Nightlife in Seoul — Hongdae

Hongdae (홍대) is an area in the west part of Seoul that is known for having a young, lively culture. It is named after Hongik University (홍익대학교), which is one of the best fine arts schools in the nation. It is known for having many restaurants, cafes, and a great nightlife.


Hongdae Playground

Hongdae playground is a large concrete area, located in the heart of Hongdae’s club area that has a children’s jungle gym (hence the name, The Playground) and public bathrooms located inside of it. This area is where many people begin their nights in Hongdae for pre-drinks such as Soju and Beer located in the convenient store just next to the Playground. There are many street performers such as rock bands, rappers, dancers, and artists that set up here and enjoy the crowds of foreigners and locals. Also, there are vendors that have small carts with wheels where they are selling other types of alcohol bottles for people to purchase. The playground has a very urban feel to it with the street performers and a large graffiti wall that sets the backdrop.

Mike’s Cabin

This is one of my favorite places to attend on Friday nights, following the playground of course. There is free entry before midnight, 5,000 Won with a free drink card after midnight, and it remains open until 6am. The music that is played usually is Spanish pop music but there is also a good amount of mainstream American pop played by the DJ. The bar has a very European/Western look to it with light wood covering the walls, bar, and floor. Additionally, the style of the bar and the drinks they serve add to this setting. The various cocktails or beers are served in large glass mugs. The bar is shaped as a large square that connects to the back wall of the bar. There is a smoking section located on the farthest side of the bar where you often find foreigners sitting. The dance floor, located in front of the DJ booth, is always packed with people dancing, and the tables along the back wall are always surrounded with people, resting their drinks and talking. There are also two large podiums on the dance floor that people are allowed to dance on. Something unique about Mike’s is that they serve free pizza before 10pm on Fridays!

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Joon’s Bar

Joon’s bar is open every day of the week, aside from Sundays, from 7pm-5am and has no entry fee. It has rooftop seating, inside seating, and many platforms for people to dance on. Something Unique about this bar is that though it is popular for dancing, it also has a dart machine, foosball table, and pool table as well. Joon’s serves regular beers, mixed drinks, and popular cocktails at a reasonably low price of 4,000 Won. The bar plays popular music and is located in the heart of Hongdae, very close to the playground and Mike’s cabin!

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Zen Bar

Zen Bar is also one of the more popular bars for foreign students. It plays mainly mainstream, new and popular hip-hop & RB music. On Friday nights they have free entry for women all night and an entry fee of 5,000 Won for males. The bar is relatively small which makes it seem more crowded than it is. There is one bar located just at the entrance as you walk down the stairs to enter, and there are long wooden tables lined up around the center of the bar.  The drink menu remains around the price of 5,000-8,000 Won.





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