The 10 Best Bars in Gwangju, South Korea
Cocktail art at its finest | © Artem Pochepetsky / Unsplash
Gwangju may not be South Korea
’s biggest city, but with a slew of live music venues and a growing craft beer culture, it still boasts a lively nightlife. From brew pubs to jazz bars, these are the best places to kick back and have a drink.
The First Alleyway
Bar, Restaurant, Korean, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast Food, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, $$$
There’s no more perfect place to begin your night out on the town than at The First Alleyway. This friendly, casual bar boasts an excellent selection of beer – arguably the best in Gwangju – not to mention a good variety of Western-style pub grub such as poutine and pizza. Equipped with dart boards, a billiards table, a foosball table, and countless board games, there’s also plenty of fun to be had.
Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, Korean, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast Food, $$$
As Gwangju’s premier post-dinner watering hole, Tequilaz is always packed with friendly faces, particularly of those of the expat variety. With numerous beers on tap, and some of the best margaritas in town, there’s a drink for everyone, which will certainly be enjoyed thanks to the bar’s lively atmosphere. For added entertainment, Tequilaz hosts a bi-monthly open mic night, where the best of local talent performs acoustic-style sets.
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, German, European, Fusion, Korean
This café-cum-gallery-cum-bar is one of Gwangju’s most sophisticated locales and does wine by the glass, German beers, and an excellent cheese platter. Located across from the new Asian Culture Complex, Kunst Lounge exudes elegance with its gorgeous interior that fills with natural light in the day. If the weather is nice, grab a spot on the patio and enjoy a Hoffbräu München Hefeweizen or, in the colder months, warm up with a cup of Glühwein, traditional German spiced wine.
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Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Established over a decade ago, Speakeasy is, without a doubt, the go-to drinking spot for thirsty Gwangjulites. With an excellent happy hour, live music until midnight, and a live DJ keeping the dancing going after that, it’s no wonder why the city heads here to get their party on. Speakeasy also hosts trivia nights and plays all the important games on its big-screen TVs, making it a great place to unwind after a long day at work.
Bar, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails
Situated in the heart of Gwangju’s bustling downtown nightlife district, Amble is a solid spot for draught and import beers. With a vintage-style interior bedecked in vinyl records, the tavern has a warm atmosphere and good service that makes for a relaxed, group-oriented vibe. Be sure to try the Amble Draught, a dangerous concoction of coffee and Max beer. Trust us – it tastes better than it sounds.
Restaurant, Korean, Vegetarian, Vegan, Asian, $$$
Relatively new to Gwangju’s nightlife scene, Loft 28 has quickly established itself as a foreigner-friendly bar and the new go-to spot in the Chonnam University back gate area. Grab a drink and join your date on the rooftop patio for a relaxing, romantic evening. Or, for a bit more excitement, partake in one of the bar’s many activities and events, which include language exchanges, dance classes, themed parties, and even an escape room.
Restaurant, Mexican, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
A long-standing local staple for beer and Mexican food, Corona is best known for its drink specials, which are sure to make a night out more memorable, even if you can’t remember. Drink options include a selection of six imported bottles, Guinness and Red Rock draught. Need a quick fix? The Happy-Bomber pairs a draught of beer with a shot of tequila. Or, settle for a Coronarita – the perfect marriage of Mexico’s favorite beer and frozen lime cocktail.
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Nestled in Suwan-jigu, the newest area of Gwangju, Kozel is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. It serves up two types of its namesake Czech beer – dark stout and pale lager – on draught at incredibly affordable prices. Furthermore, the pub’s inviting interior and classic style emanate luxury, making it a fantastic spot to bring a date.
Gastropub, Pub, Pub Grub, European, Fusion, Wine, Beer, Cocktails
All the beers served on tap at this cozy Dongmyeong-dong brewpub are locally made and tailored to fit the tastes of its twenty and thirty-something clientele. Be sure to try their best seller, the Gwangsan Weizen, a frothy and full-flavored beer with hints of banana and clove. Or, for something richer, go for the nutty, rich caramel flavors of the Dongmyeong ESA. With a modern and sophisticated interior, Afterworks feels more like a café than a bar, while the professional staff are quick to make patrons feel at home.
In the Groove
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
For a relaxing evening, make your way to In the Groove, the city’s premier jazz bar. Every evening at 10 o’clock, the cozy, low-lit basement hideaway fills with the hypnotizing sounds of jazz as Gwangju’s finest musical talents hit the stage. While it may be a bit pricier than other bars on this list, it offers incomparable ambiance and unsurpassed service. So, put on your glad rags – your visit here is going to be the bee’s knees.