In South Korea clubs, nights and spas are all very different, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into!
Clubs, Nights & Spas In South Korea: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
클럽 literally means club. 나이트 literally means night and is short for 나이트 클럽, or nightclub. 안마, or anma, means “spa,” which I’m putting in quotes for a reason, because this is not always your average spa. 안마 can also mean “massage parlor,” or “sex parlor”. Surprised? Well, there’s more surprises on the way.
The Good: Clubs In South Korea
I went clubbing (a lot) when I was in Gangnam last summer. Answer in Cheongdam-dong was popular at that time, but I never went. My favorite clubs were Ellui in Cheongdam-dong– my new neighborhood, and NB, YG’s club, in Nonhyun-dong– my old neighborhood.
However, the hottest club right now is Octagon, which is also in Nonhyun-dong, and I went there once last summer. Things at the trendiest clubs in South Korea always get wild. Famous Korean celebrities often show up there, and famous Korean musicians often perform there.
For example, Leessang, Beenzino and Wa$$up have performed at Ellui, and Park Myungsoo, Lee Haneul and even Yoo Jaesuk have been special guest DJ’s at Octagon. So, for those of you who haven’t been, let’s go to Ellui and Octagon!
Clubs in Itaewon are also popular among celebrities, and I had a great time at a small club there called B1. There are (were?) some popular clubs in Sinsa-dong, too, like Holic; but, whatever– I never went there, because it was famous for having the best looking girls.
Anyway, clubs in Korea are like clubs in the rest of the world. Boys and girls dress up, and the girls definitely wear less clothing than the boys. However, the style of club wear is very different in Korea. Clubs in Korea also have tables where you can sit and drink with friends– or strangers, and VIP lounges.
Warning #1: Some clubs in South Korea– like in Hongdae and Busan, are “Korean Only”. White, black, whatever– you will not get in. No, this is not entirely racist. A lot of it has to do with the (bad) history of foreigners in South Korea, especially at clubs.
Warning #2: A “물” check, or “water” check, means to check the quality of the girls (or boys) at a club. Basically, some places– especially in Gangnam, that want the best “water” will not let you in if you are under-dressed or overweight. Yes, this happened, and it happened to the friend of a girl that I met last summer. So, dress and look your best!
Warning #3: Clubs in South Korea are well-known for being a place to pick up the opposite sex, hookup and have what is (usually) a one night stand, so if you start dating a Korean guy or have a Korean boyfriend, then he may or may not let you go clubbing.
But, this last warning might just be a warning for me, because I would die a terrible, sudden death without my weekend dose of clubbing.
Finally, most clubs in Korea have at least 10 to 20 dollar cover every night. But, cover usually comes with a free drink, too. Sometimes its ladies’ night, so girls get in for free. Sometimes, like at Ellui, if you like their Facebook page you can download a voucher and get in for free before midnight.
Basically, clubs (and drinks) in Korea are expense, but not as expensive as nights! For more on clubs in Korea, be sure to check out this awesome article on clubbing and partying in Korea and Seoulnightlife’s (crazy) tumblr!
The Bad: Nights In South Korea
Nights, or nightclubs, and 부킹, literally “booking,” go hand in hand. I have a few girl friends who have been to nightclubs and been “booked,” but my Korean friends– especially the guys, always told me not to go.
And, I didn’t. It’s not really my style, but I think it could be fun with the right girls. Booking is, in my opinion, what separates clubs from nights: A group of boys get a table, which usually costs at least $200.00. There, they also buy food and drinks.
A host (usually a guy) grabs a group of girls (who are probably dancing on the dance floor but also have their own table) and takes them to a group of boys at a table. If the girls like the boys, they stay, but if they don’t, they (can) leave.
However, some nights also have hosts and hostesses– no, they’re not just there to take you to your table and bring you food; and, some nights also have private rooms. So if you go, make sure you go with girls who are on your level– meaning, make sure you go with girls who will stay with you if you want to stay and leave with you if you want to leave!
The Ugly: “Spas” In South Korea
Fans of Kpop might remember Se7en and Ssangchu’s recent scandal. They claimed that they went to a “spa” for a massage, but a “spa,” aka massage parlor, is also a place where you can pay for sexual favors and sex.
Obviously, I haven’t been to a “spa” before, but there was a rumor going around my school that several Korean boys I knew had gone to one over summer to lose their virginity. Funny, I know.
Finally, apart from “spas,” I also know people in Korea go to love motels, which I’ve mentioned before, and “DVD rooms,” which I haven’t mentioned before, to have sex. “DVD rooms” are basically Blockbusters with rooms in the back.
I mean, they’re rooms with couches and (probably) condoms and Kleenex. Just make sure your spa is a spa and not a “spa,” and stay away from (or at least be careful of) Korean guys who ask to take you to DVD rooms.
I know people like to go to South Korea to party, but always be extra careful when you are in a foreign country.
Dress appropriately, drink moderately and always go out with a group of people you can depend on to get you home safely at the end of the night.