Story of the Blue Star (푸른별 주막)

Name: Story of the Blue Star (푸른별 주막)

Location: Insadong

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on: 22nd September, 2012

Thoughts:  Story of the Blue Star has had a lot of positive write ups, the Huffington Post even calling it “One of the coolest little bars in the whole world”.  It is a rustic and relaxed little  spot, hidden in the back alleys of Insadong in a converted Hanok.  It’s run by a famous stage and film actor, Choi Il Soon, whose true passion is travel.  The food is all organic, the makgeolli fresh and unique, and the atmosphere cozy and comfortable.

Photo Credit: Mimsie Ladner

LOCATION                                       FOOD

Service:       ****                              Dubu Kimchi (두부김치) :  ***1/2

Style:             **** 1/2                     Mak Jeon(막전):    ****1/2

Ambience:  ***1/2                          Deodeok Gui (더덕구이):  ****1/2

OVERALL:  ****                             Pork Bulgogi (돼지고기 연탄불고기):   ****


Saeng Makgeolli  (생막걸리):   ***1/2   (soft, sweet, smooth, spritzy)

Mulberry Leaf makgeolli (봉잎막걸리):       ***  (liquorishy, fresh, bitter, interesting)

Photo Credit: Mimsie Ladner

Note:  Also available is Mugwort, Green Tea, Taro and Doraji.  These powders are added to the saeng makgeolli to subtly blend the flavors.

Story of the Blue Star is the kind of place you’d like to go to sit back, have a couple of kettles and talk long and loud with good friends.  The interior is relatively small and the tables close, but the atmosphere is a fusion of relaxation and old traditional charm.  The menu is written up on the wall on scribbles of paper, and don’t be surprised if somebody whips out a guitar and has belts out a few tunes.

What Mamas & Papas liked :  The food.  All the ingredients were fresh and of high quality, so the food quickly vanished from our tables as soon as it arrived.  All Mamas & Papas raved about the Pork Bulgogi, which comes with lettuce and cabbage wraps.  

One Mama described it as “Simply awesome!”.

The dubu kimchi was also of top notch freshness, as we discovered they actually make their own tofu.  Mamas & Papas also were impressed by the freshness of the makgeolli.  It is just simple fresh makgeolli sourced from Sangju, but Mamas & Papas agreed it was delicious and easy to drink.

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The Makgeolli variations.  Mamas & Papas tried the mulberry leaf, mugwort and herb makgeolli, but many didn’t quite know what to make of it.   At first try of the mulberry leaf makgeolli, most Mamas & Papas thought it was more like a green tea flavor.  One Mama said “It would be better if the powder was mixed better.”  It was an interesting experience and certainly got us talking, and eventually it won some of us over, but overall it didn’t rate well against the saeng makgeolli.

Photo Credit: Mimsie Ladner

Recommendation: Story of the Blue Star is a great place if you’re looking for somewhere to sit and have a good long chat with friends over delicious food and fresh makgeolli.  It’s not a quiet location, so you can feel free to laugh and let your hair down without disturbing anyone else.  It’s a great place to introduce people to a taste of the old style Korea mixed with a lively energy.

How to get there:

Go to Anguk station on line3,  exit 6.  Walk a whole 5 meters and turn left down a very narrow alley between a parking lot (left) and a building.  When the alley opens up, the makgeolli house will be on your right.  You may feel unsure about being in the right place, but you are, it’s a hanok. Head on in!

Map: here

Phone Number: 02 734 3095



You can read more about the man behind Story of the Blue Star at Seoul Eats, and read another review at Hejorama, And our own Mama Mimsie Ladner did a great write up at her blog Seoul Searching.

Have you been to Story of the Blue Star before?   Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions?  Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!


6 thoughts on “Story of the Blue Star (푸른별 주막)

  1. It’s worth noting that, on several recent visits to this bar, the only makgeolli option has been the mulberry leaf (뽕잎). I’m not sure if this is a permanent or only a temporary change to the menu.

    1. Interesting, thanks for the update David! We recently had the mulberry and the 건강 but they didn’t have anything else on offer (other than the regular of course). Next time we go, I will be sure to ask what’s up! 🙂

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