they provide to tourists/travelers.

Local guides will be able to post tours for a small fee - but no more than $30 - with a portion of the money paid by tourists going to charity at the end of each month. The the best part is, members of Lonely Traveler will have the opportunity to determine through a vote which charity gets the money.

Look forward to giving you more updates soon :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lonely Traveler Launch Party

Hello,

Last night Lonely Traveler celebrated the initial launch its website! The hosts, Brendan James Balestrieri, Shultz Wang and Michael Porto spent the evening describing site functionality and the prospects for Lonely Traveler to succeed as a viable alternative to traditional tourism companies.

Though the site is only one week old, nearly 30 tours have already been posted to the site along with nearly 50 users registered.

Lonely Traveler has already started to reach out to university clubs throughout the Seoul Metropolitan Area in order to generate a wider user base and connect university clubs to others in such cities as Busan, Daejeon and Daegu.

Go to http://www.lonelytraveler.com/ to see the site and watch the first edition of our promotional video.

Below are a few clips from the party.

Enjoy!:)







Sunday, August 14, 2011

GREETINGS and FAREWELLS from Incheon International Airport!

Originally, I wanted to take personal pictures of the airport, but due to technical difficulties I am leaving off with a borrowed image instead. The original home of this image can be found here

Hello, all--this is your fellow "lonely traveler" who has been writing about Seoul this summer! Sadly, vacation time is over and I'm now headed back to New York, but I'm also happy to announce a fantastic upcoming travel site: WWW.LONELYTRAVELER.COM

This website should be up and running by the end of August, so everyone should keep their eyes peeled for the launch!

Until then, here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you're at Incheon Airport:


  • The airport offers free (and fast) wifi! The network is appropriately named "Airport Free Wifi" and is available anywhere in the building, including on both sides of the security check. Already, this is a huge plus since a lot of airports (including JFK) don't offer this service.
  • There are plenty of "real" restaurants before going through security check--which means you can arrive a little early, check in your bags and grab your boarding pass, and then share your last meal in Korea with the people who were nice enough to drive you to Incheon. Look at this in comparison to the fact that there are a lot of airports out there that only have snack bars or cafes before the security checkpoint.
  • The "train" at the airport that takes you to faraway gates is actually a shuttle... so don't waste your time worrying about at which stop to get off. I always forget this, and hesitate, trying to make sure I'm not headed in the wrong direction before I remember there's only one direction anyway.  

Pierrot Strike @ Apgujeong – Bowling, Pool Tables, Darts & Pub [SEOULGRID guest post]


Now and then I come across some very unique and interesting venues in Korea. Sometimes they are specialty fusion restaurants, other times they are live jazz bars. Recently, I stumbled upon a gem called Pierrot Strike in Apgujeong.
As I first walked up to the giant wooden doors of the entrance to Pierrot Strike, I could tell that this bowling ally was going to be a bit different from your stereotypical ally of old men drinking beer. As I entered, I immediately noticed the massive bar straight in front of me along with the bowling lanes to my left. The venue is constructed mostly of well crafted woodwork and brick which gives it a “winter resort” feeling.
After taking a look around, I proceeded to the bowling lanes. These lanes are by far the trendiest bowling lanes that I have ever seen. The support poles beside the lanes had neon images of clowns, the lanes were well kept and polished, and the giant TV screens at the end of the lanes provide a very chic and sexy feel to the ally. The reason I say that is because the TVs were playing the Victoria Secret fashion show. Instead of giving it a seedy feel, it gave Pierrot a very stylish and classy atmosphere.
The bowling shoes were even unique and hip. They were essentially a pair of Etnies. The only way you can distinguish these from regular shoes are the numbers on their heel. The lanes next to us were occupied by one of Korea’s biggest actors. He was there with his friends and was seemingly enjoying himself. Also, G-Dragon performed at the grand opening. Obviously, if Korea’s equivalent of Brad Pitt is bowling next to you and Jay-Z performs at the opening, you probably are in a good place to grab a drink and probably the coolest place that you will ever bowl at.
The pool/game section of Pierrot is tasteful and provides an excellent place to kill time as you are waiting for a lane to open up or it just a great place to hang out with friends and have a beer. This area seemed to be very popular and I could understand why. They had darts boards, some arcade games and pool tables.  I would rather play pool here than at a typical Korean bar. It is clean, affordable, and entertaining.
Prices for bowling are appropriate at 5,000 won per game and drink prices for drafts range from 5,000won to 11,000won. They also had a variety of bottle orders which ranged from 120,000 Won for Danzka vodka to 550,000 Won for Johnnie Walker Blue. They also have a variety of mixed drinks but drafts seemed to be the only drinks that people were purchasing at this time. Food prices vary greatly and are more like side dishes than meals. They are to accompany your alcohol and bowling.
There was one thing about Pierrot’s bowling that I was unsatisfied with. After we were done with our 2 games of bowling, the attendant admonished us to hurry up and leave the lane because other people were waiting. I understand that people were waiting, but telling people to hurry up so that the next group can start bowling 15 seconds sooner is both unprofessional and rude especially since we were already in the process of trying to gather our belongings and leave the lane.
As I finished my beers and headed off, I thought about what I had just experienced and I was impressed. Previously, I had not been to bowling allies that were nearly as clean, chic, or fun. Pierrot Strike’s bowling lanes were second to none and are an excellent place for birthday parties, work functions, or just a fun night out with friends.
The Good
  • Something new to do in Apgujeong (bowling alleys, darts, arcade games, pool tables & pub area)
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Interior that lives up to Apgujeong style
  • Accessibility — in Designer Club right near Apgujeong Rodeo Street entrance
The Bad
  • Service could have been better
  • Food wasn’t the best, but that’s not why you would go to Pierrot Strike in first place
Operation Hours
  • 6pm – 3am
Prices
  • 5,000 Won per game per person
  • 1,500 Won shoe rental
  • 5,000 – 11,000 Won draft beer
  • 130,000 Won for bottle of hard liquor (Absolut & Jose Cuervo)
Contact
  • Bowling – 02-6007-8008
  • Pub – 02-6007-8889
Address
  • 서울시 강남구 청담동 85-4번지, 디자이너클럽 1층 삐에로스트라이크
Directions from Apgujeong Station Exit #2:
Get a cab and ask to go to towards Designer Club. It’s a massive building colored in yellow. This building is conspicuous because it has a glass-front fitness center (M Athletic Square) on 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor. You will see Galleria on your left. At the next intersection take a right. Go until you see a Canon Camera store on your right. When you see it, you will be 1 block away from Pierrot Strike. It will be on your left hand side.
Website
Map

View Pierrot Strike in Apgujeong in a larger map
Pictures from this post is taken from Pierrot Strike blog

This entry was only posted at SeoulGrid.com on March 29, 2010. Re-blogged with permission.