Busan’s night view is spectacular. Come dusk, South Korea’s second city glitters with street lights, neon signs and towering skyscrapers. On warm summer nights, there’s nothing better than enjoying this view, glass in hand. Here are Busan’s best rooftop bars.
Haeundae Ogtap Rooftop
Bar, Restaurant, Korean, $$$
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Head to the Dalmaji Hill side of Haeundae Beach for Haeundae Ogtap Rooftop, also known as Ok Rooftop. This bar (and restaurant) has views out over Haeundae Beach, the ocean and the tall skyscrapers of Marine City at the other end of the beach. It’s located on top of Mipo Oceanside Hotel (not Darak Hotel; the building was reopened in August 2018). It has a relaxed, beachside vibe with wooden tables, deckchairs and tropical plants, and it can get quite busy at night.
Beach Bikini is the best place to go for views of Gwangalli’s iconic bridge. It’s right in the middle of the beach and always lively. It offers a variety of food (including some great pizza), cocktails and beer; if you order more than a few beers, they come served in a miniature version of Gwangan Bridge. The rooftop has regular music events, normally DJ parties with a focus on jungle and tropical house. Note that it’s sometimes closed for private events, such as weddings.
Bar, Hotel Restaurant, Korean, North American, European, $$$
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Located on the outskirts of the city, east of Haeundae and Songjeong beaches, McQueen’s Bar is perched atop the five-star Hilton Hotel. It’s an upscale drinking establishment; expect to pay in the region of 25,000 won (US $22) for a cocktail. The jazz-age-esque decor is stylish and theatrical, and the bar has excellent views out over the ocean (the hotel sits right on the edge of the water) and the area’s dramatic, rocky coastline. In the summer months, an adjacent pool bar is also open. Both bars offer a range of food.
If you’d rather stay in the heart of the city, Lounge, at the top of Park Hyatt Busan, is a bar located in the prestigious (and much more accessible) area of Marine City in Haeundae. Although the decor is a little corporate, the views are unbeatable, stretching over Haeundae, the ocean and the city around. Park Hyatt is easy to spot; look for the cluster of skyscrapers on the western side of Haeundae Beach. It’s the very tall one that curves into a point, like a long shark’s fin. Lounge is on the 30th floor and you can also enjoy afternoon tea here in the daytime.
For a much more casual option, head to HQ Gwangan. This laid-back, lively dive bar is a favourite haunt among foreigners and internationally-minded Koreans and has a fabulous view of Gwangan Bridge. It’s not quite on a rooftop, but its fourth-floor location gives it a bird’s-eye view of the beach below. In summer, its big windows open to let the night air in. It shows a range of sports games, serves Western food and has weekly quiz nights and regular live music. Keep an eye on its Facebook page for events.
Located on Yeongdo Island, Sinki Cafe is off the beaten track for visitors to Busan. If you’ve got time to make the trip, however, its hip rooftop has fabulous views out over Busan Harbour and Gwangan Bridge. The building is made from shipping containers, which have been artfully stacked atop one another and renovated to become a bright, airy structure. As well as the rooftop café on the fifth floor, the building also has a pub on the fourth floor, some offices and a stationery shop. It’s trendy and Insta-friendly – look out for the artsy neon signs.