Ever wondered what it might be like to be in Korea during the 90’s? Well this Saturday we are time machining all the way back to comic books, power rangers….and of course, makgeolli! There is a quirky bar near Konkuk University that is all decked out in memorabilia from Nintendo 64s to protractor stencil sets.
But the best thing about it, this bar actually has quite a decent selection of makgeolli! It can be tough to get all the boxes ticked, but so far from what we have seen, we have high hopes for this bar.
So if you would like to join us for a trip down memory lane, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a spot!
The light at the end of that long dark summer tunnel is clear! And we have just the place to enjoy some awesome Korean alcohol and equally delicious food. Our meeting this Saturday will be to check out the rather new location of Wolhyang.
For those of you who might have followed our tastings in previous years, Wolhyang was one of the first makgeolli bars to offer higher quality brews in a more modern dining atmosphere. A name which has become synonymous with makgeolli bars, the previous locations in Hongdae and Seogyeo-dong were sadly closed, and now we have a new look and menu at the Yeoido location to peruse!
One of the special things about Wolhyang is that they offer variations of their own house brew, including their wonju (which for all the brewers out there that know is the un-watered down version 😉 )
So if you would like to check out the new Yeoido location of Wolhyang with us this Saturday, send an email to email@example.com to sign up!
It’s hot. Really, really hot. So hot that we lost our focus and the weeks rolled by without us realizing this Saturday is our favorite day of the month…MMPK meeting day!! So we thought long and hard about what kind of booze and food would match with this weather, and we thought now is a perfect time to hone our appreciation of the clear liquors Korea has to offer! That’s right, we are talking cheongju & soju paired with some of the best looking food we have seen in quite a while!
The next place we will explore doesn’t necessarily have the widest selection, but stocks a delicious cross section of takju, cheongju and soju. But what we are really looking forward to is how it all comes together with these good lookin’ dishes!
The location is in Hapjeong, just a hop skip and a jump from Hongdae, and is some seriously fine dining. We are always on the lookout for places that are experimenting with food pairing with top shelf Korean alcohol, and this place looks like just the ticket!
If you would like to join us, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your seat at the table 🙂
If you’re checking your calendars and wondering if we’ve got our math a bit screwy, the answer is yes we are a week late in our monthly meeting schedule! As many of you faithful Mamas & Papas are now aware, we hold our meetings on the last Saturday of every month. However last weekend we had some urgent business to attend to, so instead of just canceling all the makgeolli fun, we have squeezed the meeting for this Saturday!
It’s short notice, but if you’ve got the time you will not be in any way disappointed. This Saturday’s meeting is one we are just giddy with excitement for. Long on the books and finally just opened a few weeks ago, this location is set to be the Makgeolli Mecca of Seoul. With a menu of over 200 different types of makgeolli, takju, cheongju and soju, you could make a pilgrimage every week just to try and get through it all. It has already been visited by many members of the Korean alcohol industry, and it is now our chance to check it out.
The location is in Apgujeong, and the meeting as always will be at 7pm. If you would like to join us, send an email to email@example.com to sign up!
Soooo…..Spring sprung and sprang it’s way out of here, as it appears we are straight into the hot months of summer. But that doesn’t stop the tasting exploration, as this Saturday is April’s MMPK regular meeting! Usually we would entice you with pictures of food and fridges taken from the many internet people who have checked out the location before us, but this place is so new there aren’t any yet.
The place we are visiting is a brand new remodeled hanok in a quiet back alley of the Insadong neighborhood, that features one of the most impressively stocked fridges of top shelf makgeolli we have seen. And yes, full disclosure, this location has been previewed in person due to the lack of online information, and the snippet of what we saw was enough for us to commit! What was it that sealed the deal you might ask? Guacamole. Yes you heard us, top shelf makgeolli paired with tortilla chips and guacamole. Done deal.
So if you want to join us on the front lines of exploring this fresh off the press location, send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up 🙂
Phew, where did that month go?! It’s already the very end of April and that means our monthly tasting meeting is happening this Saturday the 30th! For this meeting we are going casual neighborhood style in the super trendy Yeonnam dong area (close to Hongdae). This recently opened place was recommended to us from one of our regular meeting goers, with the word being the owner also studied brewing (our favourite kind of people 🙂 )
The bar itself looks like it has some homey, rustic style foods with a fairly large selection of quaff-able brews. It’s not a huge space, so we will be keeping numbers to a minimum at this meeting so if you would like to come, sign up swiftly!
As always, email email@example.com to get your spot 🙂
Held at COEX, this exhibition shows wines, spirits, sake and yes of course Korean traditional alcohol! There will be exhibitors from 200 companies spanning 20 countries. We know first hand that there are some artisan brewers showcasing at the exhibition, so if you have any time feel free to get over to COEX and show them support…and of course taste some truly excellent brews!
Industry Show Days: Thursday April 20th – Friday April 21st
Public Day: Saturday April 22nd
Time: 10am – 6pm (5pm on Saturday)
Where: COEX Exhibition Centre
For more details on how to get there and what’s going on visit here.
The spring season for makgeolli festivals and expos continues!!
We just updated about a Makgeolli and International Flower Festival happening in April, but we have another heads up about a Korean Liquor and Food Festival scheduled for the weekend of May 19-20th. This one will be happening in the heart of Seoul at the Namsangol Hanok Village, and will feature all kinds of Korean alcohol and food pairings.
When: May 19th – 20th
Where: Namsangol Hanok Village near Chungmuro Station. Click here for details about the village and how to get there.
What: An event showcasing Korean alcohol and representative foods, performances and activities
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.
Service: **** 4 Stars
Style: *** 3.5 Stars
Ambience: *** 3 Stars
Overall: *** 3.5 Stars
Fish Jeon: (soft, light, juicy, delicious)**** 4 stars
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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’.
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.
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.