Seoul Nightlife: Korean Bar Culture

If you’re planning on hanging out at a few bars while you’re here in Korea, you might want to know a few cultural tidbits that’ll make you feel less awkward here. Here’s a video on what going to the bars in Korea is like!

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In Korea:
– Korean style bars don’t have standing room. Normally there are only chairs and tables.
– It’s not common for people to go to bars by themselves.
– Koreans almost always go to bars with their friends.
– When Koreans drink, they almost always order food to eat. This is called 안주 (anju).

How is going to bars similar/different with your country? Write a comment and let us know!

About Keith

Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea.Personal Blog: Facebook: Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeithe-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at]


  1. Raymond Reijerkerk

    Hey Koreans!

    I am from the Neherlands in Europe.
    Here it’s completely normal to go to the bar by yourself. Most people even go there to get interactions with other people.
    Usually there’s a bar with crutches and you can sit on them or stand if you like. There are little tables too if you like to sit down.
    Most common drink is the dutch beer which is on the beer pump, altough the more specialized bars have special beer on pump. Bottles of beer are also sold.
    Furthermore you can order any strong liquor if you like, be it pure, with ice or in a mix with another drink and even cocktails.
    Some bars provide snacks in the form of ‘bitterballen’ or ‘kroketten’ or called ‘bittergarnituur’.
    Bitterballen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbɪtərbɑlə(n)]) (plural of bitterbal) are a savoury Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal (minced or chopped), beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick ragout. Most recipes include nutmeg and there are also variations utilising curry powder or that add in finely chopped vegetables such as carrot.[1][2] The ingredients are combined and cooked, then refrigerated for the mixture to firm up. Once firm, the filling is rolled into balls roughly 3 to 4 cm in diameter,[3] then battered in a breadcrumb and egg mixture and deep-fried. They are typically served with a ramekin or small bowl of mustard for dipping. They are eaten in Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles,[4] the Netherlands, Belgium, to some degree in Indonesia, and hardly anywhere else.
    Bitterballen are very similar to kroketten (plural of kroket) in their ingredients and preparation/cooking methods, as well as flavour, though the larger kroketten have a distinct oblong sausage shape, but with a similar diameter.[6] The bitterbal derives its name from a generic word for certain types of herb-flavoured alcoholic beverages, called a bitter in Dutch, and are popularly served as part of a bittergarnituur, a selection of savoury snacks to go with drinks, at pubs or at receptions in the Netherlands.

    So, there’s a big difference between Korean and Dutch bars :

    1. You can go alone
    2. You can either stand or sit down
    3. You can order beer and all other strong liqour.
    4. The food provided is usually snacks.

    Looking forward to see new videos from you!


  2. JonB

    I’ll go with you, Keith!

    That’s one of the things that bothers me about Korean bars. In the US, people go to bars alone or in groups. It’s a common place to meet people, and if you’re alone, you can sit at the bar instead of taking up a table. You can chat with the people around you, and if the bar’s not too busy, with the bartender. Going to a bar alone here in Korea makes me feel even more conspicuous than I usually do.

  3. jason

    few of the korean style bars went to….didnt buy the beer’s singly…had to buy the case.

  4. kenny

    anju got me fat……………..
    i swearrrrrrrrr

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