Aided by a solid reputation for beachside nightlife and by a population of over 3.5 million (not including tourists), Busan is one of South Korea’s biggest craft beer hubs. With local breweries, thriving bars, and a wealth of imported brews, there’s no shortage of ways to quench your thirst. Here are some of the best bars for craft beer in Busan.
A great brew pub just a few streets away from Gwangalli Beach, Gorilla Brewing has a whopping 12 taps of house brews. They include a rich Tiramisu Stout, a clean White IPA, and a sweet and sour Raspberry Wheat. Beers are brewed on the ground floor, and the taproom is located on the floor above. There are also 12 guest taps that change frequently and showcase some of the best beers from Korea and the region. The food served at Gorilla Brewing includes excellent pizzas, fish and chips, and salads. The spacious venue has regular live music on weekends, and runs activities like free yoga on a regular basis.
One of Busan’s oldest craft beer bars, Galmegi Brewing Company opened in May 2014 and is now one of the city’s leading craft breweries. At the Gwangalli branch, a wide selection of house made brews are on tap, as well as a number of guest taps and a small, but well-curated bottle list. For eats, Galmegi Brewing Company offers standard pub grub, including finger foods and a variety of pizzas. Galmegi locations can be found in the Pusan National University, Seomyeon, Haeundae, and Nampo.
The interior of SKÖLL Gastropub is large and spacious | SKÖLL Gastropub
Even bigger than it appears from the outside, SKÖLL covers two levels of prime Seomyeon real estate (it’s less than five minutes’ walk from the subway station) and serves a full, predominantly Western, menu — think salads, pizzas, burgers and so on. It also has around 30 taps pouring at any one time, offering up a rotating selection of great craft beers. Their lineup comprises locally-brewed beverages as well as those from further afield, and always includes a tap of the house-branded, contract-brewed beer.
In the heart of Seomyeon, Busan’s bustling downtown area, Ann:nyeong rubs shoulders with lots of other great bars. It stands out because of its impressive beer list, which includes some beers that are often hard to find in Korea. Annyeong, in Korean, is an informal “hello,” and is normally used for greeting friends. This welcoming vibe extends to the bar itself; it’s hip, but still cozy. Whilst it includes local beers like Wild Wave in its ever-rotating selection, the bar’s strength lies in its imported beers. Expect to find Evil Twin, Boon Oude Geuze, and Founders in the extensive bottle list (also available for takeaway). You’ll also find European staples like Duchesse de Bourgogne and Thornbridge Jaipur on tap.
There are many things to recommend Slice Of Life Taphouse: it’s located on Gwangalli’s seafront, it has commanding views of the bay, it’s a top-notch New York–style pizzeria, and it has 15 taps that pour beers from Korea and around the world. Expect to see Mikkeller, Brooklyn, and To Øl, as well as more local brews like Magpie, Galmegi, and Gorilla. This place also has a well-curated bottle selection that includes staple Belgian beers, such as Chimay. One thing that is unique about Slice Of Life is that it offers draught beers to go, meaning that even the most discerning drinkers can enjoy a beachside brew.
This brewery began life as a sour beer project. In 2017, it moved from its previous location in Gwangalli to Seongjeong Beach and a much larger premises. Its off-the-beaten-track location guarantees that it’s mainly frequented by those in-the-know (although it’s only a 10-minute taxi ride to the nightlife hotspot Haeundae Beach). It doesn’t just specialize in sour beers any more; now you’ll find kölsch, rich stouts, and hoppy IPAs, among other styles. On top of its great beer scene, the venue often has live music and jazz nights, and serves great food.