I've played it safe in Korea. I'm not a big nightlife girl and have yet to dance at a mafia-owned bar in Youngsan-dong, or visit Hongdae on "club day"- where one buys a 10$ pass to a number of clubs so packed you can't push your way to the bathroom.
The nightlife I've experienced is a tame one- certainly a watered down version of the fun I had in Montreal. My Korean nights usually fit the same mould: dinner, then to a bar where I sit at a booth with friends, nursing beer and talking. Norebang is sometimes part of the equation.
There is a darker side of Korea. Some women are here on 'Entertainment Visas', and if they don't work as prostitutes, they're employed at Juicy clubs, where men pay 10 times the regular cost of drinks for the company of attractive women. Suwon's Hotel Castle has a club with martinis (and girls) on the menu.
Last night I wanted live music in Suwon. There's no such thing. Tae Hun was driving and didn't want to brave Seoul traffic to go out in Hongdae, so we started our night off at 'Live Cafe' in Yongin:
I've been consistently disappointed by Western food in Korea, and the pizza Kyle and I shared tasted like a piece of cardboard. I would have preferred a good galbi soup.
The music was a one man band. He played a good Simon and Garfunkel tune, but the Korean ballads made a small impact on me:
We headed back to Suwon and settled at KING Luxury karaoke club, near Ajou University. Most places charge 12-15$ for an hour of karaoke, but this "luxury" establishment cost us an extra 8-. We smuggled in a bottle of wine, and drank as we sang. Is the chandelier worth the hiked-up price? You decide:
I said it and I'll say it again. Even if you've just had dinner and you go to a bar, you'll be ordering more food. It's a social norm. Just look at our greasy platter of drink house food!
The bar was nothing special. Generally I'd say the nightlife near SUWON STATION is more exciting. The bars are more populated, and although there aren't many foreigners in Suwon, you're more likely to run into them there.
The cherry on top of our night was a smoky P.C. room where we played computer games. It was my first time ever, and I went as a social experiment more than anything. The room was packed with nearly 100 young men, staring at their screens. 'Bad guys' were shot at with with machetes, blood splattered onto the boys' Saturday night. They took breaks to light up a new cigarette or answer a text message.