ROKing Korea is a feature column by ROKing Magazine that explores Korean culture and expat life in South Korea. With the growing number of Korean-American expats in Korea, we’ve teamed up with ROKing, a bi-monthly, bi-lingual, Korea-centric magazine, to give you a glimpse of life in South Korea.
Hongdae is the place where Korea’s most energetic crowd gathers. Home of many indie bands and artists, Hongdae also feature the most number of clubs in Seoul. The young and the restless crowd up this area on Friday and Saturday nights, dressed to impress and ready to have fun. The people who frequent Hongdae area knows exactly what they want and where to go. Some want ear-blasting live rock, some want heavy rhythm and bass music to groove into, and some just need a place where they can dance the night away. Want to find out which club could be a perfect niche for you? Roking handpicked three of the most colorful clubs in the Hongdae area.
Blue – Club Evans
When you get that blues, and nothing will do to cheer you up, you’ve got to hit this jazz club in Hongdae. Club Evans is a jazz club with 15 plus years of history. Located right in the middle of crazy Hongdae, Club Evans is a place where anyone can feel comfortable in. You may or may not be a big jazz fan, but you don’t have to know the history of jazz and art of harmonics to enjoy your time here. Casual yet calm, at Evans the music comes first. People listen and pay attention to the band playing on-stage while sipping on their cocktail or beer. The performers are relatively younger musicians, and their website provides info on who’s playing each night. One thing that would make you feel good about going to Evans is that the philosophy of the place. Club Evans is not just like any other clubs that provides entertainment: It provides a space for young Korean Jazz musicians and nurtures them. So while you’re enjoying your drink with your hard-earned money, you’re supporting the young jazz musicians of Korea. Evans also has its recording studio and runs a jazz academy.
Hours: weekdays: 7:30 p.m. to midnight; weekends 7:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Location: 407-3 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Tip: There are various promotion deals on their website, such as free coupons for side dishes and birthday specials, so make sure to check out their website and join.
Yellow – Myeong Wol Gwan
Literally meaning “Bright Moon House.” Myeongwolgwan was in Hongdae area since more than a decade ago when the area was pretty much empty. Now filled with (some might even say ‘plagued’) with expensive cafes, restaurants, and characterless clubs, Hongdae has become a very different place. Some old Hongdae residents resent it and some new residents in Hongdae like it. But no matter what the old and the new Hongdae people think of the area, Myeongwolguan was and is here as a witness to all the changes Hongdae stepped through. Why yellow? First, because of the name that suggests a picture of bright moon shining above your head as you sway to the cool music of this club. Second, because vintage is the sense you get as soon as you reach its door. The honest and cozy 70s-inspired entrance greets you, and as you walk downstairs you feel as though you’re walking down the memory lane, reminded of old days of Hongdae. The atmosphere is relaxing. There are the ones who have been coming here for years, and then there are the newbies, but these two group blends in the crowd just fine in the inviting, open atmosphere. Here you can listen to real music with the daring DJ putting on all kinds of fresh music.
Hours: 6 p.m to 4 a.m
Location: 362-12 Seokyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Tip: They have many cool parties going on, featuring live reggae, hip-hop, funk, etc. Call them (02-3142-1357) and see what’s going on during the weekend. Also, their sangria and mojito are two recommended drinks.
Pink – V-hall
Neon-pink is the color that best represents this vibrant hall. Everything becomes lively in this spacious live music club. Filled with youthful energy, this place epitomizes the spirit of Hongdae area. Every week they have great live shows going on with comparatively well-recognized Hongdae indie musicians. The music range from hip-hop to rock to world music to..even classical. Once they even hosted the 14-year old Sungha Jung, a prodigy guitar player who’s gained fame through Youtube. This is favorite venue by many musicians and audience alike. Spacious for packed live shows, this is the place to jump around, bang your heads and lose yourself into the music. Here you are guaranteed of the thrill that only live music can provide.
Hours: Depends on the show
Location: Base level, Seokyo Hotel annex, 356-1, Seokyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Tip: V-hall has live concerts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and occasionally on Thursdays. They have a set schedule, so make sure to check out their website. You can also buy some of the show’s ticket online. Popular band’s tickets go really fast, so make sure you’re up to date on what’s going on.
Written by Jung-Yoon Choi. Cross-published from ROKing Magazine with permission. ———————————————————————————————————————————————– ROKing Magazine
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