Sunday, March 4, 2012


During our first weekend out in Korea, we went to a few "western-style" bars.  And by western, I mean European/American/Canadian, not country western.  These western bars are geared towards ex-pats, and usually that's who you'll find inside.  We went to a low-key bar in the basement of a building called Sleeping Cobains.  A single Korean man runs the place, taking any requests for music while filling drink orders.  It's dark with worn couches and chairs and filled with 70's and 80's classic rock decorum.  Eric Clapton and Beatles lampshades, posters of Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana.  The music is familiar, unlike the Korean bubblegum pop music pulsing through the streets.

We visited Little Woodstock next, which is another western bar run by a man born in Korea, raised in L.A.  He speaks clear English and Korean.  It's a tiny place with 8-10 stools at the bar, and three high-top tables against the wall.  Handwritten signs taped to the wooden planks of the wall advertise a few dishes like, "Chicken Quesadillas," and "Heart Attack Hamburgers."  The barkeep makes authentic American food on nothing but a single hot plate in the backroom.  I've tried the Super Nachos and can't wait to go back for a real burger.

After our introduction to the Korean bar scene, it was time for the main event of the night, noraebang. Noraebang is the Korean version of karaoke.  A group of friends walks in, rents a room for a few hours, and sings karaoke.  You are led to a room with a few couches, a coffee table, and a TV.  You are provided with a song book, and requests are sent to the TV via a digital pad.  They are played on the screen with some strange Korean music video that usually has nothing to do with the mood of the song. For example, a Korean couple searching for each other in the pouring rain played during our ensemble of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
What's better than noreabang? Furry noraebang.  Full-body onesies are provided to wear during the performances. Oh, and the onesies are animal costumes.

Kyle chose the chicken costume and added a yellow wig for extra flair.
Songs were requested anywhere from Adele to Peter Frampton to the German metal band Rammstein.  We had duets, trios, and even the whole group performing. 

Our friend Mary banging on the tamborine in her giraffe suit.
It only took a song or two to realize we should keep the microphones away from the cow and tiger pictured above.  Their specialty was bouncing up and down, yelling into the microphone in their British accents.  When we couldn't yank the mics from their grasps, we retreated to the stash of booze we snuck in under our coats.

Needless to say, the experience was unmatched.  Pretty strong bonds are formed after dancing around and singing in animal costumes.  The noraebang attendants turned off our TV around 6:30 AM, so we caught a cab home.  Luckily, we strolled into the hotel just as the complimentary breakfast was served. 

No comments:

Post a Comment