Unni Sarang Bang (운니 사랑방)

Name: Unni Sarang Bang (운니 사랑방)

Location: Unni dong (Anguk Station) (운니동 )

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on May 28th 2016

Interior shot
The Traditional Hanok interior


Thoughts: After taking a stroll through the traditional streets of Unni dong, one can stumble upon this recently renovated hanok that has been transformed into a home for Korean traditional alcohol.  With a fridge that boasts some of the best makgeolli available on the market, and an inspired menu of delicate flavors, Unni Sarang Bang can be a quiet place to dine and enjoy.

Location

Service:         **** 4 Stars

Style:            ***** 4 Stars

Ambience:   **** 4 Stars

Overall:         **** 4 Stars

Yongha explaingin
Detailed explanations of the menu are available

Food

Bossam 보쌈                            4.5 **** (Juicy, tender, deep flavoured)

Deodeok Duck 더덕덕            5 ***** (delicate, complex, surprising)

Guacamole & Nachos            5 ***** (perfect)

Spring leaf Jeon 봄나물 전    4 **** (earthy, green, light)

deodeok duck
The Deodeok Duck was a favorite of the evening

                                          

Makgeolli

Jahuihyang Nabi 자희향 나바                       4**** (refreshing, light, floral)

Cheonbihyang 천비향 탁주                            4**** (citrus, tart, tangy)

Samyangchoon 삼양춘                                   4*** (milky, buttery, creamy)

Hansan Sogokju 한산 소곡주                        3*** (smokey, earthy, sherry)

Sool-ah  술아                                                    3.5*** (Strong, sweet, syrupy)

Solseongju  솔성주                                          3*** (Pine, crisp, bitter)

guacamole and chips
Few can resist Guacamole!



What we liked: The Food.  We couldn’t stop raving about the food.  The flavors were so delicate and complex, and despite the traditional atmosphere, the dishes were updated and modern takes on classic Korean pairings.  It was a first time for any of our Mamas & Papas to have the opportunity to match makgeolli with guacamole, and it was a happy experience.  We were also very pleased with the extensive selection of top-shelf brews to choose from.  Two of our guests visiting from overseas exclaimed ‘Beats the pants off anything you can get in Thailand’. 

Note:  We have received word that the chef has since changed since our visit, so there may be some food menu changes.

Group shot
A satisfied group of MMPK Tasters

What we disliked: The limited range of regular makgeolli.  No denying the fridge was truly a sight to behold, however many of our Mamas & Papas expressed an interest in trying some lower alcohol content makgeolli.  One Papa commented ‘This would be a sit and sip kind of place, rather than a drink with friends place.’

Recommendation: If you find yourself in the Anguk / Insadong area and would like a peaceful respite with excellent food and Korean alcohol, this is your place.  The hanok location also makes it great for taking visitors to Korea to experience quality makgeolli in a beautiful setting.

Outside sign
The Outdoor Signage



Directions:
 Come out of Anguk Station (line 3) exit 4 and follow the main road as you pass a palace grounds on the left hand side.  When you reach Deoksung Women’s University on the corner, turn left.  Follow this street down until your third left, which will be a small narrow alley.  The restaurant is an old Hanok on the left about halfway down the alley with the doors wide open for you to come in.

Phone Number: 02-742-3633

Map: Here

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

Clear Booze (맑은 술)

Name: Clear Booze (맑은 술)

Location: Jongno 5 ga (

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on April 30th 2016

Group SHot

Thoughts: Tucked away in one of the small alleys of the super trendy area of Yeonnam-dong, this is a makgeolli bar with a certain kind of style.  The owner is passionate about carrying a variety of makgeolli that don’t contain any artificial sweetners, and his menu has a distinct seafood theme.  A cosy, no-frills interior with dark lighting makes for a great shelter from the ever-popular streets of Yeonnam.

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: **** 3 Stars

Ambience: **** 3 Stars

Overall: **** 3.5 Stars

The Deonjang Buchoo Jeon was a hit
The Deonjang Buchoo Jeon was a hit
The whole grilled squid
The whole grilled squid
Tuna Jeon
Tuna Jeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food

Kimchi Jeon 묵은 김치전 4 stars (clean, well seasoned, balanced)

Whole Grilled Squid 오징어 통구의 3.5 stars (textured, unique, for seafood lovers)

Deonjang Buchu Jeon 된장 부추전  5 stars (complex, tasty, satisfying)

Potato Jeon 감자 번 4.5 stars (spongy, flavorful, comfort food)

Haechang Makgeolli
Haechang Makgeolli
Seonho Makgeolli
Seonho Makgeolli

 

 

 

 

 

A sample given as a welcome drink
A sample given as a welcome drink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makgeolli

Haechang 해창 막걸리                                3*** (dry, refreshing, bland, watery)

Gotaek Sticky Rice 고택찹쌀 생주          4**** (strong, sweet, fruity, wine-like)

Seon Ho 선호 막걸리                                   3*** (flavorful, light texture, slightly sour)

Domun Daejak 도문 대작 막걸리             4***** (silky, strong, earthy, boozy)

Cheong Yangju 청량주 막걸리                  3*** (Clean, dry, light, slightly acidic)

(Note:  Sweetener-free)

Dae Dae Po 대대포                                      3*** (meady, light, sweet, smooth)

 

lauren cheers

What we liked: The Service.  The owner of this bar is very much a makgeolli lover himself, and he takes pride in his stock of sweetener free makgeolli.  Upon arrival, we were served a special sample of brew he sourced directly from the brewery, and our Mamas & Papas were all impressed right off the bat.  After sharing our own thoughts on sweeteners, he gave us a tasting of a brew that he specifically asked the brewery to give him without sweeteners (see the above Cheong Yangju).  The favorite food of the evening was the Deonjang Buchoo Jeon, with one Mama exclaiming ‘It’s a completely new flavor for me!’

Reporter and bowl

What we disliked: The food variety.  Whilst all the food we had was well received and enjoyed, some commented on the lack of options for those not wanting seafood.  Most of the options on the menu are seafood based, so if you are not a fan or are looking for other meats you may be left a little peckish.

Happy Chatters

Recommendation: In a neighborhood fast becoming one of the trendiest hot-spots in Seoul, this bar offers something straight up and casual.  It’s a great place for people who enjoy unsweetened makgeolli and some hearty seafood fare at good prices.


ExteriorDirections: Come out of Hongik University Station exit 3 and walk straight.  As you hit a small intersecting street, turn right and follow the road.  Take the third alley on your right and you will see a Chinese restaurant up top, and the makgeolli bar is in the basement   서울 마포구 동교로34길 12.

Address: 서울 마포구 동교로34길 12.

Phone Number: 02-323-4633

Map: Here

 

 

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

Ipari (이파리)

Name: Ipari (이파리)

Location: Hongdae/Yeonhuidong

Reviewed by: Mamas&Papas on July 11th.

IMG_2011
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

IMG_2014
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

IMG_1956

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.

IMG_2009

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!

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)

IMG_2061
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.

IMG_2030

Location

Service: ***** 5 Stars

Style: *** 3 Stars

Ambience:  **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4.5 Stars

IMG_2056

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

IMG_2050

IMG_2066

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.

IMG_2057

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)

IMG_2045
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.

IMG_2042
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

Booze Frog (술 개구리)

Name: Booze Frog (술 개구리)

Location: Hapjeong / Sangsu

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on May 23rd 2015

Booze Frog Interior
The light in the late afternoon gives a nice vibe


Thoughts: Located on the trendy street of Sangsu which is lined with cafes, brunch restaurants and cool bars, Booze Frog (our own affectionate translation of the name 술 개구리) is a recent addition to the scene of makgeolli bars.  While some places offer a menu of ten or so brews, this place has a most impressive four page menu and scores of options to choose from.  The atmosphere is intimate and lively, and if you’re lucky enough to get the one table by the terrace, you can people watch the trendsters below with your makgeolli cup in hand.

Booze frog sampler
There are a number of paddle samplers to try the extensive range

 

Location

Service: *** 3 Stars

Style: **** 4 Stars

Ambiance: **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Booze Frog Selection
The house herb makgeolli (left) is a mixture of different makgeollis with peppermint herbs and edible flowers

 

Recommended Food

Bacon Cheese Jeon 베이컨치즈전 2.5 stars (spongy, lacking in bacon, soft)

Booze Frog 3 Color Jeon 술개구리 삼색전 3 stars (greasy, overloaded, spicy)

Pork Stir-Fry 돼지볶음 3.5 stars (Textured, slightly spice, soy sauce, tasty)

special jeon
The three color Jeon (pork, radish, squid)

 

Recommended Makgeolli

Neurin Maeul 느린마을                              5 ***** (balanced, pleasant, drinkable, banana)

Gotaek Sticky Rice 고택찹쌀 막걸리         4**** (plum, pear, dry sherry, boozy)

Tiger Makgeolli 호랑이 막걸리                  4**** (pear, smooth, balanced, thick)

Songmyeongsub 성명섭                           3.5 ****1/2 (dry, thin, watery, a bit acidic)

Sa Mi Inju 사미인주                                    3*** (very sweet, fragrant, thin, apple essence)

Dae Dae Po 대대포                                     3*** (sparkling, banana, astringent, fragrant)

Herb Makgeolli 허브 막걸리                      3*** (minty, toothpaste, flavorful, weird)

Geumjeongsanseong 금정산성               2.5**1/2 (tangy, dry, light)

Ha Nam 하남                                              2.5**1/2 (melon, fruity, sweet)

Cheongsul 청슬                                         2.5**1/2 (milky, nutty, bubbly)

 

Herb mak

What we liked: The atmosphere.  The interior has been designed like a Spanish villa, and it is a very popular place filled with imbibers.  The menu being so extensive, they offer samplers which come out not in small shot glasses, but tall water glasses.  If you’re not sure what you like, this is a good way to try different types without having to buy a full bottle.  It’s also a great visual to come to the table, though we found it a little difficult to pour without spilling for each person.  Mamas & Papas also liked a somewhat unusual aspect, the prawn crackers.  It may just come out as free anjou, but multiple Mamas & Papas raved about them saying ‘I would come back just for these’. 

Booze Frog terrace
The terrace table overlooks the trendy Sangsu street

 

What we disliked: The slow service.  Taking into account they are a relatively new establishment, so keeping up with its popularity might mean still working out the kinks.  We ordered makgeolli and the order was forgotten until they were reminded 15 minutes later.  However the owner was apologetic and compensated with free bottles, and his efforts definitely made up for the service lapse.  Mamas & Papas were also a little disappointed with the lack of craft makgeolli, as the only bottles listed on the menu were out of stock.  The house three color jeon was a bit spicy to go well with the makgeolli, with one Mama commenting ‘It blows out the taste buds so you can’t taste the makgeolli’.

Mamas&Papas before ordering
Some of our eager Mamas & Papas awaiting our first order

 

Recommendation: This is a good place for a casual makgeolli experience with a relaxed atmosphere and extensive selection.  If you’re in the Hapjeong/Sangsu area and want a late afternoon brew, the open terrace and windows let in some nice light and open air.  It’s also good if you want to sample a whole selection of makgeolli you perhaps have never tried before, the owner also speaks some English and can recommend you to order.

 

 

Booze Frog OutisdieDirections: From Sangsu Station come out exit #1 and walk down the hill on the main road towards Hapjeong station.  When you reach the carpark at the bottom entrance to hongdae area turn right, and at the next left you should see a CU on the corner.  Turn left here and follow the street for about 3 blocks and then you should cross a 4 way street.  The bar should be just on the right on the 2nd floor and it’s called Sool Frog (술 개구리)

Note:  It’s also accessible from Hapjeong station at about the same distance

Address: 서울 마포구 서교동 400-12

Phone Number: 02-322-1101

Map: Here

 

Have you visited Booze Frog? 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

Neurin Maeul Brew Pubs

What Are The Neurin Maeul Brew Pubs?

Neurin Maeul Making pic

These are the brew pubs of Baesangmyeon Brewery, and they are the force behind Neurin Maeul (느린마을) Makgeolli, which is an all chemical & aspartame free brew.  Baesangmyeon’s brew philosophy is all about tradition, quality of ingredients and all natural processes.  They don’t just stop at makgeolli, they have an extensive range of rice & fruit wines, including premium infused soju.    At each of their showcase brew pubs they have a large selection of fruit wines, cheongjus, sojus and makgeolli’s for take home purchase.  There are three brew pubs in Seoul where you can experience fresh Neurin Maeul brewed on site, an experience no other makgeolli brewery currently offers.  Each brew pub has a different atmosphere, but each offer similar menus and varieties of alcohol.  They also have a free membership program which gives you excellent benefits such as unlimited makgeolli, cheongju and soju for 10,000won for a 2 hour period.  MMPK has regularly visited each Neurin Maeul location, and we readily recommend them as places to get an excellent overview of the spectrum of Korean traditional alcohol.

Neurin Maul Brewery & Pub – Yangjae

BSM Yangjae

Address:                   서울 서초구 양재동 67-2 우곡빌딩

Phone:                         02-6917-8888         

Map:                             Here

Free Tasting Area:    Yes     

Atmosphere:  The Yangjae location of the three Neurin Maeul Pubs was the first to brew on site, and it is actually in the building of the Brewery’s offices.  The neighborhood of Yangjae houses a lot of offices, and the crowd at the pub of an evening is often office workers coming in for a few drinks at the end of the day. It’s a little more out of the way in terms of entertainment locations, but the atmosphere is cosy and lively, and they have a number of rooms for big groups.  A special feature of this location is that they also have an outdoor terrace for the warmer seasons.     

BSM Yangjae Interior

Recommendation:  For those looking for a casual but quality makgeolli experience.      

  

Neurin Maeul Brewery & Pub – Gangnam

BSM Gangnam Interior

Address:                          서울특별시 서초구 서초동 1316-28 우송빌딩 지하 1층

Phone:                              02-587-7720

Map:                                   Here

Free Tasting Area:         No

Atmosphere:  Of course being in Gangnam, this location has a much more trendy and busy atmosphere than both Yangjae and Jongno.   The crowd that can be seen at Gangnam is much younger and louder, and people are more likely to let their hair down at this pub.  It is a very popular hangout, and it is not unusual to see a line or have to wait for a table, however the size of the location usually means the lines move fairly quickly.  One thing to note is that the Gangnam location is more of a restaurant and bar, and whilst you can buy some alcohols for take out, the selection is not as diverse as the other two locations.

Gangnam interieor

Recommendation:  For those looking for a more party atmosphere, or a good quality makgeolli experience in the Gangnam area.

 

Neurin Maeul Brewery & Pub – Jongno Center One Building

BSM jongno interior

Address:                           서울특별시 중구 수하동 67 미래에셋센터원빌딩 2층

Phone:                              02-587-7720

Map:                                    Here

Free Tasting Area:   No

Atmosphere:  This is the most recent installment in the Neurin Maeul Brewery Pubs situated on the Cheongyecheon, and it is by far the largest.  It is housed in one of the biggest financial buildings near Euljiro 1-ga station, and you can certainly feel the size of the pub on entry.  However despite being so big, the atmosphere is still quite busy without being overwhelmingly so.  One feature at this bar is that you can ask for them to bring you a free tasting of the four seasons of Neurin Maeul to help you make your choices.

BSM Jongno Soju

Recommendation:   If you find yourself in the Gwangwhamun or Jongno area, this location is a nice way to finish off a day of sightseeing or stream wandering.

 

Tell Us Your Experiences!

If you check out any of the Neurin Mauel Breweries & Pubs, we want to know what you think!  Let us know by commenting below, or posting on our Facebook Page or Facebook Group 🙂

Neurin Maeul bottles2

What about the Supermarket?

Don’t forget that you can also get Neurin Maeul at a number of different supermarkets in Seoul, including Homeplus and Emart.  If you’re wondering if your local supermarket carries it, check out our lists here and here.

Midam (미담) CLOSED DOWN

This location is now CLOSED as at January 2016

IMG_0351

Name: Midam (미담)

Location: Sadang

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on February 28th 2015

IMG_0335

Thoughts: Midam is an established Makgeolli brewery, that produces a decent premium makgeolli we have known about for a while now. Imagine our surprise when we found out that they have their own bar!? We couldn’t believe it had slipped under our radar, and we had absolutely no choice but to check it out. It’s very close to exit 14 of Sadang station but is a little tricky to find as it is (as a lot of the bars we review are) hidden away in an alley. The beautiful and distinctive font of the the signage is also a little bit tricky to read from afar ~ so be aware, if you’re looking for it, you may have missed it!

“Prompt service, bright and airy, the free flowing layout (with open sliding doors) made actually quite small space feel much larger”

~ A Happy Mama

IMG_0333 LOCATION                                   

Service:      * * * * *

Style:          * * * *

Ambience:  * * * *

OVERALL: **** 4 Stars

FOOD

Selected Pancakes (모든 전)                  * * *  (Light, greasy)

Bossam Pork and Octopus (보쌈숙회)  * * * *  (Fresh, Sweet, flavorful)

Fried Oysters (굴전)                                * * * * * (Fresh, Large, Light, Succulent) IMG_0318 IMG_0313 MAKGEOLLI: Song Myeong Sub(송명섭): * * * * (sour, dry, good accompaniment to savory foods)

Note:  Song Myeong Sub reflects the individual spirit of the brewer, and can be quite varied in it’s character depending on the season.   A great brew that can vary between sweet and thick, to thin and sour. As one regular makgeolli mama said at this meeting, “The taste seems to have changed from it’s usual palate… a bit watery, a bit bitter a bit dull”

Don’t let this put you off though ~ despite it’s changes, this is one of our absolute favorite, easily accessible makgeolli bottles.

Jeonju Makgeolli (전주막걸리) * * (Vanilla, saccharine, mild, light)

White Lotus: Snowy Makgeolli (하얀연꽃 막걸리) * * * (Sparkling, Sweet, Light, Medium Bodied)

Midam Takju (미담 탁주) * * * * (Earthy notes, chalky,sweet sticky rice taste)

Chapssal Saeng Ju (찹쌀생주) * * * * (Grassy, part dry, part sweet, boozy)

 Potato Cheongju (감자술) * * * (Strong potato taste, artificial cheese notes)

IMG_0314
A clear makgeolli? a cheongju? opinion is split.

Note: The Chapssal Saengju (pictured above) has been advertised as a clear makgeolli. However due to its lack of sediment, and it’s high alcohol percentage we suggest that it is actually a cheong-ju (a clear sake-like rice wine). Unfortunately, the terms makgeolli and/or Cheong-ju/Yak-ju are nowhere to be found on the bottle.

 

IMG_0353
The undeniable taste of potato… hmmmm

  What Mamas and Papas liked: The Service. The staff at Midam are lovely, helpful and very generous. We were waited on hand and foot by our waitress and the chef, who provided us with ample extra dishes at no extra charge. The makgeolli selection wasn’t terrific, however they were happy to find us some things that were not on the menu specifically, which turned out to be something rather tasty too! Seriously excellent staff. It had been a long time since we felt so welcomed during a meeting by our hosts.  Mamas & Papas also enjoyed the food, commenting “I felt like I was eating home food!”, and “I really liked this food, clean and neat!”. 

What Mamas and Papas disliked: The Selection. Most of the Makgeolli on offer here is aspartame sweetened, entry level tak-ju, again with one of the only dry options being Song Myeong Sub. There were a number of Cheongju bottles available for sale (Clear, sediment free rice wine) and they obviously provided their own Midam brand premium bottle, although there no other representatives from the top shelf makgeolli camp.  From the selection of cheongjus we tried, the least favorite was the potato liquor, with one mama not quite knowing how to put it into words commenting “strange…but interesting”.  

IMG_0360
To the last drop…

Recommendation: This is a good place to come and enjoy their rather tasty food alongside a fairly varied palate of drinks options. It seems to cater well to larger group sizes, and offer relatively private sections for your group to eat and drink in. The majority of their seating is floor based, especially at the large tables. If you don’t like to sit on the floor or are unable to for whatever reason, you should be alright at a seated table if your group is between 2 and 4, but more than that is not possible.

IMG_0302

Papa Dan’s comment:  For those customers willing to spend a larger amount of money, there are some excellent premium Soju bottles on offer. Including SeongMyungSeop’s Juk Lyeok Go (죽력고), which is a highly renowned drink in Korea, brewed by 4 generations of the master brewers family! It will set you back 120,000 at Midam.  They also serve Gam Hong Ro (감홍로) which is a strong soju infused with Asian medicinal herbs, and yields a cinnamon taste and aroma ~ this is one of MMPK’s favorites, however it is quite pricey at around 80,000 per bottle!

How to get there:  Come out of Sadang Station exit 14 and take your first left.  At the next street turn right, and then left again at the next street.  The bar should be on the corner just near then next street on your left.

Phone: 02-3474-0006

Address: 서울특별시 서초구 방배천로 10 동화빌딩

Map:  here

Have you been to Midam in Sadang? Was your experience comparable to ours? Tell us your loves and hates in the comments or post on our facebook page!

New York Makgeolli (뉴욕막걸리)

Signage Cropped

Name: New York Makgeolli (뉴욕막걸리)

Location: Hapjeong

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on January 31st 1015.

 
New York Image Altered

THOUGHTS: Just a short walk from the subway station towards a street sprawling with nice restaurants and fancy cafes, a turn into could be mistaken for an alley or car park entrance lands you at New York Makgeolli. It’s unassuming location and signage make it an easy spot to miss. It’s tented front section (in winter) shelters red tables that would not be out of place in a street food vendor’s stall (포장마차). Beyond the threshold thought there is a tightly packed, bustling restaurant with a couple of rooms and ample seating. A popular location with locals getting their makgeolli buzz either after dinner, or before hitting the town.

 LOCATION                                    FOOD

 Service:   * * * *                                   Stuffed Squid (오징어 순대) * * * * (Chewy, tender, filling, delicious)

 Style:       * * *                                     Grilled Pork (오겹살) * * *  (Tender, mild, a little sweet)

 Ambience:  * * * *                                Kimchi Jeon (김치전) * * * (Soft, tangy, average )

IMG_0021

OVERALL:  * * *  3 stars

MAKGEOLLI

Song Myeong Sub (송명섭) * * * * 4 stars (Nicely sour, dry, medium body, Chalky)

Shindong Makgeolli (신동 막걸리) * * * 3 stars (Aromatic, Vanilla, Sweet, Watery)

IMG_0009

Note: This bar actually sells two variants of Shindong: a 9% and a 12%. They also do a half and half, mixing the two together.

Gyeongju Bopju (경주법주) * * * 3 stars (Yeasty, light, carbonated, dry)

Beoldeok Ju (벌떡주) * * * 3 stars (Sweet, sharp, “Korean pumpkin candy”)

IMG_0042IMG_0045

Note: Beoldeok is a spirit and not a Makgeolli ~ You’ll recognize the bottle by the extremely phallic bottle top:)

What Mamas & Papas liked: The Service. The staff were generally very attentive, despite the place being very busy when we visited. Our night started in the tented outdoor front section, however as space cleared up inside we were promptly moved inside to more comfortable seating. The owner seems to know about makgeolli, which is always good. He explained a little about the types he had on offer, and also revealed that he is studying makgeolli brewing himself. This is the kind of passion we like to see from makgeolli bar owners, and a knowledge of brewing skills will perhaps lead to a more varied selection of brews available at the bar.  Mamas & Papas were also quite satisfied with the food, with one mama commenting ‘feels like a fusion dish’.

IMG_0024IMG_0023

What Mamas & Papas Disliked: The Selection. Despite having several makgeolli types to choose from, almost everything on the menu was sweetened with the exception of Song Myeong Sub (송명섭). This is quite a common finding in the nightlife/술집 type makgeolli bars, which don’t tend to curate a wide palate of brews.  One papa commented on the Sindong Makgeolli combo as “This is a 750ml aspartame hand grenade, and there’s no expiration date”. Also the lack of any premium brews was a little disappointing as well. This place is a popular location on the local Korean nightlife scene and as such it seems to be catering to the preference for sweet makgeolli, which has been the trend here for some time.

Serious makgeolli decisions....
Serious makgeolli decisions….
IMG_0004
…made in the cold…
...but totally worth it
…but totally worth it

Recommendation: This is a great place to come for some light food and some drinks before heading out into the Hapjeong/Hongdae area for your night of fun. It’s usually busy on the weekends and that can either be great or not depending on your style. This isn’t really a good place for quiet drinks and conversation, however if you are on a night out it is certainly a good place to soak up the rowdy atmosphere. The prices are reasonable and won’t break the bank, however there is nothing on the drinks menu that is above entry level table makgeolli, so the caveat is the selelection. All in all it’s an enjoyable place to start your evening.

Statue of Makberty

How to get there:  Come out of Hapjeong station exit 4 and walk straight briefly before taking the first left before the main road. After a couple of moments walkding down the hill you will see a carpark on your left, and just beyond that you will find New York Makgeolli tucked away down a little alley way.

Address: 010-3130-4532 서울 마포구 서교동 394-20

Map: Here

Have you ever visited New York Makgeolli? Share your experience with the community by posting a comment here, or leave a message on our facebook page!

Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Name: Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Papa Dan

Location: Yeonnamdong (연남동)

10859838_10152475896266689_1990801443_n

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

10872193_10152475903031689_521953985_n

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

10872089_10152475896601689_325793688_n

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!

10872382_10152475902746689_1069447002_n

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.

961469_10152475902196689_1505826449_n

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!