Ipari (이파리)

Name: Ipari (이파리)

Location: Hongdae/Yeonhuidong

Reviewed by: Mamas&Papas on July 11th.

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The long bar allows for individual seating and conversation with the knowledgable  staff.

Thoughts: Ipari is tucked away neatly up on the second floor of a rather unassuming building by the main road that runs through the up and coming Yeonnam neighbourhood about 15 mins walk from Hongdae station.  Upon entering the establishment one of the first things you will notice is the modern square bar in the middle of the main room, which itself is outlined in clean yet traditional wooden decor; adorned with ornate soju bottles.

The bar is usually spotted with couples and individuals enjoying Makgeolli and Soju, while in the back there is more typical restaurant seating and  private rooms for groups to have more secluded dinner meetings. The layout of the bar allows one to come alone and enjoy a drink of Korean liquor and not feel awkward by taking up a whole table. Something is quite hard to come by in Korean bars and restaurants, where most meals and drinks are consumed by groups.

The food and drinks menus here are very good, with a wide variety of well made, tasty Korean dishes and plenty of good makgeolli to pair with them.

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: *** 3.5 Stars

Ambience:  *** 3 Stars

Overall: *** 3.5 Stars

Recommended Food:

Fish Jeon: (soft, light, juicy, delicious)**** 4 stars

Bulgogi Pork: (tender, well seasoned, mild spice, rich) **** 4 stars

Rice Porridge (side dish): (savoury, thick, hearty) **** 4 stars

Marinated eggs (side dish):(morish, smokey, delicious)**** 4stars

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The wonderfully dry Ah Hwang Ju from Mi-in Brewery.

Recommended Korean Liquor:

Geumjeong San Makgeolli:(Sweet & Sour, tangy, nuruky,thick) *** 3 stars

Neurinmaul:(Smooth, Sweet, Light, Clean) *** 3.5stars

Songmyungseop: (Hardcore, Yoghurty , sour, dry) *** 3.5 stars

Sam Yang Choon: (Light, strong, tart, dry) **** 4 stars

Ah Hwang Ju: (Very dry, yeasty, strong, bold) **** 4 stars

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What we liked: The Service. The staff at Ipari are incredibly friendly, polite and helpful. One of our guests stated: “The service was fantastic. Respectful to all regardless of language ability”. They have a solid knowledge of their food  and a passion for the makgeolli they serve. They are happy to make recommendations based on palate or food pairings.

What we disliked: The Price. The food menu is a little higher than you would find in your average bar, however you do get what you pay for. Ipari is “stylish in a cool yet unpretentious  way” and the quality of the Korean dishes that they serve is undoubtedly very good. It is a rare place in which you find side dishes that are as good as main courses, and our guests were extremely satisfied with the marinated eggs and the rice porridge that was served as an entree. The portions are not very large however and if you are hungry you may want to order several dishes.

Iparipeople
Happy Mamas & Papas not posing for the camera at all…

Recommendation: Come here with a larger group or on your own, take a table or a seat at the bar and ask the knowledgeable staff for their recommendation. They have plenty of standard makgeolli and a growing number of premium bottles too. They also stock quality sojus like the aged Ilpoom from HiteJinro, among various others.

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How to get there: This place is a good 15 minute walk from Hongdae station through to a somewhat suburban part of the neighborhood.  Come out of Hongdae Station exit 3 and walk straight.  When you come to the main intersection, turn right and follow the road as it curves up into the suburban part of Yeonnam-dong.  You will pass numerous Chinese restaurants along this road, and you will come to a big intersection, but keep walking straight through it.  When you come to the overhead bridges, keep walking and just after you pass the second bridge, the bar is on your right.  There is a Hyundai Motor dealers directly across the road.  The bar has very little signage, and is on the second floor.

Address:  Seoul, Seodaemun-gu, Yeonhuidong 193-16 2nd floor  (서울특별시 서대문구 연희동 193-16 2층)

Map: Here

Contact: 010-5188-7766

Have you visited Ipari? Why not tell us about your experience in the comments, or post in our Facebook community!

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Outdoor Lessons (야외 수업)

Outdoor Classes Glasses

Name: Outdoor Lessons (야외 수업)

Location: Hongdae (홍대)

Reviewed by:  Mamas & Papas July 11th, 2015

Thoughts: If you’ve got a hankering for camping but just can’t seem to get out of iron grip of Seoul, you can head for the bar hell bent on simulating the outdoor camping experience indoors. Camping themed restaurants and bars seem to be lingering trend in across Seoul, but what sets this place apart is the focus on Korean traditional alcohol.  Outdoor Lessons (야외 수업) is an outdoors camping themed bar, but rather than focusing on makgeolli, it is developing a name for itself in soju.

When you hear the words ‘soju bar’, it might conjure images of dozens of green bottles and a very rowdy crowd.  However, Outdoor Lessons has a range of popular, mid-range and hard to find sojus and even cheongjus (약주/청주), without the rough crowd.  The food is delicious, and combined with the relaxed atmosphere it makes for a very different soju experience than the usual hof.

 

Outdoor Classes Tent

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: *** 3.5 Stars

Ambience:  **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Outdoor Classes Food

Recommended Food:

Seafood Pajeon (해물 파전): *** 3 Stars ~ Crispy, Generous, Satisfying

Wagyu Beef (와규 소고기) : 4 ****  Stars ~ Tender, Succulent, Silky

Raw Beef Sashimi (육회) **** 4 Stars ~ Fresh, Soft, Delicious

Herb Grilled Pork (허브 삼겹살) *** 3 Stars ~ Fragrant, Juicy, Moorish

Outdoor Lessons - Omaegi Sul

 

Recommended Soju & Cheongju:

Omaegi Sul (오메기술) *** 3.5 Stars ~ Apple, Dusty, Floral, Citrus notes

Najang Bokbunja (내장산 복분자) **** 4 Stars ~ Subtle, Fruity, Peppery Aroma, Warming

Hansan Sogokju (한산 소곡주) *** 3  Stars ~ Charred fruit, Syrupy, Meaty, Woody

Arirang Hongju (아라랑 홍주) ** 2.5 Stars ~ Cherry, Burn, Radish, Strong

Outdoor Classes Bokbunja

Outdoor Classes Sogokju

What we liked: The Concept. Although we tend to primarily visit makgeolli bars, the reason is because there are very few soju bars that offer a variety of quality products at a reasonable price.  That’s not to say there isn’t a whole world of soju beyond the 2,000won bottle at the BBQ restaurant, as there quite a few decent products both established and emerging for the soju lover.  However, most dedicated makgeolli bars either stock the top or the low end, not leaving much wiggle room for the middle range.

The best part about the Outdoor Lessons concept is that it is un-pretentious and relaxed, whilst still offering some interesting liquors. One Mama said ‘I have never been in this kind of environment before ~ I like it!’.  The favorite bottle of the evening was surprisingly the Bokbunja, as most people at the table agreed they were not usually Bokbunja fans.  Another Mama said ‘It’s not like the candy you usually get, I could drink quite a bit of this.’

Outdoor Classes Indoor setting

What we disliked: The Lack of a Good Makgeolli Option. It’s not really the most fair criticism, seeing as Outdoor Lessons primarily stocks soju and cheongju.  However there is makgeolli on the menu, and for those that are not ready to hit the hard stuff, having a good makgeolli on hand would keep everyone happy.  From the bottles we tried, the one that did not win raving reviews from everyone at the meeting was the Arirang Hongju, with one Papa exclaiming ‘I still feel the burn’.

Outdoor Classes Hongju

Recommendation: If you would like to have a relaxed and casual night with the opportunity to try a range of not so common Korean alcohols, Outdoor Lessons is your bet.  It’s very large, has outdoor seating and can accommodate just about any size of group you have.  It has an unpretentious atmosphere for kicking back and trying a lot of interesting booze, without the astronomical price tag.

 

IMG_1748Outdoor Classes InteriroIMG_1668Outdoor Lessons Directions

 

Outdoor Classes Pouring

Directions:  Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) and walk straight.  Cross the road when you see the Tom and Tom’s Cafe on the corner and turn left.  Take your first right up the main clothing store streetand walk about a block, and turn left up a small hill (There used to be a Hello Kitty Cafe up this street).  You should see the bar on the right hand side.

Outdoor Classes Front


Address:
 어울마당로 94-12

Phone: 02-6241-6789

Map: Here

Have you been to Outdoor Lessons before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!

 

The Manjok (The 만족)

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A happy little group of Mamas & Papas, Feelin’ That Manjok

Name: The Manjok (만족) *translates as ‘The Satisfaction

Location: Near the entrance to Hongik University.

Reviewed by:  Mamas & Papas August 1st

Thoughts: Anyone visiting the area around Hongik university will quickly become aware that there is no shortage of places to choose from for food and drink. Whatever your fancy, there are a dozen places that will provide it for you. Makgeolli is of course no exception. Typically what’s been offer has catered for the predominant student demographic. Places such as Hongdaepo, Hawaiian Makgeolli and countless other nameless places, selling “house makgeolli” for cheap, fun times. Although more recently some more upmarket places have appeared in the area, including the fantastic Olsoo.

Not until the opening of The Manjok in the area, has there been a restaurant that has quality brews at a reasonable price. The owner is one of the brewers for 좋은술 (Joeun Sool), who are one of the most prominent premium makgeolli producers in the country. Their products include 천비향 탁주 (cheonbihyang takju) and 약주. The Manjok serves this brewery’s usual premium fare, as well as a variety of other craft brews that 좋은술 produces… great things….things that we had never seen. We were excited.

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Location

Service: ***** 5 Stars

Style: *** 3 Stars

Ambience:  **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4.5 Stars

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Recommended Food:

Baked Pork (보쌈): **** 4 Stars ~ Fatty, Juicy, Plentiful, Pairs well with Ihwaju.

Gorgonzola Pizza: *** 3 Stars ~ Thin, Doughy Base, Sweet Honey Side, Light.

Spicy Cheese Ddeok Bosam (매운치즈떡보쌈) **** 4 Stars ~ Glorious, Huge, Comfort Food, Succulent

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Recommended Makgeolli:

Ihwaju (이화주 5양주) **** 4 Stars ~ Sour aromatics, Warm, Dusky, Sediment.

Ihwaju (이화주 막걸리) **** 4 Stars ~ Sweet, Nuruk heavy, Slight Acidity, Subtle balance.

AhwangJu Cheongju (아황주 청주) *** 3.5 Stars ~ Bitey, Sweet & Sour, Floral, Caramel finish.

GongGam Sweet Cheongju (공감 Sweet 청주) *** 3 Stars ~ Smooth, Tart finish, Boozey, Nutty.

Cheonbi Hyang Takju (천비향 탁주) **** 4 Stars ~ Thick, Robust, Liqueur, Chalky.

Cheonbi Hyang Makgeolli (천비향 막걸리) **** 4 Stars ~ Light, Warm, Balanced, Clean.

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What we liked: The Brews. Usually when we get together with our Mamas & Papas to try things out we start at the cheapest side of the menu, and try to sample our way up towards the really awesome items. However, we were (pleasantly) denied that chance. The owner was so keen for us to try the premium side of menu that he recommended us a large number of things that we hadn’t tried before. The majority of these brews do come from 좋은술, however there are varieties that as far as we know can’t be found in other spots, and they are priced much cheaper than can be found in other bars. If you’re not on your premium makgeolli game however, there are still a large number of regular takjus and makgeolli blends/cocktails to be enjoyed as well. (When we visited, the most prominent drink being consumed by patrons was 장수 (Jangsu)… stick to what you know I guess. #sadface)

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An Ihwaju from 좋은술 that we tried for the first time!

What we disliked: Ice! At the time of our visit, a lot of the 천비향막걸리 was being stored in a refrigerator on the veranda of the restaurant, and although they were (fairly) cool, the manager insisted on blending the brews with crushed ice. Which though making them pleasantly cold, also made it a little difficult to drink. It seems a bit petty to pick on this however as they are still smoothing out the kinks in the newly opened venue. (We visited on their first weekend). We will update this section soon (we will definitely be visiting again)

Recommendation: We were elated to discover that The Manjok opens it’s doors at 11am. Even further elated to hear that they provide a lunch special. Our minds were blown when we told that this lunch only costs 5,900won. This makes it cheaper than most lunches you can find in the area, and with all that excellent makgeolli to pair it with I can imagine many afternoon workers arriving at the office with a spring in their step. This place also works well in the early evening, so feed and drink up before the rest of your Hongdae adventure.

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The fridges were very well stocked.

Directions: Facing Hongik University’s main entrance, turn left and walk a few moments, taking the first left just before the Starbucks. You will see a CU convinience store on the corner. The Manjok is in the building directly across from there on your left, on the second floor.

Address: 서울 마포구 서교동 344-6 칼리오페빌딩  2층 (Seoul Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong 344-6, Kaliope Building 2F)

Phone: 010-4724-0009

Map: Here

Olsoo (얼쑤)

Name: Olsoo (얼쑤)

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on January 10th 2015

Olsoo shelf
The artful interior design of Olsoo


Thoughts: Right in the middle of Hongdae: the thriving, bustling beating heart of Seoul’s nightlife, where students, tourists, party lovers, musicians and artists all collide in a seemingly endless network of streets crammed with bars, restaurants, clubs and cafes, you will find this diamond in the rough. Olsoo, with it’s attention to quality and careful selection of Korean traditional alcohol feels somewhat out of place among the cheap barbeque restaurants, soju bars, and rowdy old fashioned makgeolli bars that fill the neighboring area right next to the Hongdae subway station.

The word Olsoo (얼쑤) is the one of the calls of encouragement and emphasis commonly given by the percussionist to solo singer during Korea’s ancient Pansori musicals and translates, perhaps somewhat crudely as “Yah Hoo”. Olsoo is owned and managed by the bar’s chef, who’s passion is not only in modern reflections of Korea’s cuisine, but also in it’s wide offerings in the field of traditional liquor. His staff also share his enthusiasm for makgeolli, cheongju and well crafted soju and are more than happy to offer recommendations and suggestions on what you may like to drink.

Olsoo Interiero
Customers enjoying the atmosphere

 

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: **** 4 Stars

Ambience: **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Olsoo soju
Plenty of exciting things on offer to try

 

Recommended Food

Fried Oysters 굴전 (Succulent, Fresh, Silky, Lightly battered)

Steamed Pork 오겹살찜 (Tender, beautifully cooked, light, well presented)

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Also worth trying, the Yukhye! (Raw beef with pear slices)

 

Recommended Makgeolli

Saminju 사미인주 (very sweet, bee’s honey, watery, crowd pleaser)

JahuiHyang Nabi 자희향 나비 (chalky, mild, floral, aromatic,silky)

Do Mun Daejak 도문대작 (Pungent, nice finish, mild/pleasant bitterness,slightly higher alcohol content)

Olsoo bottles
One papa commented on Domun Daejak ” good amount of fizz!” ~ some nice carbonation!

 

What we liked: The Menu. A bit of a cop out to mention the menu, however it has such a delicious selection of food on offer that it wouldn’t be fair to leave it off the recommendation.  The selection of makgeolli and cheongju on offer here is also very good, with a large number of premium bottles as well as some more interesting and less common varieties of takju/table makgeolli, the selection deserves an honorable mention.  We were very happy with the direction this bar has taken in terms of its well chosen, predominantly non-aspartame bottle choices. Mamas & Papas also were quite satisfied with the quality of food, the fried oysters being a particular hit with the general comment being simply ‘Yummy!!’ (Note:  Oysters are a seasonal menu found mostly from September to December/January)

Olsoo bottles
As well as a great selection of makgeolli, Olsoo also offers a number of top quality sojus.

 

What we disliked: The Price. Well, in hongdae, you would be forgiven for thinking that most places in this area offer cheap and cheerful drinks, with the target demographic being students and party goers. However if that is what you are looking for then this place is perhaps not for you. Although nothing on the menu is unreasonable, it is certainly more expensive than other makgeolli bars that are in the vicinity of Olsoo. You are certainly paying for the quality of the produce and drinks you are receiving here though, and we are more than happy to recommend it.

Recommendation: A great place for a nice meal and a chat with a few friends who either are makgeolli lovers, or who want to get into the world of premium makgeolli. If you have the budget, you will be able to sample and compare most of the higher end makgeolli that is available in Seoul; paired with some very tasty dishes as well. It can sometimes get a little rowdy, as it does appear that the also sell common soju as well which is still popular with the local clientele and the company dinner customers as well. However, the atmosphere is fun and it is certainly a good place to start you night in the most happening place in the city.


Olsoo outside

Directions: Come out exit 8 of Hongdae Station and walk straight.  You will reach a roundabout, and Olsoo is on the opposite side of the street, on the second floor.  Look for a staircase and a white sign with black writing that says 얼쑤.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 331-18

Phone Number: 02-333-8897

Map: Here

 

Have you visited Olsoo? Is there anything we could have mentioned? What where your likes and dislikes? Tell us your story by commenting here or on our facebook page

Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Name: Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Papa Dan

Location: Yeonnamdong (연남동)

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Thoughts: Like many of the Makgeolli bars dotted around Seoul this one finds itself in an inconspicuous, treasure trove of an alleyway between donggyodong junction and Yeonsei University. If you weren’t looking for anything specific you would be forgiven for walking past the alley and missing out on a microcosm of wonderful little cafes and restaurants, including Korea Bistro. It has a fair selection of lower and mid priced Makgeolli, and seems to fit itself snugly in the alcove between Makgeolli bar and cafeteria diner with groups of revelers drinking and laughing as common as individuals having dinner and a few cups of Makgeolli to themselves.

LOCATION

Service: **** 4 stars

Style: ** 2 stars

Ambience: *** 3 stars

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FOOD

Gopchang Jeongol (pig intestine soup) 곱창전골 *** 3 stars

Fried Pork (재육복음) *** 3 Stars

MAKGEOLLI

DaeDaePo 대대포 (Sweet, Smooth, Honey, Light) *** 3.5 Stars

SongMyungSeop 송명섭 (Dry, Pungent, Complex, crisp) **** 4 Stars

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It seems as though the have potential to stock a lot of Makgeolli however at the time we visited they didn’t have too many non-aspartame selections. The staff were passionate however and it seems as though they were tasting a lot of interesting varieties with a view to add to the menu…. watch this space!

What We Liked: The Style. This is a cozy little place with low lighting and plenty of space. The staff were very friendly and willing to help and offer suggestions from the Makgeolli and food menus. This is a place that isn’t prohibitive to individuals coming in on their own to enjoy a meal for one with a nice refreshing cup of Makgeolli as an accompaniment. Many restaurants in Korea only provide menu items to be shared among groups, however this little place caters for all possibilities: with large items for groups and smaller, very reasonably priced individual meals available too. The best part: the food is actually very good, with lots of side dishes to boot! yummy!

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What We Disliked: The Selection. Unfortunately as mentioned before there are not many options for additive free or premium Makgeolli. For non aspertame it was Dae Dae Po or SongmyeongSeop. If you don’t mind aspertame then there is quite a variety of bottles available. It does seem like a newer place and as such may be still finding it’s feet regarding its drinks menu – we hope it will branch out a little more and offer some bottles from the upper end of the market makgeolli selection.

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Recommendation. Come on your own and have a couple of cheeky bottles with dinner or bring your friends and have dinner and a chat in what is a popular but not rowdy establishment. Either way you approach it – as a diner or as a bar – I am sure you will find something for your taste on the cheap and extensive food menu and you enjoy your time in this comfortable and friendly venue.

How to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station Exit 3 and double back to the main road and turn left towards dongyodong junction. Walk straight for about 6 mins and you will pass a Gimbap restaurant with a craft beer pub on the second floor. Turn left, go down the alley and it will be the first store on the left.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 연남동 227-1

map: Here

Have you been to Korea Bistro before? Tried more dishes or have any opinions or experience to share? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think! 

Wolhyang – Seogyo dong (월향 2호점) CLOSED DOWN

NOTE:  This location is now CLOSED as at December 2015

Name: Wolhyang (월향)

Location: Seogyo-dong

Reviewed by: Mama Julia &  Papa Dan

Thoughts: Wolhyang is one of the largest and most reputable chains for makgeolli.  They carry an extensive range of makgeolli from all over the peninsula, as well as their own brewed makgeolli. The Seogyo dong location is the second of three, the others being in Hongdae and Itaewon (Scroll to the bottom for links to reviews of other locations). The Seogyo-dong location is in a large white house with two floors and a balcony, and the sparse decor makes it feel light and roomy.   It is probably the brightest and most upbeat of the three, and it lends itself to some cheerful dining and makgeolli tasting.

Wolhyang Seogyo inside

Photo Source

LOCATION

Service: ***

Style: **

Ambience: ***

OVERALL: ***

Food

Modum Jeon (모듬전): ***

Fried Eggplant (가지 튀김): ****

Recommended Makgeolli

Wolhyang Level 1 (월향 1단계): *** (sweet, medium bodied, clean, light)

Wolhyang Wonju 15% (월향 원주)) **** (strong, thick, dusty, alcoholic)

Wolhyang Seogyo Eggplant

Photo Source

The Seogyo-dong location of Wolhyang has a very different atmosphere to the Hongdae location.  As it is nestled in the backpacker side-streets of the neighborhood across from Hongdae, it has a slower and more relaxed feel.  However, as with all Wolhyang bars, you can expect the same standard of menu and makgeolli on offer.  It has large rooms for bigger groups which are not so easily accommodated  in Hongdae, and there is no rush to leave to make room for other customers.

What We liked : The Selection. Wolhyang Seogyo Jars
The biggest draw for Wolhyang is the sheer selection and choice on the menu.
You can choose from the usual suspects which are common in many bars, or you can sample from a range of premium makgeolli, cheongju, and their very own wonju.   The food is also of very good quality, though the serving portions can leave a hungry group wanting more.

What we didn’t like: The price. Even though Wolhyang has some excellent makgeolli from a range of reasonable to expensive prices, it’s the food costs that will hurt the wallet.  If you are frequently ordering to replenish the food, the final bill can definitely get out of hand.  The decor is also quite sparse, so it can feel like it is lacking in a bit of character.

Recommendation: Wolhyang Seogyo-dong is a great place for groups who are looking for a quality makgeolli and dining experience.  If you have people visiting or would like to experience a wide range of traditional Korean liquors in a bright, open atmosphere, this is the place.


Wolhyang Seogyo outside

Photo Source

How to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) exit 1 and walk straight for two blocks.  Turn at your second right and then right again.  Take your first left and you will see a big white building which will be Wolhyang Seogyo-dong.

Address:서울 마포구 서교동 352-23  (02 336 9202)

Map:  Here

Read our reviews of the other locations:

Wolhyang – Hongdae

Wolhyang – Itaewon

Have you been to Wolhyang Seogyo-dong before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!

Mak Ka Pa (막까파)

Name: Mak Ka Pa (막까파)

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed by: Mama’s and Papa’s on: August 20th, 2013

Thoughts: Located on the second floor just blocks away from Hongik University, this funky, retro styled Hongdae bar offers an affordable makgeolli experience. Each table is set with retro Korean snacks, and the low-lighting, combined with the converted cafeteria feel make for a casual dining and drinking experience. The fresh varieties of house made Dong-Dong-Ju cocktails give the customer an added incentive over the more premium bottled varieties of Makgeolli available. It’s a very accessible lounge-like atmosphere with prompt and friendly service.

Mak Ka Pa Interior

LOCATION

Overall: *** (3 stars)

Food
Beef Jeon: (Delicious, bounty of beef, spongy) ***1/2 (3.5 Stars)

Seafood jeon: (Omelet like fluffiness, fresh seafood taste, uniquely layered) ***1/2 (3.5 Stars)

Spam Jeon:  (Unique, savory, salty, juicy) **1/2 (2.5 Stars)

Potato Jeoni: (oily, pasty, latke-like) **1/2 (2.5 Stars)

Bul Dak: (cheesy, spicy, delectable) ****1/2 (4.5 Stars)

Mak Ka Pa bowl

MAKGEOLLI

Sobaeksan Blackbean (소백산 검은콩): (Nutty, smooth, dark, creamy, sticky, fine sediment) ***1/2 (3.5 Stars)

Dongdongju (동동주): (Citrusy, clean, smooth, silky texture refreshing with ice) ****1/2 4.5 Stars

Banana Dongdongju (바나나 동동주): (Chunky (bananas), frothy, natural tasting, tropical) ****1/2 (4.5 Stars)

Honey Dongdongju: (꿀 동동주)  (Honey settled in the bottom, overpowering, sweet) **1/2 (2.5 Stars)

Gapyeongchat  (가평찻):  (Pungent, crisp, watery) **1/2 (2.5 Stars)

Gongju Chestnut (공주 알밤): (Earthy, nutty, artificially sweet, thick) **1/2 (2.5 Stars)

What Mamas & Papas liked: The service.  Mak Ka Pa Spam JeonPrompt, friendly, and receptive, there was never a moment without food or drink in hand. Mamas & Papas also liked the dong-dong-ju. It was super refreshing, and it tasted great, even when infused with different fruits.  We were also impressed with the Buldak (spicy chicken), with one Mama commenting ‘It really packs a flavor without knocking your tastebuds off’.

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The lighting.Mak Ka Pa Blue For those wanting to take photos, they may struggle if they are ushered into one of the black light lit side rooms, as they will invariably be blue.  Mamas & Papas were also not sold on the honey dong-dong ju that wasn’t well mixed.  If it hasn’t been carefully mixed, the honey sinks to the bottom and is beyond sweet.

Recommendation: To feel the pulse of Hongdae in the heart of its entertainment district before a night out on the town, head here with a group of friends and enjoy the cheap food, fresh drink, and merry atmosphere.   You could stay a while, or just for a stopover, but either way it is a fun and vibrant place to enjoy company with friends.

Mak Ka Pa Group

How to get there: Come out of Sangsu Station, exit 1 and walk down the hill towards Hongdae. When you get to the main street just before Club Evans and the 7-11, turn left. Follow this street for three blocks (make sure to move over to the left side of the street), then turn left. You will see a café on the first floor, and the second floor is where Mak Ka Pa is.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 405-13 3층

Phone Number:  02-714-1224

Map:  Here

Have you been to Mak Ka Pa before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!

I Am Makgeolli (아이엠 막걸리)

Name: I Am Makgeolli  (아이엠 막걸리)

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Papa Chris on May 15th, 2013

Thoughts: This tiny little makgeolli bar away from the bustle of central hongdae is a delightful stop for a quiet bottle.  The interior is cozy and home-style, and the outdoor deck is perfect for the warmer weather.  The service was great and it was a relaxing place to enjoy a mid-week makgeolli.

I Am Makgeolli - Interior

LOCATION

Overall: ***1/2 (3.5 stars)

Food
We did not get around to trying any of the food when we were there, as we were had already hit our food capacity.  However the menu had a decent selection and it is all made from scratch.  The menu states that as the food is all homemade to allow for some waiting time.

I Am Makgeolli - Menu

MAKGEOLLI

Hankgyenyeong Nurungji (한계령 누룽지 막걸리)***** (5 Stars)

(Fresh, strong, balanced, tart, hits the back of the palate)

I Am Makgeolli - BottleWhat We liked: The Nurungji Makgeolli.  Nurungji is burnt rice, and the flavor of this makgeolli was unique and just simply delicious.  It had a nice balance to it and we both agreed that we could drink many jugs and still want more.  We also really liked the quiet location and outdoor deck option.

 

What We didn’t like: No bell.  Whilst the service is very good, if you sit outside you basically have to get up and go inside to get the attention of the staff. I Am Makgeolli - Outside It’s not a major inconvenience, but it would be better if there were a way to get their attention without having to go get them.

Recommendation: If you are in the mood for a casual yet intimate chat with one or two friends, this is the place.  It’s in a very quiet part of hongdae, so you can unwind and relax without feeling the bustle of the nightlife area.  Not suitable for big groups, but great for close friends for an after work jug.

I Am Makgeolli - Sign

 

 

How to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) Exit 3 and turn left.  Walk down this street until you see I Am Makgeolli on your left.

Address: Mapo-gu, Dongyeodong 153-30 (서울특별시 마포구 동교동 153-30)

Map: Here

 

 

 

Have you been to I Am Makgeolli before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!

Wolhyang – Hongdae (월향 1호점) CLOSED DOWN

This location is now CLOSED as at December 2015

Name: Wolhyang (월향)

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Mama Wangmin on 20th April, 2013

Thoughts:  Wolhyang is one of the largest and most reputable chains for makgeolli.  They carry an extensive range of makgeolli from all over the peninsula, as well as their own brewed makgeolli.  The Hongdae location is the first of three, the others being in Seogyo dong and Itaewon (Scroll to the bottom for links to reviews of other locations).  The Hongdae location is always bustling and has a young vibe. It is much smaller than the others, and the tables are closely put together for a cozy and lively atmosphere.  This location has a very different ambiance to the other two locations, and is more of a hot-spot for nightlife.
Wolhyang Interior

LOCATION

Service: **

Style: ***

Ambience: ***

OVERALL: ***

FOOD

Kimchi Tangsuyuk (묵은지 탕수육): **

MAKGEOLLI

Wolhyang Level 1 (월향 1단계): *** (sweet, medium bodied, clean, light)

Wolhyang Wonju 15% (월향 원주)) **** (strong, thick, dusty, alcoholic)

Wolhyang is a popular and busy makgeolli bar with a fast-food-like atmosphere. There are two separate bars for smoking and non-smoking which makes for a more comfortable experience for non-smokers. The makgeolli selection is impressive, and the highlight is being able to try different levels of fermentation.

What We liked : The Wolhyang Makgeolli. Wolhyang wonju Most makgeolli bars serve bottled makgeolli from various breweries, but Wolhyang also brews their own and offer different stages of the fermentation process. The wonju is thick and strong, and has a high alcohol content. Mama Wangmin said “It’s better than drinking soju”.

What we didn’t like: The service. We felt that the service at Wolhyang was a bit abrupt and it gave the bar a rushed atmosphere.Wolhyang Tangsuyuk We were also not overly impressed by the food, as it was overpriced for what we got. However, we only ordered one dish so there may be more gems on the menu we missed.  We were also troubled by the price of the food, as while the makgeolli was reasonable, the food prices were too high to order many dishes.

Recommendation: Wolhyang is a good place to try different kinds of strong makgeolli. It’s not really a place to sit back and relax, but more of a eat, drink, and move on kind of bar. It’s a great place to start off a fun night, or a lively and intimate date.

Wolhyang OoutsideHow to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) exit 8 and walk towards the roundabout. Turn left at the roundabout and follow the road until you pass a number of meat restaurants. Turn right at the corner and follow the street up towards Coffee Prince. Wolhyang is on the second floor on the right hand side of the street.

Address: 서울 마포구 서교동 335-4번지 2층 (02 332 9202)

Map Here

 

 

 

Read our reviews of the other locations:

  Wolhyang – Seogyo dong

Wolhyang – Itaewon


Have you been to Wolhyang Hongdae before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!

Danimgil Makgeolli Pub (다님길 막걸리)

Name: Danimgil Makgeolli Pub (다님길 막걸리)

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Mama Wangmin on 20th April, 2013

Thoughts: Danimgil is a casual and relaxed makgeolli bar with an intimate interior. It has a small outdoor patio for those sunny afternoons, and the makgeolli is of a high quality.

LOCATION

Service: ***

Style: ****

Ambience: ****

OVERALL: ****

FOOD

Mozzerella & Egg Pancake (모짜렐라 치즈 계란접이)): ***1/2

MAKGEOLLI

Five grain Jinsangju (오곡 진상주): **** (balanced, frothy, thick, satisfying)

Black bean Makgeolli (검은콩 막걸리) **** (dark, warming, peanut, sweet)

Danimgil Interior

Danimgil is a cosy and intimate place for a casual makgeolli experience. Apon arrival you receive a free tasting of a makgeolli selection to help you decide on your brew. The dark interior with small tables gives it an atmosphere of being more private and quiet.

What We liked : The atmosphere. Usually makgeolli bars are quite crowded and noisy, however Danimgil is a place you can go and chat easily with a few close friends. Danimgil TasterThe taster apon entry helps unfamiliar makgeolli drinkers make a choice, and the service was prompt. The makgeolli selection was also quite decent, the black bean makgeolli being a particular favorite.

What we didn’t like: The food selection. Whilst the makgeolli selection was quite good with a lot of options to choose from, the same could not be said for the food. Danimgil Egg The menu is limited to one page, and many of the items we usually find were absent. The food we ordered was tasty and of good quality, however we felt lacking for choice.

Recommendation: Danmigil is a bar for those who would like to have a good chat with friends over some tasty makgeolli. It’s casual, but has a level of quality in both makgeolli and food. The outdoor patio, though not large, will be great in the afternoon sun.

How to get there:Danimgil Outside
Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) exit 8 and walk towards the roundabout. Turn left at the roundabout and follow the road until you pass a number of meat restaurants. Turn right at the corner and Danimgil will be about 50 meters on your left.

Address: 서울시 마포구 서교동 330-39 (02-322-2066)

Map here

Links: Danimgil has been featured in SEOUL Magazine here


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