Introduction: About Hongdae
Hongdae is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Korea, probably because it has such a unique feel to it compared to the rest of Seoul.
Generally, Korea is a pressure packed society with a lot of social obligations and expectations. A lot of times, it’s hard for people to feel free to be who they are and to do what they want to do. Hongdae is the exception. In the land of homogeneity, Hongdae is Korea’s bastion of subculture, indie culture and street culture. Hongdae represents everything ranging from slightly to extremely askew from main stream. It’s the type of place where people who wear suits to work on Thursdays live out their dreams of being a rock star on Fridays. And that’s a huge part of Hongdae's charm.
Maybe the reason it feels so free is the area’s namesake, Hongdae, comes from Hongik University, the South Korea's most prestigious art school. And just like artists in any country, the people in Hongdae are just different than your average person. Combine youth with art, and you get a unique culture that’s exciting and freeing. And that's the backbone behind Hongdae.
Come here for exciting nights, great design and tons of things to do.
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How to Get to Hongdae, Seoul
The easiest way to get to Hongdae from Incheon International Airport (or even Gimpo Airport) is by the Airport Express Train (AREX). It stops at Hongik University Station, which has transfers to Line 2 and the Gyeonui Jungang Line. The very comportable airport limousine Bus stop right at the station as well.
How to get to Hongdae from Incheon International Airport (or Gimpo Airport)
- SubwayTake the AREX to the Hongik University Station.
- Airport Bus No 6002
- Depending on traffic and not including tolls, your bill will come out to approximately 40,000 won. (45 minutes)
Subway Stations to Hongdae
Hongdae Station, Airport Express
Hongdae Station, Line 2 (Green Line)
Hongdae Station, Gyeongui Jungang Line
How to get to Hongdae via Hongik University Station (Line 2, Gyeongui Jungang Line, AREX):
The Main Hongdae Area
- Exit 9 : leads to the heart of the Hongdae area. Make a left outside the exit and follow the crowds to the shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. On weekend nights, this area will be filled with street music.
- Exit 8 : leads to the heart of the Hongdae area. Make a right outside the exit and follow the crowds to the shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. This area leads to many restaurants, cafes and bars.
- Exit 1 :leads to Donggyo-dong, a quiet sub-neighborhood of Hongdae where many locals live. It has many guesthouses, small shops and restaurants.
- Exit 3 :leads to Yeonnam-dong, a quaint and lovable sub-neighborhood of Hongdae with windy back streets filled with hip cafes, stores and restaurants.
HAPJEONG STATION, Line 2 (Green Line)
HAPJEONG STATION, Line 6 (Brown Line)
How to get to Hongdae via Hapjeong Station (Line 2, Line 6):
Main Hongdae Area
- Exit 3&4: lead to the heart of the Hongdae area. The streets are windy, and you’ll pass tons of small, cute shops tucked away in back streets. Warning, it’s easy to get lost here.
- Exit 5&6: Hapjeong Cafe Street - lead to the backend of the Hongdae area, which has its own famed cafe street.
- Exit 9&10: lead to the Mecentapolis Complex, which has a movie theater, chain restaurants and a large supermarket (Home Plus). It also leads to Mangwon-dong, an up-and-coming neighborhood that is very explorable.
SANGSU STATION, Line 6 (Brown Line)
How to get to Hongdae via Sangsu Station (Line 6):
Main Hongdae Area
- Exit 1&2: lead to the heart of the Hongdae area. There are many back streets to explore, and you’ll pass tons of small, cute shops tucked away. Warning, it’s easy to get lost here.
Places to Stay in Hongdae, Seoul
Hongdae is a great place to stay in Seoul if you’re looking to stay in more affordable housing or more intimate places. That means there are cheaper hotels and more guesthouses and hostels in this part of Seoul than in other areas. Here’s some of our favorite hotels and guesthouses to stay in Hongdae:
Hi Jun Guest House
Hi Jun Guesthouse is located right in the heart of Hongdae next to all the fun but tucked away in a quiet side street. Walk 30 seconds out and there are a few huge 3 story bars, underground indie clubs and even large mega clubs. Fortunately, the walls are soundproofed, so you'll sleep sound. Also, it’s right on top of a hidden hookah bar that’s famous with locals (Nabi-do Kkochieotda -- see below for more on the bar).
- Best for solo travelers / friends / couples
- In the heart of Hongdae
- Easy access to everything
- Affordable with private rooms
Amanti Hotel is a fully equipped hotel (a rarity in Hongdae) complete with fitness center, business facilities and swimming pool (charges 20,000 won). It’s only a 5 minute walk to both the main Hongdae area and Hongik University Station, but luckily it's on the quieter side of Hongdae so you'll have a more restful sleep. It's also halfway between two very cool and quaint sub-neighborhoods of Hongdae (Yeonnam-dong and Mangwon-dong). It's a great location with great facilities.
- Best for families / friends / couples / groups
- 3 Min Walk to Hongik university Station (Line 2)
- Quieter side of Hongdae
- Newly Built (June 2016)
- Fully equipped hotel with gym and pool
Nabi Hostel is a great accommodation for solo travelers, couples and friends. It’s a 5 minute walk across the street to the crazy bustle of the main Hongdae area, and it’s a 1 minute walk into Hongdae’s cute and quaint sub-neighborhood, Yeonnam-dong. It's also a 1 minute walk away from Hongik University Station, which is directly accessible via the subway from Incheon Airport. It's perfect if you're carrying a lot of luggage and need easy transportation.
- Best for solo travelers / couples / friends
- Between 2 major areas: Hongdae & Yeonnam-dong
- 1 minute walk to Hongik University Station
- Newly Built (September 2016)
The Best Restaurants in Hongdae, Seoul
Cheonggiwa Galbi (청기와갈비) Expert Korean barbecue
This restaurant is the local’s choice for best Korean barbecue restaurant in Hongdae. The average Korean BBQ restaurant in Hongdae focuses on cheap eats at affordable prices, but Cheonggiwa Saenggogi is for those that don’t want a special Korean BBQ experience. Cheonggiwa Galbi serves high-end Korean beef called hanwoo (한우), which is a species of beef native to South Korea.
Most restaurants get their meat from butchers or they freeze their meat, but this restaurant has a butcher onsite that butchers meat fresh everyday. It is top quality that you can taste and even see in the marbling. Also, because they have a butcher on staff, you can also eat specialty cuts that isn’t available at most Korean BBQ restaurants.
They have two locations (just around the block from each other), 청기와생고기 (Cheonggiwa Saeng Gogi), which focuses on the specialty butcher cuts. The other, 청기와갈비 (Cheonggiwa Galbi), focuses on shortribs and only serves marinated or unmarinated. (See bloew for what to order.)
What to order:
Cheonggiwa Galbi (청기와갈비)
Here they serve specialty cuts of beef include sirloin (등심 – deungshim), butchers cut (토시살 – toshisal), outside skirt steak (안창살 – anchangsal), etc. They also have pork cuts such as pork belly (삼겹살 – samgyeopsal) and pork jowl (hangjeongsal – 항정살).
If you're unsure what to order, the classic premiere cut to order is sirloin (등심 – deungshim). And because you’re getting hanwoo, there is picture-perfect marbling. For pork, belly fat (삼겹살 - samgyeopsal) is a favorite, but if you've never tried pork jowl (항정살 – hangjeongsal), give it a try.
Cheonggiwa Saeng Gogi (청기와 생고기)
Cheonggiwa Saenggogi makes it easy, for it only serves two things: unmarinated beef short ribs (생갈비 – saenggalbi) and marinated beef short ribs (양념갈비 – yangneom galbi). The unmarinated beef is perfect if you really want to taste the meat without any bells and whistles, but you have to reserve the unmarinated cut before going. However, their marinated version (양념갈비 - yangnyeom galbi) is just as excellent. Their dipping sauce is perfectly sweet and tart, too.
- Address: 35, Seongmisan-ro 26-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
- Phone Number: 02-3142-3331
- Hours: 4PM - 12AM
- Map Link: MAP LINK
Chamsae Bangatgan (참새방앗간) College Bar: Jeon & Makgeolli
Jeon is any variety of food that is covered with flour and egg wash and then panfried (i.e. peppers, tofu, kimchi, meat patties, etc.), and makgeolli is a a fizzy white rice wine that has a milky taste. And these two, jeon & makgeolli, are a favorite pairing for real old school Korean flavors.
And Chamsae Bangatgan has been a local Hongdae favorite for over a decade. Walk past outside and you’ll hear the sizzling of the pans and watch the aunties fry up the goodies right outside the store. Go inside, and you’ll get an authentic experience at an authentic Korean university town establishment. Many a hazy memories were made from the college drinking games that go on here. Of course, the food is pretty darn good too.
What to order:
Everything Jeon(모듬 전)
Everything Jeon (모듬 전 – modeum jeon) is a perfect sampler platter of every type of jeon they have. They also serve large pancakes in both the seafood (haemul jeon – 해물전) and kimchi (gimchijeon – 김치전) variety. Any of these are perfect with makgeolli (막걸리). Also, if you want to try some unique makgeolli, try the chestnut makgeolli (밤막걸리), which adds a nutty sweetness to your alcoholic fizz.
- Address: 129-1, Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
- Phone Number: 02-338-5359
- Hours: 5PM - 3AM
- Map Link: MAP LINK
OU is not a normal Korean restaurant. Most Korean restaurants have a menu that they perfect and then make every single day. OU, on the other hand, is dedicated to the culinary arts. They specialize in simple Korean-style home food and even serve soups you normally can’t order in restaurants — like 미역국 (miyeokguk), a simple bowl of seaweed soup. Actually, you still can’t order soup since they pair it specifically with a main course, which changes every two days. The people behind OU are true chefs, the cooking is intentionally unique, and the combinations are well-thought out. Each element has purpose, and they pair everything together perfectly like a completed puzzle.
OU truly is a hidden gem as it’s a residential neighborhood a bit away from the main Hongdae area. But it’s well worth the trip for a unique and flavorful experience in a beautifully modern Korean restaurant.
- Address: 26, World Cup buk-ro 6-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
- Phone Number: 02-338-5359
- Hours: 11:30~15:30 / 17:30~21:30
- Map Link: MAP LINK
The Best Things to Do in Hongdae, Seoul
Hongdae is where all the Korean youth gather, and you’ll find a youthful vibrance and energy in all the things to do in Hongdae. More specifically, it's famous for design, nightlife, activities, shopping, drinking, cafes, and eats. Hongdae is a big area, and there are a plethora of things to do. But don't worry! This Hongdae travel guide will show you what to do in Hongdae.
Things to See: Design
True to the area’s namesake, Hongdae attracts creative types of all kinds. There are a lot of vintage shops, indie music venues, street performances, unique product design shops. Oddly enough, most art galleries are found outside of the area (click here for a list of galleries in Seoul).
Sangsang Madang (상상마당)
Literally translated as “imagination field,” Sangsang Madang is a multi-culture complex where all creative types gather. They focus on promoting promising young local talent, and they host them through their several venues: they have a concert hall for live performances, a small theater for independent movies, lecture rooms for workshops, and a shop for independent design.
The most popular of their many venues is their 1st and 2nd floor product design showroom. They showcase new designers every few weeks to compliment their classic collection of unique products. They have makgeolli cups that show a waning moon as you drink and umbrellas with beverage holders that allow for free hands. Even if you're not planning on buying, it's a fun thing to do in Hongdae to just browse the unique products. It's also a great gift shops as well.
- Address: 367-5 Seogyo-dong
- Phone Number: 02-330-6200
- Hours: 11AM - 10PM (9PM on weekends)
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/qZuD5vNovpo
Hongdae Free Market
Hongdae Free Market is not your average market. Hongdae Free Market aims to provide a venue for artists, performers, musicians and visitors to connect with each other. Most of the goods on sale are uniquely handmade, and some are even made right in front of your eyes. There are performances throughout the day, and after the performances, you can meet with the artists and speak to them face to face. It’s a fun place to get more unique goods and to meet with artists face to face.
The market is open 1PM to 6PM every Saturday from March to November at Hongdae Children’s Park.
Shopping in Hongdae
Hongdae attracts a lot of young people, so much of the shopping in Hongdae is for newer, trendier fashions that are affordable. Here’s a few of the most popular shops in Hongdae as well as a few streets to go shopping in Hongdae.
Boutique Shop Street
If you’re shopping in Hongdae, you’ll want to walk down this street. This street has many of the unique and trendy boutique shops in Hongdae. Note: the majority of the shops are specially curated for women’s fashion (although there are a few mens shops scattered around).
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/SqshxZHMfJt
When walking up from Hongik University Station, exit 9 to the main Hongdae Area, most people will pass through this street. Because cars used to park in the middle, it was called Parking Alley, but now the name has just stuck. The shops in this area have standard items at very affordable prices. This Hongdae shopping street is also filled with boutique shops that have edgier fashions, such as bold t-shirt prints with loud statements and hats that require a certain level of confidence. Many of the shops stay open past midnight on weekends for those who need an extra sweater on the way to the club.
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/7Vpc8oLoiSM2
Aland is a multi-brand shop that curates fashion and accessories for both men and women from the best Korean fashion brands as well as vintage shops. They have several floors and racks upon racks of the newest designs. Aland has many locations throughout Korea, and they have two locations in Hongdae.
- Open: 9AM - 11PM
- Address: 29 Yanghwa-ro 16-gil, Seogyo-dong
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/hD3db1Hmo6r
Style Nanda started out as a popular online store, but is now one of Korea’s representative fashion brands. If you're shopping in Seoul for an edgy yet classic style, Style Nanda is perfect for that Korean youth look. The Style Nanda flagship store in Hongdae has three floors of lipstick shades, edgy denim pieces and pretty shoes. It's one of the biggest and must see shops in Hongdae.
- Open: 11AM - 11PM
- Address: 335-21, Seogyo-dong
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/5bD1omtnpov
Ader Error is a unique shop in Hongdae that's part concept showroom, part gallery, and part fashion brand. One of the best reasons to visit this popular Hongdae shop is the space itself, which has nooks and crannies of art that will make for pretty impromptu photoshoots with friends. The brand itself has become one of the more popular Korean fashion brands found in Hongdae.
- Open: 12PM - 9PM
- Address: 19-18 Wausan-ro 21-gil, Seogyo-dong
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/PM7aLpZ1D7o
Kakao Flagship Store in Hongdae
The KakaoTalk Flagship Store in Hongdae is home to the cute characters of Korea’s #1 messaging app. Ryan, Frodo, Apeach and the rest of the gang are available to take home on pencils, phone cases, pillows and anything else. The Kakao Store in Hongdae has exclusive Kakao items as well as a Kakao Friends concept museum. Here you’ll see the creation process for the characters, and get to fanboy/girl over them. The entry fee comes with a discount coupon for the ticket price, so you’ll get to see if for free if you’re buying something anyway.
- Open: 10:30AM - 10PM
- Address: 162 Yanghwa-ro, Donggyo-dong
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/rWngd8zWcN62
Line Store in Hongdae
Maybe you’re a Line user with more love for Brown and Cony. The Line Store in Hongdae also has all your favorite characters in doll, mug and pencil case format. Of course, you’ll get a very instagrammable picture with all your favorite characters as well. They even have a cafe upstairs where you can relax after all your shopping. The Line Store in Hongdae is a must see for any Line user coming to Seoul.
- Open: 12PM - 10PM
- Address: 4 Hongik-ro 6-gil, Donggyo-dong
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/84atTNas9wG2
The Best Cafes in Hongdae
Unfortunately, you can’t get complex citrusy flavors, high-end service or beautiful interiors at a raccoon cafe. So if you’re want a true coffee experience, check out these best cafes in Hongdae.
The Famous Lamb
Best Service & Facilities
Large, spacious and bright, this local’s favorite cafe has huge floor to ceiling windows and an intercontinental breakfast buffet that’ll rival any hotel in the area. They roast their own coffee in-house, and they offer customers a free refill of their blends when they’ve finished their original order. It's one of the best cafes in Hongdae in regards to overall quality (coffee, service and facilities). Come to this famous Hongdae cafe for breakfast if you. But if you can't, they have excellent coffee and non-coffee drinks as well as delicious cakes and sandwiches.
- Open: 8AM - 11PM
- Address: 19 World Cup Buk-ro, Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/KPpmQvEax8R2
5 Brewing is run by a barista champion who specializes in making awesome espresso and brewed coffee. Of course, like any respectable cafe, they’ll roast their coffee beans in house. This is an old school cafe, that's widely considered one of the best cafes in Hongdae, and maybe even Seoul. If you're a espresso aficionado, go for their double shots and try to take in all the complex flavors that they work on. If you're not sure, go for their strong lattes that'll give you that caffeine boost for the rest of the day.
- Open: 11AM - 11:30PM
- Address: 405-10 Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YSZf7nb52P52
Cafe IMI is one of the best dessert cafes in Hongdae, owned and operated by a pastry chef that has a talent for subtle flavors. They have seasonal desserts and dessert drinks like their strawberry citron tea, which are served seasonally to utilizes the freshest ingredients. They also roast their coffee beans in house as well. This dessert cafe is outside the Hongdae area but is only a 3 minute walk from Hongik University Station.
- Open: 12PM - 10PM
- Address: Donggyo-ro 25-gil 7
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/vuZWeL4p8pM2
Street Music & Indie Music in Hongdae
Hongdae is one of the few places in Seoul you'll see free-spirited buskers take to the streets to live out their dreams of becoming rock stars. Indie bands also have their own spots where they have weekly gigs to play their version of street music in Hongdae (i.e. ska, punk, rock, jazz and hip-hop). But it's not just street music. If you want to rock out while having a beer, there's plenty of intimate underground clubs in Hongdae that has the music you'll love.
Hongdae is one of the few places in Seoul where a middle age businessman can come straight from work in a suit, set up his mic and amp, and start busting some rhymes as his alternate personality as Rap God.
Some performers have dreams of making it big and of going on world tour. But a lot of the performers just do it for kicks. They’re students or have day jobs, and they just want to have some fun and let their inner artist out by playing some street music in Hongdae with people that want to enjoy their music. These are free birds putting souls on display, which is why listening to street music in Hongdae is one of the best things to do in Seoul.
Here you’ll find comedy troupes, rap battles, kpop dancers, ballad singers, punk groups. You can find performances any day of the night, but weekend nights will have the most. Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6PM to 9PM will be the busiest and will draw the largest crowds. But remember to be mindful of the weather; cold days and rainy days will have few performances.
Here's where you can find most of the street performances in Hongdae:
Hongik University Station, Exit 9
Performers usually come to this area anywhere starting from 6PM to midnight and beyond. Some performances are organized by companies, some are just students having a good time.
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/on6gW5HPNAk
Hongdae Children’s Park
Hongdae Children’s Park has semi-organized performances from 6PM to 10PM, and less-organized performances (i.e. guys drinking beers with friends with guitars and friendly rap cyphers) after 10PM.
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/BWgii6bGGLE2
Some street music in Hongdae make their name on the streets and eventually graduate to playing in indie venues. If you want to experience what Hongdae really is about, you must check out the music scene. The indie music scene in Hongdae is the lifeblood of of the area. It’s what makes this place feel so alive and a definite must do in Hongdae.
The following are indie music venues in Hongdae that don't need any reservations. Just show up and enjoy!
Live Club Day
One of the best ways to experience all the live performances Hongdae has to offer is go on Live Club Day. You get a bracelet to go into 10 venues that hold live performances of all different types. In a single night you can party with a reggae and ska band at Club Free Bird, step into Club FF to hear a two-man Beatles cover band kill “Come Together,” then hop on over to Club Evans for a night cap with some urban trip-hop beats.
*Must show ID*
- Access to 10 venues
- Venue doors open at 7PM.
- Most performances start at 8PM
- Check their Facebook for the next club day.
25,000 won at the door / 20,000 won online reservation
But tickets here:
Dark lights, a brightly lit stage, and the deep sultry voice of a jazz singer may be a perfect night out. And when talking about jazz clubs in Seoul, Club Evans in a laid-back low-key jazz club perfect for friends, couples and even solo music lovers to relax to some dulcet tones with a gin and tonic in hand.
When coming on weekend nights, come earlier to ensure seats. There’s limited seating and they usually fill up quickly.
Cover –10,000 won + must order 1 drink
Links (Korean Only)
If you're wondering what to do in Hongdae, you'll be amazed at the number of activities. There are tons of fun museums, games and things to do that you probably won't have them all. Instead of listing 100 different things, here's a few of the more popular attractions in Hongdae.
Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae
No respectable list of things to do in Hongdae would be complete without the Trick Eye Museum. It’s one of the first 3D museums in Korea, where with some clever camera angles you become a part of the art work. It’s very silly and very fun. They also have a love museum and an ice museum for some naughty and nippy fun (double entendre whammy!).
- Open: 9AM - 9PM
- Address: 20 Hongik-ro 3-gil, Seogyo-dong
- Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/mVfqKfhzUJK2
Seoul Escape Room
Seoul Escape Room has several challenges that forces you to play a real life game of clue. You’ll find clues throughout the room that lead to the next. Get all the clues, and you’ll unlock yourself back into the real world. The game lasts for an hour, and they have both Korean and English versions. Also, if you’re stuck on a clue, they’ll buzz you in extra hints so you can move on.
- Open: 10AM - 12PM
- Official Website: http://www.seoul-escape.com/contact/
(See locations & make reservations at their site)
Luxury Noraebang (aka karaoke) is a unique noraebang experience in that you’ll let all of Hongdae watch you belt out some Mariah Carey in large, floor to ceiling windowed rooms (don’t worry, they can’t hear you). It’s a fun and unique experience with ladders that lead to a loft, wacky props to sing and dance with and bright flashy lights for your own personal disco. If you’re not comfortable with voyeuristic singing, they have regular private rooms for your group. If you’re flying solo or want a more private experience, you can also try out their solo or two-person noraebang rooms, which is directly across the street as well as around the corner.
A lot of cafes in Hongdae aren't just for lattes and cappuccinos. Instead, they're actually part of the "fun things to do in Hongdae" section. But we'll group theme together here since you get a drink with them as well. Here you'll find dog cafes and cat cafes, which are common. But there are also other unique pets as well. These cafes in Hongdae are more about hanging out, than it is about the coffee. Come here for the good times.
Pet Cafes in Hongdae
Many young Koreans want pets but can’t get them because their parents are against it. So that gave rise to dog cafes and cat cafes. The dog cafes and cat cafes in Hongdae are numerous, and they're all tons of fun. But Korea doesn't just stop with traditional pets; there are also more unique pets. Hongdae is home to raccoon cafes, sheep cafes, and tortoise and sugar gliders cafes and even meerkat cafes (with an arctic fox, genet and raccoon). If you're wondering what to do, these unique pets cafes in Hongdae are a great way to spend the day.
Click below for links to pet cafes in Hongdae
Lego Cafe in Hongdae (Get & Show)
Favorite childhood memories may include sitting around a pile of legos building creations limited by our own imagination. And Get & Show allows us to relive our youth. This lego cafe in Hongdae is great because you don’t have to make a huge investment to buy the legos. Instead, you pay an hourly fee to build whatever your mind's eye sees. This Hongdae theme cafe even has snacks that are shaped like legos as well. Also, you get a discount if you dismantle your lego yourself.
- Open: 11AM - 11PM
- Address: 359-80 Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/5u3HzG6vCCu
The Best Bars in Hongdae
There are so many young people, usually hanging out late at night that naturally, there are going to be tons of bars in Hongdae. And the Hongdae bars have so much variety. From Korean-style tent bars to hidden speakeasies, the bars in Hongdae are some of the best in Seoul.
The Butterfly was a Flower
This laid-back hookah bar in Hongdae is the epitome of Hongdae cool. Only until recently did a painted butterfly on the door serve as their only sign. And while they have a few signs now, it's still a true Hongdae local's hangout. The space is very intimate with dark lights and floor seating, making every awkward first date instantly comfortable. This instant intimacy and comfort is the reason this is one of the best bars in Hongae.
- Open: 6PM - 5AM
- Address: 409-19 Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/1gQWuwWXnk22
D.Still is a hidden speakeasy bar in Hongdae that would have made American Gangster’s proud. The interior is beautifully lit and purposefully designed, and they play low key jazz music that’ll bring you back to the roaring 20’s. Their highly trained mixologists, clad in pinstripe pants and overalls, will serve unique cocktails for all flavors. Be careful not to walk past, as there aren’t any signs for this bar. Be prepared to pay a higher premium for cocktails as this is one of the best speakeasy bars in Seoul, not just Hongdae.
- Open: 8PM - 3AM
- Address: 410-3 Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/BvdVqLJYLhH2
This famous Korean-style (pocha) bar in Hongdae became so popular that it exploded all over the country and is now a major chain. But the one in Hongdae is where it all happened. This is a classic Korean-style bar that serves Korean bar food with killer soju bombs. It’s where all the local Korean students will go for a roaring good time, usually involving lots of Korean drinking games. Meeting groups from the opposite sex is another reason why this Hongdae is so popular. There are a lot of copycats bars in Hongdae now, but the original is still the most crowded. Come here on weekend nights, and expect to wait upwards to an hour. Be sure to come with friends.
- Open: 6:30PM - 5AM
- Address: 361-12 Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/aPhT5G28X992
The Best Clubs in Hongdae
The clubs in Hongdae are located so close to each other that it's a great place to go clubbing in Seoul if you want to club hop. You can start off at one of the Hongdae bars above, and then move onto to one of Hongdae's famous hiphop clubs. If you're not feeling it, you can walk over to some of the larger EDM clubs too. There are so many clubs in Hongdae that you can party until the sun rises or you pass out, whichever happens first.
Note: Clubbing in Hongdae is generally cheaper than the rest of Seoul. The people going clubbing in Hongdae also tend to be younger (early 20's).
Club NB was the first club in Hongdae and is a legend in the Korea clubbing scene. Playing mostly hip-hop, with a few dabs of electronic music dashed in, Club NB is one of the few clubs in Seoul that will always be packed, even on a Tuesday night. Actually, it's one of the few clubs in Seoul that are open on weekday nights, which also probably happens to be the best times to go. This famous Hongdae club gets so crowded on weekends that it can be hard to move around.
- Address: 361-18 Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/z8wgaji88rt
M2 is another legendary club in Hongdae. When hip hop was big, M2 stuck to trance and is now primarily an EDM club. It’s one of the bigger clubs in Hongdae, with 2nd floor seating and tables in the back. And just like the other legendary clubs in Hongdae, you’ll most likely have to wait in line to get in on the weekends. Come here for more space, a bigger stage and wild nights.
- Address: 20-5 Jandari-ro, Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Yzdkxua4o812
Located in the heart of Hongdae, you’ll no doubt recognize Club Cocoon from its blaring music, flashing lights and the long lines. This Hongdae club has become a legend as the go-to EDM club in Hongdae, even on Monday nights. It's great if you like crowded clubs. But if you need some space, this may not be the club for you.
- Address: 361-18 Seogyo-dong
- Map: https://goo.gl/maps/z8wgaji88rt