General Nightlife Guide

There are a variety of nightlife options in Busan for every budget in every part of the city. Names can be a little misleading, but there are a few general rules. The following attempts a brief description of the types of joints you can expect to find.

Korean Style

In many parts of the city, you can find big Nightclubs in the Korean style. This usually means you are expected to have a table, and usually must order anju (side dishes) with your drinks. They tend to insist on proper dress (no tank tops, ratty clothes, etc.) and tend to be a bit pricey. Sometimes they have lip-synch bands, 'animators', or some other stage entertainment. There is of course a lot of dancing, usually with the people you came with although it is possible to meet people.

The Korean nightclub scene, like the general social scene in Korea, leans toward established groups and not so much free mingling as Westerners may be accustomed to. Feel it out. There have been cases of foreigners being ejected from nightclubs for dressing too 'down' or being a little too aggressive in their social advances. On the other hand, you can meet many Koreans who will be happy to make a new friend, buy you a drink, or spin around the floor with you.

A Soju Bang (pronounced 'bahng') is a place to sit down and drink Soju (or beer). Many expect you to order anju, but even if they don't, you may want to consider having something in your stomach anyway. These are good places to get pickled cheaply. A westerner pounding Soju at a Soju bang rarely fails to impress. Be prepared to speak some Korean (and maybe make some local friends).

A Hof (sometimes transliterated as 'HOP') is similar to a Soju Bang except that they have draft beer and different food options. Usually fairly cheap. Also a good place for a quiet night of drinking with friends and locals. These, like Soju bangs, can be found virtually everywhere in Busan.

 

A Pojang Macha (literally 'covered wagon', lovingly called 'Soju Tent' by foreigners) can be described as an outdoor Soju Bang. These are great places to hang out when the weather is nice, especially out at the beach. In winter, they zip down the flaps and turn on the space heater, and can still be very cozy. They will expect you to order anju with your drinks and are a bit more expensive than soju bangs, however the food options can be more exotic (whale meat, live octopus, fresh shellfish, and my personal favorite, chicken gizzards). These can be found singly around the city, and they are concentrated in certain areas like Haeundae (beachfront) and Seomyeon (behind Lotte Hotel). In some places, notably Texas Street, there are merely carts with little or no cover, so you are sitting in the open air. Soju al fresco!

Western Style

There are also Nightclubs in a more Western style. These may have a bar, may favor more Western or underground dance music, and may be a little less rigid than the dance-sit-dance-sit mentality of the more Korean places.

Note: Some nightclubs, notably the Dallas Club near Camp Hialeah and most of the nightclubs on Texas Street, are slightly more than that. Some call them Girlie Bars or Go-go Bars - the idea is that a female 'companion' (usually a Korean at Dallas, a Russian on Texas) will join male customers and expect them to buy her overpriced, watered-down drinks, for whichshe earns a commission. Be prepared to spend heaps of money--these ladies can really pack the booze away; after all, it's their job. Contrary to popular myth, the women in these places are not necessarily prostitutes--it seems to me that the majority are not--but they are still risky places to go looking for love. The up-side: they can be fun places to dance because the crowds are generally much less inhibited, and they will play Western or Russian music--a welcome change if you burn out on standard Korean vibes.

A Dance Bar is more or less the same as a nightclub, except that there is usually a bar you can sit at if you straggle in alone or in a small group, or just prefer to sit at the bar.

A 'Western' Bar is more or less what the name implies and will be the most familiar to Westerners. These usually have a sit down bar as well as tables, will play anything from Korean pop to jazz to Western rock, and sometimes have those groovy Western features such as dart boards, pool tables, and life-size cutouts of John Wayne. The staff will usually speak from functional to kick-ass English.

Western Bars and Nightclubs usually serve up cocktails. So does a Cocktail Bar, though the distinguishing feature here is the 'cocktail show'. These can be pretty cool, if you don't mind watching people juggle Molotov cocktails in crowded rooms with one exit. I have also seen places called Event Bars, which seems to mean they feature a special 'event' like a cocktail show or a fire-breathing bartender. Definitely worth seeing at least once. A word of advice: order your drink (or two) before the show starts. Once it kicks off, there is effectively no service until it's over (maybe 20 or 30 minutes)

 General Stuff

Note that there's a lot of crossover here. Some Dance and Western bars have great cocktail shows. Some Western bars don't have a real 'bar' but maybe some other Western feature like imported beer and a few Route 66 roadsigns. Some cocktail bars have dance floors and DJs, etc.

Western Bars, Nightclubs, Dance Bars, and Cocktail Bars can be found around the city, with the greatest concentrations being in Seomyeon, Haeundae, Gwanganli, Nampodong, and some of the major University areas (Busan National University, Bukyoung/Kyoungsoung). Check our Music Section for information about bars and clubs that feature live music

 

Comments

Ok

 hey guys I am originally from Busan but I was brought up and raised in other countries.

 anyway i only get to visit here only on holiday...I am very keen to go out for a drink

 so yeah just want to go out for a night....

hey

what's up. I'm a korean college student, major in english lit.

Normally I travel on vacation because i love to travel, but this time i'm staying in busan. I'm so bored

I like to meet new people and have beer. So if you want a cool male Korean friend, add me on msn

cjugi@hotmail.com

 

You really need to be

You really need to be careful at those girlie bars there's other names for them around the world but each drink you buy the girl in some the bar tender will give the girl her drink along with a token so at the end of the night she turns in the tokens for money, they are close to female escorts im sure you could ask for something and get it in most places. Just dont spend to much or any on them at all.

New to pusan

whats up, A group of us are taking a four day vacation to pusan and just want to get a feel for the nightlife around and have some drinks along the way. love to party and have a good time, will be there the first week of May. right around the haeundae beach area.

New to Busan

Hi,

I'm new here too. I just arrived from Ireland on Thursday.  Would be keen to meet up for a drink and a chat.

Lynda

 

Good Day!

Hi Lynda,

 Yeah, it'd be awesome to meet up!  Are you busy tonight (Saturday)?  Drop me an e-mail at dacoolest70@hotmail.com

I'm on MSN messenger through that addy as well, so you could add my contact... Maybe we could check out that bar Moe's everyone seems to be talking about on here! Drop me a note anytime!

Chris

 

Meeting other foreigners

Hey guys!

I'm from Newfoundland, Canada, and I just arrived in Busan myself!  I am looking for some folks to hook up with and explore the bar scene... maybe even find a cool hike to check out or something.  Drop me a reply!  It'd be great to meet some new folks out here!

Chris

hey

 hey you from newfoundland? I am attending MUN right now did you go to MUN? 

Reply - not so much

was gonna reply, then I saw the date on the post, 2007. My bad! But I am willing to meet cool people too. For hiking, drinking, whatever. I'm a Canadian girl, 23, fyi. Drop me a message (somehow, not sure how this site works yet)

New Too...

hey whats goin on im new to pusan as well im american 24, looking for some cool ppl to throw a few back with drop me an email if ur interested @ edwarddavies10@yahoo.com im on facebook as well....later

meeting new friends

Hi all, my name is William and I will be arriving on June the 1st to Pusan. Hoping to meet new friends who can show me around a bit, mostly at night since I will be working alot. cheers, Will

Meeting other foreignors

Hi, Chris from Scotland here. I have just started teaching in Busan and am keen to meet other foreignors for drinking and chit chat. Where do I go? Cheers

Hi Chris, I'm new here too.

Hi Chris, I'm new here too. Just arrived from Ireland on Saturday and I am working in Pusan University, but noone in my dept is foreign. If you are interested in meeting up for a beer that would be cool; maybe the three of us could meet up for a beer. let me know.

meeting other foreigners

Hey! My name is Laura and I am from Canada. I am the only English teacher at my school so I would love to also know where I could go to meet other people. Thanks!

Meeting others

Hi Laura, I'm new here too. Just arrived from Ireland on Saturday and I am working in Pusan University, but noone in my dept is foreign. If you are interested in meeting up for a beer that would be cool. let me know.

Hey! I would be up for

Hey! I would be up for that, just tell me where and when. I am available every night next week except not until after 9 on Tues and Thurs but i will already be in the PNU area. Let me know

Great

That would be great! How about the Soul Train bar (if you have a lonely planet it should be in there) its not too far from the main PNU entrance. Thursday night around 9:15 would suit me fine. Let me know. Sorcha

Just to comment on the

Just to comment on the lonely planet having the best advice world wide. I was there in january and some of the bars had really great cocktails / drinks. They were pretty new to me and the flavors I think i got hooked on one i forget the name but i thought if i stayed much longer id be in alcohol rehab for sure within days. So much fun and a great place.

Next week, right?

Next week, right?

how about Monday so..

Sorry I did not see the 'next week' part of your message. How about Monday night so. Same time same place. If that suits.Sorcha

Hey! I can go on

Hey! I can go on Monday...Tues night would be better since I am already in the area but if that doesn't work for you I will come on monday. Same time same place. Lat me know.

hey i just saw the posts on

hey i just saw the posts on here, but the dates i see range from last week to january and back, so i was just wondering if these were recent posts or not? ive been here for almost 3 weeks, and would love to get together and meet with you guys. email me or add me to msn caitlin15@hotmail.com

Okey Dokey tuesday it is. C

Okey Dokey tuesday it is. C u then

Forums

Hi folks, There are also a lot of people who use the forums to meet new people regularly (see the Forums link at the top of the page). Visit the Busan Living section. People there organize sporadic get-togethers and such. The one catch is that the Forums are a separate program from Pusanweb, so you'll have to register again with the forums in order to post. Sarah Pusanweb Management Team