In the midst of the maze-like Naeja-dong district by Gyeongbokgung Palace, you’ll find – within an old tile-roofed Korean home filled with antique European furniture, wood panelling and dim lighting – this intimate bar from Korean bartending pioneer Robin Yoo. There’s no menu – each meticulously crafted cocktail is born from a careful consultation between guest and bartender. For something different, there’s also a wide range of whisky. Though the bar actually takes its name from the three-piece cobbler cocktail shaker, guests are treated to a small piece of seasonal cobbler pie upon their arrival.
Run by exhibition production company Glint, this multifaceted cultural complex on the slopes of Namsan mountain, south of Seoul, is loved for its rooftop views of the city. Its exhibition space has held retrospectives for the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto. Through 27 October, visit “White Red Pink Green” by respected German theatrical designer Peter Pabst, based on the work of late dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch. On the first floor, there’s kafe piknic encouraging communal dining at a long table stretching the entire room, and on the third floor you’ll find the Michelin-starred Zero Complex, where chef Lee Chunghu does creative and artistically plated interpretations of French cuisine, prepared using herbs grown in the greenhouse by the entrance.
Yang Jeong-hyeon has turned an old residence within a quiet Gangnam alley into a white-walled showroom featuring lifestyle goods of traditional Korean design alongside modern renditions. You’ll find lamps emulating the graceful curves of Joseon porcelain jars, Korean furniture reimagined in steel and rubber, contemporary takes on Goryeo celadon and many more objets d’art by about 100 artists and artisans – from local, emerging creatives to renowned masters.
The brand’s creative director Heejin Kim has drawn the attention of fashionistas worldwide with edgy streetwear designs embracing both the classic and the avant-garde. Originally an interior designer, Kim draws inspiration from installation art, dance, traditional Korean motifs and Eastern European punk, translating it into stunning monochromatic pieces. Her collection at S/S Seoul Fashion Week 2019 showed black garments of materials such as leather and denim, which age gracefully. Her designs have adorned many a K-pop star, including members of TWICE and SHINee, and have also featured at major fashion shows in New York and Paris.
5. Onion Anguk
Design house Fabrikr put the café brand Onion on the map by transforming abandoned buildings into atmospheric spaces. Located in Bukchon Hanok Village, Onion’s third and newest space uses a century-old traditional Korean home to artistic effect by enclosing the restored wooden framework of the house with walls of plate glass. Though conventional seating is available, many visitors instead choose to sit at low tables on the wooden floor. The Ang Butter Bread – a ciabatta filled with red bean paste and butter – is a favourite, as are the pandoro (traditional Italian sweet bread).
“Stroll around developing neighbourhoods like Mangwon-dong and admire the night view from Namsan mountain. Then head to the hip Euljiro district and have a drink or three at Seendosi or Euljiro Brewing” – Hahna Yoon, travel writer and magazine editor
Singapore Airlines flies to Seoul four times daily. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
SEE ALSO: 5 reinvented hanoks to visit in Seoul
This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine