Clubs, Nights, and “Spas”: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

In Korea, clubs, nights, and “spas” are all VERY different, so before you decide to go to one, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into!

A Quick Vocabulary Lesson:

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.”

The Good: Clubs in Korea

I went clubbing (a lot) when I was in Gangnam last summer. Answer in Cheongdamdong was popular at that time, but I never went. My favorite clubs were Ellui in Cheongdamdong– my new neighborhood, and NB, YG’s club, in Nonhyundong– my old neighborhood. However, the hottest club right now is Octagon, which is also in Nonhyundong, and I went there once last summer.

Things at the trendiest clubs in 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 amongst celebrities, and I had a great time at a small club there called B1. There are (were?) some  popular clubs in Sinsadong, too, like Holic; but, whatever– I never went there, because it was famous for having the best looking girls.

Speaking of girls…

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“Gangnam girls” at Octagon on Halloween Night~

(For more pictures of the girls– and boys, at clubs in Korea, be sure to click the underlined links above and check out each club’s photo album!)

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. Most girls wear low-cut mini dresses OR jeans– usually Robin’s Jeans, and a low-cut tee. Clubs in Korea also have tables where you can sit and drink with friends– or strangers, and VIP lounges.

Warning #1: Some clubs in 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.

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 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.

(This might just be a warning for me, because I would die a terrible, sudden death without my weekend-ly dose of clubbing.)

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.

Tips: Most clubs in Korea have at least $20.00 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 free before midnight. Basically, clubs (and drinks) in Korea are EXPENSIVE, but not as expensive as nights!

The Bad: Nights in 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 would 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…

Tips: 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 Korea

Fans of Kpop might remember Se7en and Ssangchu’s recent scandal.

Se7en and Ssangchu caught coming out of a “spa” while they were (supposed to be) serving their mandatory two years in the Korean Army~

They claimed that they went to a “spa” for a massage, but a “spa” 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– rooms with couches and (probably) condoms and Kleenex.

Tips: 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 Korea to party, but always be EXTRA careful when you are in a foreign country.

Dress appropriately, drink moderately, and always Always ALWAYS go out with a group of people you can depend on to get you home safely.

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11 thoughts on “Clubs, Nights, and “Spas”: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. OMG you HAVE to see if Beenzino will be performing around the time you’ll be there. That would be fucking amazing! And girl you can go to Hollic and show them Gangnam girls out! Hahaha!

    • Haha I think my oppa, D.H., looks like Beenzino, but I wonder if you’ll agree! I definitely want to go to some concerts, so hopefully I’ll get lucky and things will match up.
      And LOL, I just don’t want to be around a bunch of girls. Gotta go where the boys at~

      • Oh yes! I remember you telling me you had an oppa that looks like him! OMG he’s insanely good looking then, hahahaha! And yes I feel you, I’m sure the girls are just as catty and petty in Korea as they are here.

  2. I actually always wanted to go to clubs in different countries so I can experience something new every time but my sister thinks that’s dangerous. Haha and my baby Se7en :( A side from that are you winners going to get their cd autographed? My friend is one of the winners and I’m totally jealous so I wanted to know.

    • It is dangerous, but only if you go with the wrong group of people.
      LOL If I can go to a fan signing for EXO or something, I will get everything I have signed! haha My friend just went to SNSD fansigning and met Jessica.

      But, I doubt it will be signed. I don’t think I’ll meet any idols, but who knows! I’ll be so close to SM, omg~

  3. I went to a night club when I was in Korea in 2012. I went with two guy friends (I am a girl). It was during a holiday time so it wasn’t busy at all. I was nervous because I am shy and the idea of a night club sounded sketchy. But it was a holiday, and around 4AM so nothing was really open.

    I don’t speak Korean at all, so my friends talked to staff. A woman came and gently took me away by my wrist. Up some stairs, to a room. I was worried I was being taken to meet some random guy, but turns out it was a karaoke room with a bunch of people who all lived overseas, spoke English, or were not from Korea.

    It was still strange and I just wanted to hang out with my friends.

    • Omg, that’s so strange!

      I’ve never been to a night club, but I think your guy friends probably wanted to be alone with whatever girls went into their room.

      So sketchy when I was first reading! But in the end at least you were safe, but seems like you were bored and just missing your friends… :(

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