After getting so much positive feedback from my Gangnam Nightlife Guide, I decided to write another article about the other most popular areas of Seoul’s world-famous nightlife. This post will focus entirely on the Itaewon District (pronounced Eee-Tae-Wahn).
I have been living and teaching English in a suburb of Seoul since August 2013. On nearly every weekend, I have been going into the city to hang out, make new friends and party in the #1 Party City in the World. I usually spend most of my time in Itaewon and stay at a guesthouse there on the weekends. Itaewon has become my second home in Seoul. I know this area better than any place around the city.
So, what exactly is Itaewon?
Itaewon is the “foreigner district” of Seoul. This area is conveniently located in the center of the city, and it’s renowned for it’s international restaurants, souvenir shopping, and incredible nightlife.
Itaewon is the only place in Seoul that’s influenced by different cultures from people from all over the world. In the past years, Itaewon has received a bad reputation for it’s presence of drunk and obnoxious U.S. military dudes, who came from the nearby U.S. Base. They caused havoc on the streets and started fights with people in the bars. But within the last year or two, new curfew laws have been implemented so they must return home before midnight. This gave life back to Itaewon.
These days, Itaewon is the most up-and-coming place to go out in Seoul not only for foreigners, but for Koreans as well. The nightlife in this district is fantastic, with many bars, lounges, pubs and night clubs that stay open all night long. Most of the bars and clubs are located on the pedestrian street directly behind Hamilton Hotel. Start your night walking up and down this street to get a feel for the scene.
Every weekend, I am seeing more and more young Koreans flocking to Itaewon to grab dinner, hang out with their friends and party the night away. Most Koreans in Itaewon speak English, so it’s a great place to start explorng Seoul’s nightlife if you are new to the city.
The international cuisines offered around Itaewon are exceptional, which include everything from Brazilian Steakhouses to mouth-watering Serbian Restaurants. Itaewon is unique, fun, and energetic during 365 days of the year!
For the remainder of this post, I am going to share the best bars and clubs around Itaewon, all from my personal experiences. Please note that this list is subject to change, because new bars and clubs are popping up everywhere, but I’ll do my best to keep it updated. Please contact me if you have any more questions!
Itaewon Top Bars
Gold Bar– Gold bar has the same atmosphere as a typical college bar in America- it’s rowdy, grimy, and energetic. Filled with a good mix of foreigners and Koreans, they always play amazing top-hits and throwback jams (with music videos), and sell the cheapest drinks in Itaewon ($3 jack and cokes). It’s always crowded and fun.
Belgrade– As the name suggests, Belgrade Restaurant is a Serbian restaurant which turns into a mellow bar during the night. Head over here for a delicious Serbian dinner, and then relax by drinking some of the tastiest draft beer in Itaewon. Belgrade is a great environment to hang out around 8-9 PM and mingle with some sexy Koreans. The building is 3 stories tall with an awesome rooftop for hanging out in the summertime.
Dillinger’s- This foreign friendly pub has a wide variety of beer selection such as Alley Kat, San Miguel, Hoegaarden, Guinness and Kilkenny. They have darts and several flat screen TVs. They always have drink specials and quiz nights is on Thursday.
Thursday Party- This Thursday Party bar is the 16th one to open up in Korea, and it’s the biggest one of them all. No matter what night you go here, you can expect a rowdy, wild and fun time. People are notabley drunker than average at this place, and you will see faces from all corners of the world (including lots of Koreans). Drinks are reasonably priced, music is great, and they have darts, foosball, pool and more. There’s even a patio for outdoor sitting, kicking music, and fun times.
Wolf Hound– Wolf Hound is a typical Irish pub and restaurant. The food is great during the day- shepherds pie, Irish breakfast, fish n chips, steaks and bangers n mash and more. Great place to watch sporting events and meet foreigners. Always a friendly environment.
Itaewon Top Clubs
B One- Club B One is the biggest club in Itaewon, and one of the largest in Seoul in terms of capacity. The entire club is underground, with several different rooms, multiple DJs and dance floors. The music is a mixture of deep house, dance hits and underground electronic music. It’s always crowded on every night of the week, as you’ll see by the large line to get inside. If you only have one night to party in Itaewon, and you want it to be absolutely crazy, then go to B One.
Move- Club Move is a really cool and unique underground Venue. The music is throwback hip hop with a mixture of electronic jams. It’s usually 95% Koreans, which is a great experience if you want to party with the locals. It’s probably my favorite place to party in Itaewon and I’ve never had a bad time at Move!
Cake Shop- Cake Shop is the definition of an underground club. Well-known local DJ’s come to this underground club to play future house, techno, disco, hip hop, R&B hits and all other underground music. The capacity is about 200 people and there is a large dance floor. I always meet cool people when I go to Cake Shop.
Venue- Venue is another underground club in Itaewon. The music varies from old school hip hop to awesome underground electronic beats. The DJ’s are frequently local superstars, who get the party going all night long. Venue has somewhat of a European feel to it, with the hipster crowd and unique music. Venue is pretty small is size, but it’s guaranteed a fun time.
Itaewon Top Lounges
Full Moon- Full Moon is a lounge, dance club & bar in the heart of Itaewon. It has a swanky feel to it, with classy couches and tables for bottle service, and a fun dance floor in the middle. On Friday and Saturday nights, this place is always packed with (mostly) Koreans until the wee hours of the morning. Music is electronic.
Boom Bar- Boom bar is another one of my favorite places to go out in Itaewon. It’s upscale feel attracts hundreds of people, dancing to the best hip hop and R&B music in Seoul. Boom Bar really sets the bar high when it comes to lounges in Seoul, as the environment is hard to beat. The crowd is mostly Koreans, which makes it a good place to meets some local babes!
Between- Between is a dining and tapas lounge, which offers incredible music played by resident DJs throughout the night. It has large glass windows with an outdoor patio that is perfect in the summertime. Between is one of the hottest places to go out in Seoul, but I will warn you that it’s not cheap! Head over here for a drink or two to experience first-class Korean nightlife.
Globe- This lounge is sort of hidden on the second floor on the main pedestrian street in Itaewon. They frequently have events with local and international DJ’s performing top quality electronic and underground music. The layout is nice, with a dance floor, tables in the back and even a small balcony outside. It’s really easy to meet people here and it’s a great place to stop by for a few beers.
Glam- Glam is one of the classiest lounges in Seoul. At this upscale venue, you will see mostly people in their 30s dressed fancy and sipping on their expensive cocktails. Glam attracts a nice mix of international and Korean faces. The music is never too loud, so it’s easy to have a conversation. The candle lighting inside is intimate, and it’s a great place to pick up a significant other. The bar is shaped like a horseshoe, so you can easily make eye contact with others across the bar. A must visit for a unique experience in Seoul!
Where to Stay in Itaewon?
Itaewon has a large variety of hotels & hostels that will satisfy your needs to party the night away. Below are my top recommendations:
For a more comprehensive list of hotels in Itaewon, check out Agoda.com for the best rates!
1) For Budget Travelers – SP Guesthouse (Book Online Now)
*rates – $10/night for 8 bed mix dorm
SP Guesthouse is the best hostel in Seoul to meet other backpackers and have a comfortable stay. I know the owners really well and they are a very nice and welcoming. This hostel is in a great location, just steps away from all the clubs and bars!
2) For Mid-Price – IP Boutique Hotel (Book Online Now)
*rates – $75/night for superior twin room
Located in the smack center of Itaewon, IP Boutique is the best value for your money. The modern decorations are amazing, especially in the lobby. Rooms are small, but clean, and the staff is extra friendly. Located just a few meters away from great restaurants, bars and clubs.
3) For Luxury – Grand Hyatt Seoul (Book Online Now)
*rates – $334/night for a king room
The Grand Hyatt is arguably the best hotel in Seoul, and it’s located just up the hill from Itaewon. The lobby is beautiful, and the rooms are well appointed with good bedding and nice showers. Outside the hotel, there is a cute bridge connecting the hotel and Namsan park (where the Seoul tower is). You can walk down to the main road in Itaewon for dining or partying. The Swimming pool is nice and the Han river view from the hotel room is spectacular.
Thanks for reading! If you have any more questions about the nightlife in Itaewon, please comment below and I’ll answer!