The pub and bar scene in Seoul is alive and kicking, giving plenty of reasons for you to hit the streets of the Korean capital after dark if nightclubs aren’t your thing. Seoul’s nightlife scene is one of the best in Asia, and it’s no wonder why. 

    The Sinchon area of the city continues to draw a fun-loving, university crowd, while upscale bars in downtown Seoul attract fashionistas with a bit more cash to splash. Of course, no list of a city’s best nightlife can miss out on rooftop bars, where you can enjoy drinks with amazing views. Below is our selections of the best pubs and bars in Seoul.

    1

    Whynot Cocktail Bar

    A stylish whiskey bar with knowledgeable bartenders

    Whynot Cocktail Bar serves a plentiful selection of cocktails, though whiskey is its real specialty. The bar shelves are packed with imported bourbons, scotches, and ryes. Its whiskey of the week scheme showcases some truly delicious beverages. Staff are on hand to lend their expertise and help you sort through the menu, which spans several pages.

    If you don't fancy a glass of whiskey, the cocktails are equally tasty. A standout is the Rose Petal cocktail, flavored with lychee and elderflower. Whynot Cocktail Bar also sells a good range of cigars, which you can then enjoy in its dedicated smoking room. The atmosphere is convivial but discreet, so you're more likely to hear quiet conversations than raucous partying.

    Location: 17 Daesagwan-ro 31-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 7 pm to 4 am, Friday–Saturday from 7 pm to 6 am

    Phone: +82 (0)2-3785-3226

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    2

    Pussyfoot Saloon

    Travel the world in this train-themed bar

    Pussyfoot Saloon is a sophisticated drinking joint modeled after a vintage train automobile. The cocktail menu is filled with classics like Manhattan and Old Fashioned, along with innovative creations. Standouts include Sherry Flip, made with sherry and nutmeg powder, and Milk Punch, which combines milk, cognac, and spiced rum.

    True to its travel theme, Pussyfoot Saloon hosts bartenders from around the world, who create their own unique cocktail menu based on their home countries. The eclectic food menu includes candied bacon chips, Taiwanese deep-fried shrimp, and Russian imperial caviar. Try to grab a booth on the top floor, with its train-like padded benches and rounded windows.

    Location: 7-8, Daesagwan-ro 31-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to 3 am

    Phone: +82 (0)2-792-5945

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    3

    Alice Cheongdam

    A quirky bar inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous fairy tale

    Alice Cheongdam imitates the atmosphere of a venerable gentlemen's club, with opulent sofas, dark wood paneling and elegantly dressed windows. Thanks to the creativity of owner Terry Kim and his team of award-winning bartenders, you can enjoy offbeat cocktails made with unique ingredients and daring flavors. Snacks are equally unique, combining traditional English flavors with a Korean touch.

    Try the Hippity-Hoppity, made with vodka, elderflower, and aloe vera and served in a rabbit-shaped cup. Its 'Alice Boutique' gin with grapefruit juice, comes in a glass shaped like an elephant. You can find Alice Cheongdam’s entrance at the back of a quaint little flower shop, signposted with an appropriately themed white rabbit.

    Location: 84-20 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 7 pm to 3 am

    Phone: +82 (0)2-511-8420

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    4

    Le Chamber

    Basement speakeasy hidden behind a secret entrance

    Le Chamber is a glamorous bar styled like an old-fashioned speakeasy, with beverages created by many of Seoul's award-winning mixologists. The extensive cocktail menu features classics like whiskey sours alongside more inventive concoctions inspired by flavors from all over the world. They also have more than 200 different whiskeys.

    Try Chamber Story, a spiced rum served with tropical fruits, or Le Chamber's signature Moscow mule, made with fresh ginger. Heavy chandeliers, plush leather armchairs and live music from the grand piano all add to the speakeasy atmosphere. To get in, push the right book in Le Chamber's bookshelf, and the hidden door will slide open.

    Location: 42 Dosan-daero 55-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 7 pm to 3 am, Friday–Saturday from 7 pm to 4 am

    Phone: +82 (0)2-6337-2014

    Map
    5

    Sky Lounge at COEX Intercontinental Seoul

    Sky Lounge, located on the 30th floor of InterContinental Seoul COEX, serves modern Italian cuisine and cocktails in an aviation-inspired setting. The lounge has a minimal décor, white furnishing, and windows overlooking the Han River and downtown Seoul.

    You can enjoy imported wines and whiskeys with Italian and pan-Asian dishes. The ambience here is rather subdued, with unobtrusive music and efficient service, making it a good place for quiet gatherings and romantic dinners.

    Location: InterContinental Seoul COEX, 524 Bongeunsa-ro, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Restaurant: daily from 12 pm to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 9.30 pm. Bar: Sunday–Wednesday from 9.30 pm to 1 am, Thursday–Saturday from 9.30 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +82-2-3430-8630

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    6

    The Library

    The Library at The Shilla Seoul is an all-day lounge with a contemporary design. It offers a very extensive drinks menu, which includes around 250 wines and 70 malt whiskeys. You can enjoy live jazz on weekends. The lounge stocks plenty of books on art, culture and history – grab a sofa and enjoy some quiet time during the day. 

    Location: 1st Floor, The Shilla Seoul, 249 Dongho-ro, Jangchung-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 am

    Phone: +82-2-2230-3388

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    photo by Maris Teteris (CC BY 3.0) modified

    7

    Griffin Bar

    The exquisite Griffin Bar at JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul is one of the city’s best spots to enjoy signature cocktails and fine wines. Set on the 11th floor, the bar has a rooftop terrace overlooking Heunginjimun (Great East) Gate, a 600 year-old heritage site built during the Joseon Dynasty. 

    A favorite among affluent travelers, local socialites and celebrities, Griffin Bar is a nice place to mix and mingle while enjoying classical piano performances.

    Location: JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul, 279 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno 5(o).6(yuk)ga-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 1 pm to 5 am (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +82-2-2276-3344

    Map
    8

    Pierre's Bar

    Pierre Bar serves around 28 types of vodkas, signature cocktails, and premium champagnes. This posh establishment is set on the 35th floor of Lotte Hotel Seoul – you can enjoy a great view of downtown Seoul and N Seoul Tower in Namsan Park. 

    Fitted with intimate boudoirs and plush sofas, the atmosphere is livelier come night time, with resident DJs spinning electronic, hip-hop and house tunes. Catering to an affluent clientele, the service here is graceful and poised with cocktails priced between 18,000 and 30,000 won, while bottles start at 240,000 won.

    Location: Lotte Hotel Seoul, 81 Namdaemun-ro, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 12 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +82-2-317-7181

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    9

    The Timber House

    The Timber House’s design concept is based on the traditional hanok (Korean house). Located on the lower level of the Park Hyatt Seoul, the bar is decorated with roof tiles, patterned sliding doors, a wall of stacked books, and a glass wall decorated with old furniture locks. 

    With a clientele of local celebrities and affluent travelers, the bar serves boutique sakes, signature cocktails, Korean soju, vintage champagnes, new world wines, and whiskeys. At The Timber House, you can also enjoy live jazz music performances from 8.30pm. 

    Location: Park Hyatt Seoul, 606 Teheran-ro, Daechi 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +82-2-2016-1291

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    10

    Cakeshop Seoul

    Cakeshop Seoul has a diverse music policy, from future house, UK bass, and techno to disco, hip hop and D&B. This underground club occupies a former illegal strip club, with an industrial-themed interior 

    There’s also a breezy terrace overlooking the bustling Itaewon district. It's a small club that fits about 200 people, so the dancefloor can get quite packed with partygoers, especially on nights featuring international DJs. 

    Location: 134 Itaewon-ro, Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 am (closed Sunday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +82-10-7444-1926

    Map
    11

    Glam Lounge

    Glam Lounge attracts fashionable elites, young executives, and business travelers with its upscale setting and specialty cocktails. The 2-storey lounge features vaulted arched windows, glittering chandeliers, and stylish interiors. 

    The ambience here is relaxed, with unobtrusive house music playing in the background. A central horseshoe-shaped bar is fronted by skilled mixologists, who can easily whip up something unique for cocktail lovers. Entry is free of charge, but the price range at Glam Lounge is higher than most bars in Itaewon. Most drinks cost between 10,000 and 15,000 won. 

    Location: 26 Itaewon-ro 27ga-gil, Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Sunday–Wednesday from 7 am to 3 am, Thursday from 7 am to 4 am, Friday–Saturday from 7 am to 5.30 am

    Phone: +82-2-796-6853

    Map

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