South Korea Nightlife Guide for Expats and Visitors
Korea had an epic nightlife scene pre-pandemic for those who don't know. The typical night out in South Korea starts with dinner and drinks around 7 or 8 pm. Next, bar and club hopping from about 10 pm to 3 am. Next would be grabbing food (and possibly more drinks) at a 24-hour restaurant. People would push on to an after-hours club from the restaurant or head home on the first bus or subway. People would typically get home between 6 am, and 10 am the next day. In a nutshell, that was Korean nightlife: eating, drinking, dancing, walking, eating, drinking… on and on to the next day. And it has returned after two years of curfews, but not without stirring up old problems.
Though everyone in Korea can experience Korean nightlife, sometimes expats and visitors are not welcome to party everywhere. Some Korean clubs and bars have signs that read, 'No Foreigners'. Unfortunately, the discrimination against expats in Korea has become hostile in certain situations, especially against expats of color. TikTok and Instagram influencer Patrick Ramos (@theexpatpat) was assaulted by a Korean security guard while live streaming on TikTok for filming the club's 'No Foreigners' sign.
The altercation happened shortly after other expats living in Jeju addressed it on Instagram. This new hip-hop club wasn't allowing Black or Brown foreigners inside. Korean businesses have the right to serve their desired clientele. However, that doesn't mean that those discriminated against will silently subject themselves to poor treatment.
In the wake of recent events, expats Kirsten Keels (@k_keels) and Patrick Ramos set out to keep other foreigners safe while exploring Korean nightlife with a green list. The Unique Situations community guide to Korean nightlife is a list of foreigner-friendly bars and clubs throughout Korea. They carefully researched each major city to create this helpful guide. Thanks to Keels and Ramos, and other contributors, expats can enjoy Korean nightlife without dealing with discriminatory businesses or possibly having an altercation with workers there.
You can look up the hottest places in Korea in the Unique Situations guide. The guide includes the following cities: Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Jeju. You can easily find the business name, address, and Instagram handles on the lists. There is also an FAQ section at the end if you need more information.
Don’t see your favorite place on this list? Leave a comment below with the business name and location.