Friday Night in Kondae – Seoul’s Lesser Known Party Hub
As much fun as clubbing in Gangnam, bar hopping in Itaewon, and going crazy at the playground park in Hongdae is, sometimes a change of scenery, and a change of pace, is much needed. But how do you go about finding the right neighborhood to try out?
Truth is, with the way Seoul is built, you can find places to drink in just about any corner of the city. That’s why many just drink in their local areas with their local friends. However, each neighborhood still has their own atmosphere and aesthetic, and not every place might be suitable for you.
Enter Kondae, aka Konkuk University. It is located perfectly on line 2 and line 7, making it highly accessible. It’s also less than 30 minutes by subway from Gangnam, Itaewon and Hongdae, in case you’re still looking for an after party spot, or happen to live in one of those areas. The area of Kondae is big and bustling, though its crowds may pale in comparison to Hongdae’s. You won’t be short on options for where to spend the night, or where to bar hop, but simultaneously you’ll also find yourself in a different crowd from the other spots. Namely, there won’t be as many other foreigners out for the night, giving you the opportunity to dive deeper into Korean culture, and to actually meet Koreans.
The big question is: What are Kondae’s best night time spots?
FOR BEER WITH SIMPLE FOOD: Nagwon Snack (낙원스낵) and Daily Beer (생활맥주)
Perfect for the first round or if you want to keep things simple. At Daily Beer, you can get your beer out of a pyrex cup, accompanied by fried chicken or some amazing fries. At Nagwon Snack, you can snack on some delicious pizza slices while drinking your beer – or perhaps you’d want an affordable cocktail straight out of a mini grip bag instead?
FOR CHEAP ANJU (aka Korean bar food): Saemaeul 39 Undong Pocha (새마을 39운동포차) and OK Pocha (OK포차)
Something that Kondae does exceptionally well is offering affordable dishes to go with your soju, as opposed to having to cash out nearly 20,000won per anju dish like in the other big neighborhoods. It is a university area, after all. But just because the dishes are cheap doesn’t mean they’re not delicious and fulfilling! Because they totally are! In other words, if you want a tasty night out without spending too much money, Kondae is a great choice.
FOR DANCING: club dAb and Between Night and Music (밤과 음악사이)
Why yes, Kondae does also have club like joints as well! Some of them are lounge style, similar to what you would find especially in Hongdae. But the longest standing and most famous one is the club that plays Korean popular music from the 80s and 90s. It may sound bizarre, but it’s actually a rather refreshening and fun to try out! Mind you that outside of that club, the club scene in Kondae is a relatively new addition, and still trying to find its groove.
FOR HUNTING: Cimin Hof (시민호프), Samgeori Pocha (삼거리포차) and Solo Pocha (쏠로포차)
Are you single and ready to mingle? Perhaps just looking to people watch as you drink? If there’s anything that Kondae is – or used to be – known for, it’s the ‘hunting’ scene. These bars are far less sleazy than the night clubs you’d find in Hongdae area, and in fact so subtle that unless you knew beforehand about their reputation you wouldn’t think twice about what you were walking into. Don’t be scared, though, you’re not signing your death sentence. You’re simply signaling that you are open to have a new acquaintance come over to your table and start a chat with you. And though the ‘hunting’ tactics have recently calmed down, you’ll still occasionally get to see guys going from table to table, checking out what’s on offer, and usually not doing so well with the ladies.