Hongdae, Gangnam, Itaewon - these are the where the majority of foreigners would like to spend their weekends drinking and relaxing. However, sometimes the best places are literally right in your neighborhood. Although many people do not know about Cheonho, if you you decide to teach English in Korea and are placed in this neighborhood, here are the top nightlife attractions in Cheonho to dine, drink and unwind.
To start, Cheonho is out the eastern edge of Seoul where the Subway Line 8 (pink) and Line 5 (pink) meet. Many foreigners are beginning to move into this area because it is close to the city but allows easy access to communities outside of Seoul. Like in many sections of Seoul, Cheonho too has a certain food as their specialty. In Cheonho, spicy small octopus (jjukumi-쭈꾸미), is what this area is famous for. Located just outside of Cheonho Station exit 8, you can find different types of spicy jjukumi and other seafood. In many restaurants, it is super spicy so many of us will need to knock out the heat with some soju and beer. If you are lucky, you may get some peach juice for free to help kick the spice.
“Rodeos” are special streets that many people will go to and meet their friends. Many times it is lined up with coffee shops, restaurant, shops, and bars. On Cheonho Rodeo, we call it ‘the Horns’ (exit 5), this is where we normally hang out if we don’t want to leave too far from home. To have fun, these are the top 4 places that we frequently visit:
- Doosan Arcade - Underneath my apartment building (yes literally Ii take the elevator to the basement floor) is where we like to go and start out our competitiveness. This is like a childhood arcade with claw machines, basketball hoops, video games, and coin noraebang rooms. This is a great way to be with friends if you don’t feel like drinking. It really does take me back to a time when I was a kid and it’s still fun even at my age.
- Container bars - If you want to grab a few drinks, and a typical bar isn’t your scene, then a container bar is the perfect place for you. Here, you just go inside and grab your own beers from the refrigerator. There is no need to hassle with bartenders since it is all self-serve. Here you can order snacks or side dishes while you and your friends catch up. My favorite one is across from my house because sometimes they will have a 1+1 soju special!
- God Bar - If you want the bar atmosphere, this is your place! Newly built in Cheonho,God Bar plays a mix of K-pop and mostly Western music. Bottle service is pretty inexpensive if you are in a group and it comes with side dishes. Plus, if you don’t finish the bottle, you can ask them to keep it for you until the next time you go. More than likely however, your friends will finish it all. It’s a pretty big space so while some friends may want to go out on the dance floor, others may want to play billiards, darts, and even beer pong. Every time we go there, it has been a blast and it is a great place to meet other foreigners in this area.
- Junco Noraebang - At the end of the night when, everyone is feeling good and doesn't want to go home, we usually head to Junco Noraeband. The reason many of my friends like this bar is because you can order alcohol (soju/bottle service) at a reasonable price. While some people may not want to sing, they can sit there and drink or play the tambourines while others belt out their favorite tunes. If your group doesn’t feel like drinking, I suggest that you find Luxury Noraebang (also in my building) because you can get free ice cream to soothe your throat as you sing!
These are some of the activities that my friends and I love to do in our neighborhood. I learned that as I became more of a regular at these places that they offer more free services from more singing hours to free shots. I also really feel like I have been more part of my community and if you choose to teach in Korea, I suggest you try and do the same!
Marc has been living in Seoul and working at the ChungDahm Learning' s Gangdong Branch for 4 years now. He has worked his way up from being a teacher and to a faculty manager for that location. He majored in Finance and Marketing at the University of Nevada Las Vegas while working as a manager for a national bank. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking the numerous mountains around Seoul and biking along the massive Han River. To know more about him and his adventures living in Korea, follow Marc on Twitter @geonmakku and on Instagram @geonmakku.