The 10 Best Bars in Busan, South Korea

Busan has a bar for everyone
Busan has a bar for everyone | © Adam Jaime / Unsplash
Mimsie Ladner

Compared to most metropolitan areas, Busan has a fairly laid-back drinking scene, but it is quickly developing. From artisanal cocktail bars and elegant brewpubs to jazz clubs and rowdy dive bars, there’s something for everyone.

1. Sharky’s Bar and Grill

Bar, American, Korean, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Fast Food

In addition to offering over 10 beers on tap and a wide selection of drinks, Sharky’s menu is chock full of crowd favorites that authentically represent their provenance, yet are never overstated. The bar serves up some seriously good Mexican food like the San Diego taquito plate and the California burrito, while their famous burger is arguably one of the best in Busan. They also do an amazing happy hour, with dirt-cheap drink and appetizer specials. Even as it becomes increasingly popular, Sharky’s continues to stick to its core principles of providing a relaxed ambiance and friendly service.

2. Club MONK

Bar, European

© eperales / Flickr

An easy-going venue with a friendly, English-speaking staff, Club MONK – named after renowned jazz musician Thelonious Monk – is a great place to wind down with a glass of wine. Established in 1998, the bar hosts daily jazz performances from 9–11 pm every day except Sunday, while rock and Latin nights are also held occasionally. About every month or so, Club MONK also invites the public to attend their famous Poetry Plus, in which local poets, stand-up comedians and actors perform. Check the bar’s Facebook page to see the monthly schedule.

3. Beached Bar

Bar, North American, Pub Grub, Korean, Wine, Beer, Cocktails

Beached Bar has quickly become a favorite expat hangout in Busan. Run by a New Zealander, this laid-back bar has a lot going for it. Large windows open up in the warmer months, offering incredible views of Gwangalli Beach and Bridge, creating the perfect setting for throwing back a few brews. It also hosts a variety of events such as live performances, community markets and themed nights, such as its Walking Dead evenings, complete with lots of drink specials.

4. Galmegi Brewing Company

Bar, North American

© Chelsea Marie Hicks / Flickr

The granddaddy of local craft beer destinations in Busan, Galmegi Brewing Company opened its doors in May 2014 to immediate success. Starting as a band of passionate home-brewers, the minds behind Galmegi have grown it into the leading craft brewery of the city. With a wide selection of their own brews, including their Espresso Vanilla Stout, Lighthouse Blonde ale and Campfire Amber, there’s a brew for just about everyone. Their menu also boasts standard pub grub, including several finger foods and a variety of pizzas.

5. Lounge

Bar, Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Wine Bar, Japanese, Steakhouse, Sushi

Don’t let the name fool you. There’s nothing simple about the views from this 30th floor venue located in the Park Hyatt Busan, or the premium beverages it serves up. Lounge’s floor to ceiling glass windows look out over the bustling metropolis of Busan, and provide a great lookout to take in the gorgeous contrast of the city’s stunning coastline and mountainous landscapes. Oenophiles will be impressed with the wine menu that spans the globe to offer the best vino of both the old world and new. If you’re feeling fancy, opt for the ‘Twilight Experience’, which includes drinks, savory snacks and dips in one all-inclusive package.

6. Owl and Pussycat Tap Room and Kitchen (OPC Brewing Co.)

Bar, Pub, North American, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Fast Food, Korean

Opened as a bottle shop in 2014, Owl and Pussycat has grown to become one of the most popular tap houses in the Gwangan Beach area. Boasting a gorgeous view of the Gwangan Bridge, visitors can select from over 20 local and international beers on tap, including OPC’s own blend, a Saison Belgian farmhouse ale named Suri. They also do great Italian-style pizzas that pair perfectly with their brew.

7. Papa's

Cocktail Bar, Nightclub, North American, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Pub Grub, Korean

In a beach town chock full of boisterous bars that focus more on the party and less on the quality of the drinks, Papa’s stands out with its seriously exciting cocktail concoctions. Stocking some of the finest names in the whisky world, not to mention other premium spirits and fresh ingredients, quality is what matters here. The well-trained, bubbly bartenders are just as good at making you feel like a friend as they are at serving up a good drink.

8. Vinyl Underground

Bar, North American

© Steve Snodgrass / Flickr

One of the longest running bars in Busan, Vinyl Underground consistently brings fantastic live music to the people of Busan every weekend. Located on the vibrant Kyungsung University “club street,” the bar offers some of the wildest performances in a wide variety of genres, ranging from rock and roll and jazz to hip-hop and house.

9. Wolfhound

Bar, Irish, British

© Johnny Silvercloud / Flickr

Located just a two minute walk from Haeundae, the Wolfhound makes for a great stop before, after or during your beach trip. The popular Irish pub, which was originally established in Seoul, offers a wide selection of local and imported beers, strong drinks, tasty cocktails and hearty home-style food. On the weekends, a DJ keeps the atmosphere lively with good music, while the bar’s annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities are certainly a springtime Haeundae highlight.

10. Haeundae Standard

Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, Korean

Just a stone’s throw from Haeundae Beach, this white-walled venue stays packed with a trendy, youthful crowd who has a refined taste for top-notch, hand-crafted cocktails. The bartenders are knowledgeable and drink presentation is impeccable. The whisky-centric bar makes its old-fashioned, for example, by swirling it in a decanter filled with hickory smoke before pouring it over hand-carved ice balls.

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