57 Best Bars in Seoul, South Korea

Illu Wine

Jamsil

This wine bar has a terrific bottle selection at prices that, when compared to other wine bars in the area, won't break the bank. The gorgeous wooden interior is intimate and softly lit, making it the perfect place for a romantic conversation over a glass or two of vino. They also serve pizza, pasta, and Italian salads.

16 Baekjegobun-ro, 7-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul, 05501, South Korea
050-7148–26026

Jebi Dabang

Hongdae

A cafe that transitions into a bar at night, Jebi Dabang is a great place for non-drinkers and drinkers alike to get a feel for Hongdae nightlife. Operated by an architectural studio named CTR that also dabbles in both sound production and publishing, the bar’s name means "Swallows Cafe." It refers to a salon of the same name that poet Yi Sang opened for intellectuals in the early 20th century. Decorated with books and posters by local artists, Jebi has a counter with a bar and seats perched against a large window on the first floor and a small stage in the basement level that hosts live music concerts. Come for the moka pot coffee; stay for the music.

Jong 3-pocha

Jongno-gu

While not a conventional bar per se, Jong 3-pocha is a row of pochas (tented bars) outside of Jongno 3-ga Station. It's one of a dozen such streets left in the city and rare in its longtime hospitality of the LGBTQ+ community. The experience varies from pocha to pocha, but expect plastic lawn furniture seating, green bottles of soju, and generous helpings of seafood. The limited space and unfamiliar foods might be intimidating at first, but after a drink or two, you’ll become enamored of the moody, orange lights and the soft-at-heart ladies in charge.

28 Supyo-ro 26-gil, Seoul, South Korea

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Kiwa Taproom

Jongno-gu

If you're exploring the hanoks of the Bukchon Village and need a crisp brew, head to this quiet, atmospheric craft beer taproom for a self-serve pale ale, IPA, or saison. Its traditional setting is enchanting, whether you're here during the day and light streams in from the roof or you're on the illuminated patio at night. Bar snacks like chicken wings and fries are also available.

74-7 Yulgok-ro 1-gil, Seoul, South Korea
02-733–1825

Le Chamber

Gangnam-gu

In a sea of luxurious stores, find a hidden retreat in this speakeasy behind a bookcase in a Cheongdam alleyway (push the book and the door opens). The library-like lounge has an illuminated bar and sparkling chandeliers, giving it an air of sophistication that complements the neighborhood well. There's an excellent whiskey list and unique, if a bit pricey, cocktails.

Lionheart

Jamsil

A New York speakeasy vibe permeates this old school cocktail bar near Seokchon Lake, especially with its dark wooden bar lined with leather chairs, menu featuring New York strip steak, and a whisky library.

M29 Bar

Yeouido

Attached to the fine dining restaurant Mariposa within the Fairmont Ambassador Hotel, this sleek and sultry bar is known for its wide whisky selection, excellent cocktails, and views of the Han River.

Marcel

Yeouido

In the basement of the Yeouido Park Centre, Seoul—Marriott Executive Apartments lies this charming French bistro and bar. Decorated with vintage posters, black and white portraits of classic film stars, dripping candles, and fresh flowers, it’s easy to believe you made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Montmartre. The cocktail and whisky lineup is substantial while the food menu is limited. It just includes tapas such as prosciutto platters or bruschetta, but who needs food when a chalkboard on the wall declares cheekily that “every empty bottle is filled with stories”?

8 Yeoui-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
02-70–4179–7509

Marque d'Amour

Jung-gu

The blue velvet seating, dark wood, and glamorous details of this cocktail bar make for a sumptuous setting to sip drinks that often tell a story about Korea. The signature Spirit of Jeju highlights tangerines from the island and is served in citrus over ice. Other fanciful presentations are common; you might just find your coupe glass is topped with an orb of smoke. Mocktails are also available.

MODECi/ Henz Club

Hongdae

Two of the hottest clubs to open in the area in the past five years, both MODECi and Henz Club operate out of a five-story building near Hongik University’s main gate and are both run by street apparel brand Henz Clothing. MODECi, located on the building’s fifth floor, focuses on playing hip hop and funk music while Henz, on the basement level, leans toward bass-heavy and lyrical music. With tall windows facing the street and a spacious rooftop, the former is a great option for clubgoers who feel claustrophobic in closed-off spaces and the latter is more of an intense, packed experience for those looking to mingle.

Mr. Ahn’s Craft Makgeolli

Itaewon

Although makgeolli (Korean rice wine) is typically known as the common man’s drink, Mr. Ahn’s Craft Makgeolli is anything but down-to-earth. The bar is entered through a private garden off the main street of Gyeongridan and the mostly black decor attenuates the sizable, communal table adorned with flowers at the center. The menu is seasonal and features only high-end, organic wines, offering pairings with elevated Korean dishes. The portions are small, and the prices are higher than average, but the bar's posh take on Korean food and drink makes it worth it.

Platoon Kunsthalle

Gangnam-gu

The bar of the Platoon arts complex draws in an arty crowd from around town. The bar makes for a good early evening drink after checking out exhibitions at the complex. They're closed on Sunday.

Rooftop Bar Kloud

Gangnam-gu

Perched at the top of the AC Hotel Gangnam, this stylish, upscale bar embraces a New York City speakeasy theme and features a world-class menu of wines, whiskeys, beer, and cocktails, as well as impressive views of N Seoul Tower and Gangnam. Dinner is served from 6 pm to 9 pm. Reservations are recommended. 

Saemaeul Pocha

Jamsil

A great place to dive into a proper Korean drinking experience is this lively bar on Bangi Matgol (Food Alley). Like all pocha, food is the real star of the show, with menu items such as buchujeon (seafood chive pancake), nogari (small pollack), and tongmanul dalk ddongjib yachae bokkum (fried garlic chicken gizzards and vegetables). All of this is washed down with plenty of beer and soju, of course. The fact that this place is open 24/7 means that things can get a bit rowdy late at night. When the weather is mild, the windows open, and you can enjoy the buzzing street life from the comfort of your own table.

Ogeum-ro, 11 gil, Seoul, 05548, South Korea
02-499–2104

Seendosi

Jung-gu

Located on the fifth floor of an industrial warehouse, this artsy and ornate bar is a must-see for Euljiro area first-timers. Simple cocktails and a few craft beers are served in the space, better defined by its decor of neon lights and kitschy objects. Visitors can also bring their drinks to the rooftop, furnished simply with lawn furniture and a digital waterfall.

Seoul Gypsy

Jongno-gu

A craft beer bar built into a hanok, Seoul Gypsy's brewery and taproom is beloved by the city’s judgiest beer aficionados. Located on the quieter end of Jongno 3-ga, its off-the-beaten-path location means that few customers stumble into the bar by coincidence. While its cozy ambiance certainly adds to Seoul Gypsy’s reputation, the range of unique beers available is the real draw. The seasonal beer menu highlights brews made with local ingredients such as the Twist Gose, a sour beer made with Korean rice wine culture, and the Summer Fling, a farmhouse ale brewed with local peppercorns and tangerines from Jeju Island.

Southside Parlor

Itaewon

Originally founded by three friends from Texas, Southside Parlor started as a small taco truck before becoming an internationally recognized bar topping "best bar" lists all over the world. The two-story space with a rooftop view of N Seoul Tower has great cocktails, a long-list of bar foods (tacos, burgers, and nachos) and hookahs on the menu. With a dart board in one corner and a retro Street Fighter arcade in another, the space has an American feel. Everyone on staff speaks English and 1990s hip-hop plays through the speakers. With regular trivia nights and burlesque shows, Southside is a bit of home away from home for anyone craving a bit of the United States on their Korea travels.

Story of the Blue Star

Jongno-gu

One of the most unique makgeolli (rice wine) bars in town, Story of the Blue Star is a relaxed pub in an unassuming old hanok. The owner, Soon—a former stage actor and world traveler—adds green tea, taro, and other herbs to the wine to create a range of interesting drinks. The food here may be simple but everything is fresh and tasty.

17--1 Insa--dong 16--gil, Seoul, South Korea
02-734--3095

Suldabang

Jung-gu

Before modern cafes became the norm across South Korea, people visited dabangs, establishments much like today’s coffeeshops. This contemporary dabang has a twist: it serves cocktails made with sul (traditional Korean alcohol) along with light snacks. As sul is continuing to evolve, the availability of the liquor is subject to change. However, the Jeju-bada, made with tangerines from Jeju Island, and Euljiro, made with famous Samhae soju, are two Suldabang signatures.

The Griffin Bar

Dongdaemun

A grand piano and suave bartenders in white tuxedos lend a 1920s vibe to this cosmopolitan hotel rooftop bar. Craft cocktails, regular live jazz bands, and a terrace featuring one of the best views of Heunginjimun Gate make this a splendid place to while away an evening. The prices reflect the posh ambiance—expect to pay upwards of ₩20,000 per cocktail.

The Hill

Itaewon

This street of bars and clubs is the center of nightlife for gay men in Seoul. As same-sex rights are not recognized by the South Korean government, the street is also a safe haven for the community and should not be regarded as a tourist attraction. That being said, gay men and allies accompanied by gay men can feel free to let loose here. Bars like Trance, Trunk, Queen, and Why Not offer cocktails, dancing, drag shows, and more. 

Usadan-ro 12-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Top Cloud

Jongno-gu

Top Cloud offers a romantic night view from the 33rd floor of the Jongno Tower. Excellent for an after-dinner drink with a date, but be warned that cocktails start at around W20,000 and shoot up quickly from there.

Vudu

Seocho-gu

This cool little basement bar at the top of Gangnam's "Meat Alley" attracts both an expat and Korean clientele. It's most famous for its darts and beer pong, though if you arrive early enough and sidle up to the counter, owner LJ will regale you with stories of how the neighborhood has grown and changed over the decade and a half since she set up shop. Vudu is a great place to roll up to alone; if you stay long enough, you'll probably make friends with most of the bar.

45 Seocho-daero 75-gil, Seoul, 06614, South Korea
02-534–8006

Vurt

Hongdae

One of the edgiest venues in Seoul, Vurt is a techno club that highlights local electronic music DJs and calls itself a music venue with “sounds from the ancient future.” To enter, you have to get past a front door on the first floor and walk down a long corridor in the basement that gives Vurt an authentic underground feel. This is further accentuated with the club’s decor: concrete walls, dim lights, minimal furniture, and a bar tucked in the back. The scene is less friendly than others, but it's a must-visit for music lovers of this genre of music.

VVertigo

Yeouido

The trendy ninth floor rooftop bar and lounge is popular with a young professional crowd, and it's a great spot to catch the sunset and watch nighttime Seoul slowly come to life. The mini-table grills, craft beer, and make your own G&T menu are pluses, with a minus being the hefty price tag (note that it costs more to sit on the cozy sofas than at a regular table). But it’s all about location, thus the expense reflects the sought-after ambiance.

Woodstock

Seocho-gu

While Gangnam is famous for its K-pop, hip-hop, and electronic music dance clubs, this bar offers a refuge for any rock and rollers who may find themselves in this otherwise musically unfriendly terrain. With draft beer and cocktails, Woodstock keeps the rock dream alive with monitors playing music videos that are blasted through the bar's speakers. Think: AC/DC, Guns 'n Roses, and Nirvana. The owner, who will also pour your beer, takes requests, but just be sure not to ask for any BTS songs. 

Zoo Sindang

Dongdaemun

Meant to resemble an old-fashioned fortune-telling shop on the outside, this fanciful speakeasy looks like a tropical jungle on the inside. Ferns and flowers cascade from walls and the ceiling, Buddha statues peek out from nooks and crannies, oriental lanterns and rainbow lighting cast an otherworldly glow, and there’s a tropical fish tank suspended above the bar. There are pasta, tapas, and grilled food options, but this place is all about the zodiac-themed cocktail menu, which features a different libation for each sign. Overall, it's like an Alice in Wonderland adventure for adults.