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Korean Drinking Style for Beginners
Lesson 1 : Korean Alcohol SOJU: Soju is Korea's best known liquor. It is distilled, vodka-like, rice liquor with high potency and often flavored similarly. It is smooth and clean in taste, which makes it easy to drink in combination with various Korean dishes. The main ingredient of soju is rice, almost always in combination with other ingredients such as wheat, barley, or sweet potatoes. Soju is clear-colored and typically varies in alcohol content from 10% to 25%.
MAEKJU: There are numerous alcoholic beverages popular in Korea aside from its traditional liquor Soju. The top 4 popular beers (maekju) are Hite, Cass, Dry and Max Lager.
Makkoli: It is an alcoholic beverage native to Korea. It is made from a mixture of wheat and rice, which gives it a milky, off-white color, and sweetness. It is made by fermenting a mixture of boiled rice, wheat and water, and has about 6–8% alcohol by volume. Most makkoli is made from rice. However, a few brands use wheat instead of rice.
Lesson 2 : Traditional drinking manners are still alive and well in Korea. It is an important aspect of Korean Culture.
If you want to drink as Koreans do, follow the following rules:
1) Don’t Decline the First Round – Even if you’re not a drinker, you should accept the first glass poured for you. If you decline, you’ll ruin the drinking mood. Afterwards, you’re safe, and can back out. Cite religious or health reasons if you must, but – be warned – drinking is an important part of Korean socializing, and if you refuse then you won’t be considered sociable. This is high-school peer pressure to a whole new level. So, when you finally cave, and give in to drinking with others, watch out for the next step
2) Watch Your Hands – Never pour your own drink, for starters, and never let anyone pour their own drinks. Afterwards, when someone older than you offers you a drink, hold the glass with two hands. When you pour a drink for someone older than you, hold the bottle with two hands. It sounds odd, but you’ll get used to it. In fact, we recently met up with a friend here in Korea, and he was fully confused to see us holding our glasses when he poured out beer. Finally, refill someone’s glass if you see that it’s empty as well.
3) Don’t Stop Drinking - The big difference between Korean and Western drinking is how we handle our limits. See, the way I’ve been raised is to respect my limits; if we get to the point that we’re drunk then it’s time to stop, drink some water, and sober up. Mission accomplished! The Korean attitude is different here. Getting drunk is only half the battle. Once you are drunk, the real challenge is in how much more you can drink before you drop. And when you drop it is only a timeout for you; get back on your feet and drink some more.
4) Encourage Others – It is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, to drink beyond your limits here in Korea, as your friends will goad you on. We’re used to saying “Chug Chug Chug!” back home; here, you’ll often hear “One shot! One shot!” which – obviously – suggests that you should drink it all down in just one shot (but it’s beyond me why this is in English and not Korean). As well, instead of the “cheers” we’re used to saying, get prepared to say “Kon-Bay!” before you clink your glasses.
5) Drink in Public – There are no laws against public consumption of alcohol or against public drunkenness. Drunk and Disorderly conduct – though not appreciated – is common. After all, the restaurants people eat and drink in are too small to house all of their customers, so many people eat and drink outside. In fact, quite often we’ll see people drinking outside of convenience stores, as rickety plastic tables and chairs have been set out for people to sit and drink at.
6) Drink Any Day You Want – What surprises us the most about drinking here is that it is done every day of the week, and isn’t necessarily strongest during the weekends. When we walk around Bucheon on Wednesday nights we see people in business suits shouting Kon-Bay and slamming down shots of Soju, then staggering home just as they would on the weekend.
7) Have a Meal With that Drink – While we’re used to thinking in terms of having a drink with our meal, here in Korea the mentality is often to have a meal with that drink: the alcohol is the main course while small shared appetizers compliment the drink. Small fruit salads or crackers and chips will go nicely with that Soju.
Lesson 3 : Recommended Pubs around “INSIDE”
Wara Wara Wara Wara is located in the CGV building.
Take the elevator to the 5th floor and you will reach the bar,
built in a modern Japanese Style
The bar's strong point is its great deals from Monday- Thursday
Unlimited Beer for 2 Hours after 11pm Price: 6000 won.
On Weekends, a 700ml Beer costs 4000 won.
My Opinion: The best way to start your night before going clubbing
or on Weekdays to take advantage of the Unlimited Offer.
King Sejong Restaurant: You like Beer, Makkoli and Soju?
Then this place is just perfect for you. Price: 13.000 won. Beside Drinks you get
some free Chicken, Korean Pancakes and Fish Cakes as Side Dishes.
Bonjur: This Bar is just 1 Minute away from our Hostel.
It has a really good Atmosphere.
You can drink Beer and order some Sweet Potato Frites and Sausages.
The Price is pretty good, just 2900 won for a Beer.
Moon Cart Bar: It has a view on all the Street Food Tents around Hyewha Station.
This place has one big tent in a building. You have to order one dish,
but you get many side dishes for free, such as
Ramen, Eggs and Korean Pancake, with free refill.
But you have to cook your own side dishes.
A perfect way to meet friends and have a good Talk.
Thunder Chicken: One of the best chicken places around INSIDE.
For all the Chicken Lovers, Thunder is a MUST. You can order a big Pitcher Beer
and eat some delicious chicken: a perfect start for the night.
Lesson 4 : INSIDER TIPS for the Perfect Night
BUDGET: The budget depends of course on how much you want to spend. In my opinion, you can get the most out of your night with about 25,000 won (especially for Hongdae). How? : Of course, you will have to pay the club entrance fee, which usually includes one drink. Once you get your hand stamped, just briefly leave the club anytime and walk to the next 7/11 or any other convenience store. Drink there: it's CHEAP! Then just go back to the club. Easy right? But very gentle on your wallet.
Transportation: The best way to go clubbing is to take the subway. However, if you do decide to go out, bear in mind that there is no train after 11.30pm, so you will have to take the taxi to come back here. But be smart, don’t take the first taxi that you will spot in front of the club. Grab one near the nearest main street, it will be cheaper.
INSIDER Tip: From 4am, taxis are cheaper. Taxi from Hongdae to INSIDE: ca. 10.000 won. From Gangnam to INSIDE: ca. 15.000 won. From Itawon to INSIDE: ca. 13.000 won
Lesson 5 : Clubs in “Hongdae”
FOR ALL HIP-HOP LOVERS
No Dresscode (except no shorts, nor flip flops). Entrance Fee: 10.000 -15.000 won, depending on the day or event)
Music: Hip Hop
No Dresscode (except no shorts, nor flip flops). Entrance Fee: 10.000 – 20.000 won, depending on the day or event)
Music: Hip Hop
No Dresscode (except no shorts, nor flip flops). Entrance Fee: On weekdays, entrance before 10pm is free. From 10pm, it is 10.000 won. On weekends, entrance is 20.000 won + 1 free drink coupon.
Every Thursday night, it’s Ladies' night so girls can get free cocktails.
Music: Hip Hop
FOR ALL ELECTRO & HOUSE LOVERS
No Dresscode (except no shorts, nor flip flops). Entrance Fee: 10.000 – 25.000 Won (depending on the day or event)
Music: Mostly electronic and house.
Special: Once you have paid your entrance fee, you will get a free drink coupon (limited to 10000 won)
No Dresscode (except no shorts, nor flip flops). Entrance Fee: 10.000 – 15.000 won (depending on the day or event)
Music: Electro & House
Mama Gorilla Dresscode:
No Dresscode (except no shorts, nor flip flops). Entrance Fee: Free for foreigners on weekdays. Usually 10.000 won on weekends. (Depends on events). Once you have paid your entrance fee, you will get a drink coupon.
You can visit Papa Gorilla and Big Baby for free. Perfect for low budgets.
Music: Hip Hop, Electro, House, Party music
Lesson 6 : Clubs in “Gangnam”
Club Eden is probably the most luxurious dance club in Seoul. Drinks are expensive but the club is really cool. You can meet some famous celebrities there or just good looking guys and girls.
Entrance Fee: 30.000 (but it can be more when they have some special events on)
Dresscode: No casual clothes allowed. Dress up!
Music: They play everything, but mostly electronic
Tell the taxi driver “Gangnam Ritz-Carlton Hotel”. Facing the hotel doors, turn left and walk until you can turn right up a ridiculously steep hill. Eden is at the top of that hill.
From Shin-Nonhyun Stn (Line #9, brown line), get out at exit #4. Walk up the hill towards Ritz Carlton. Make a right turn once you see a steep hill (immediately after Ritz Carlton), walk up the hill and Eden is right there. (<10 minutes by walk) From Gangnam Stn (Line #2, green line, get out at exit #7, walk straight until you hit the main intersection. Turn right and walk up the hill towards Ritz Carlton . Make a right turn once you see a steep hill (immediately after Ritz Carlton), walk up the hill and Eden is right there. (~20 minutes by walk)
If you’re in Gangnam (as in, near Gangnam station) it’s a 5 – 10-minute taxi drive depending on traffic. Either go to Hakdong station and walk up the hill or ask your taxi driver for New Hilltop Hotel.
Standard entry gets you a free drink token, all you can really get with this is a beer. Drinks prices are what you expect for a club. There are sometimes offers so check at the bar.
Entrance Fee: Free for all foreigners on Thursdays.
On weekends, it's usually 25.000 won.
Dresscode: No casual clothes allowed. Dress up!
Music: mostly Electronic
When you get out of Gangnam subway station line 2, or Nonhyeon subway station line 7, just tell your taxi driver “New Hill Top Hotel” in English.
152 Newhilltop Hotel, B1-2, Nonhyun-dong, Gangnam-gu
Or show this to the taxi driver–> 서울 강남구 논현동 152-3번지