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

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

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!

Tricycle (세발자전거)

Name: Tricycle (세발자정거)

Location: Hapjeong

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on: 23rd Februrary, 2013

Thoughts:  Tricycle is a clean and stylish makgeolli house, tucked away from the busy main street of hapjeong. It boasts eco-friendly food, and a wide selection of fresh, unusual kinds of makgeolli. The wooden interior and classic style makgeolli jugs give it an upscale feel, backed up by quality ingredients.

Tricycle Table

LOCATION                                       FOOD

Service:       *** 1/2                              Pajeon (파전):  *** 1/2 Bossam (보쌈): **** 1/2

Style:             *** 1/2

Ambience:  *** 1/2

OVERALL:  *** 1/2

MAKGEOLLI

Yeosu Gumodo (여수 금오도):   ***   (light, clean, sweet, plain)

Damyang Daedae-po (당양 대대포): *** 1/2 (thick, sour, balanced, honey)

Jincheon Deoksan Black Rice (진천 덕산 검은쌀): *** (light pink, sophisticated, strong)

Gongju Chestnut (공주 알밤): *** (thick, fresh, sweet, drinkable)

Tricycle Makgeolli

Tricycle is a makgeolli house that takes pride in its produce and selection of makgeolli. When ordering the set menu, the manager selected the best kinds to try and brought them out in order of sweetness.

What Mamas & Papas liked :   The selection. Mamas & Papas had the opportunity to try kinds of makgeolli we have never come across before. The Yeosu makgeolli, we were told, can only be found at Tricycle or in Yeosu itself. Mamas & Papas also fell in love with the bossam. Tricycle Bossam Its beautiful presentation was matched by unique flavors. One Mama said ‘The meat is wonderful, even though it’s not the traditional style it’s a fantastic new food!’. The pajeon was also a hit, one Papa calling it ‘Quiche-like, delicious!’. The best makgeolli of the night was the Damyang Daedae-po makgeolli with a slight honey flavor.

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The Shrimp Salad. The set menu we ordered came with a Korean shrimp salad, which did not ‘wow’ our Mamas & Papas.Tricycle shrimp salad One Mama said ‘It has too much onion, and I can make it better’, while another said ‘Not an exciting dish’. Mamas & Papas were also a little put off by the location, as it was a little more suburban and out of the way.

Recommendation:  Tricycle is the kind of makgeolli house you would associate with other upscale places such as Muldwinda or Moon Jar. It’s the kind of place you go to for a special occasion, or when you want to have really good quality food and makgeolli. But, expect to pay extra for it. Prices are high, though they are also fair for what you are getting.

Tricycle OutsideHow to get there: Go to Hapjeong station and come out exit 8. Make a quick U-turn and you will see a construction walkway. Walk through this and follow the hill down for about 10 minutes. Tricycle is tucked away on the left hand side of the road, keep an eye out for their sign.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 합정동 426-1 Map here

Phone Number:  070 4196 5224

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