Address : Seoul, Songpagu Jamsildong 200-6
Open : 8pm Close : 4am
Yummy yummy. Waiting for you in Jamsil.
Everybody and their mother knows the flagship bars of Cheongdam, Hannamdong or Yeonamdong. But what if you live in South-Eastern and don’t really feel like making a trip to other parts of this 10 million+ city just to have a decent drink? No worries! Your local neighbourhood holds many hidden jewels, one of which I will briefly review here.
Sincheon (not to be confused with Yonsei University neighbourhood, Sinchon) and Jamsil are well-established night-time districts, usually frequented by local company employees or people who live in the surrounding apartment complexes. In some sense the area does resemble old Sinchon, before it died down, with numerous restaurants, ‘hof’ (beer+soju old style bars) and noreabangs (aka. karake bars). Things can get pretty rowdy and rough when everybody has one too many drinks. It’s kind of like being back in 2000s. But, say, you just want to chill over a good quality alcoholic beverage? No worries! There is a delightful classic, hole-in-the-wall, cocktail bar.
Inside Pantera. Williamdoing his magic.
Pantera bar, named so after a famous heavy metal band (ironically the music played is mostly chill jazz), is pretty much a one-person project, run by William Hong. His story is fascinating on it’s own (quit corporate job to pursue his dream of running a bar), but I will leave it to him to tell you himself, when you visit Pantera. The bar is small, tiny in fact (at best fitting 12~14 people), where most patrons are seated at the bar or a small, private table. An impressive selection of single malt whiskies and bourbons is just a backdrop for seasonally updated cocktail menu. Sporting famous classics, as well as modern twists and experimental custom inventions, it’s bound to be delightful adventure for any alcoholic beverage lover. Can’t find what you want in the menu? Ask William and he’ll surely make something that will bring tears of joy into your eyes. Talking of eyes, it’s a spectacle watching him make each cocktail. A strong believer in ‘slow-food/beverage culture’, William takes his time and cherishes the act of creating each and every cocktail, making sure that you feel that what you are drinking is really something special and unique (and it is!). But unlike Japan-styled bartenders, he won’t be just a maker/server but will engage in idle and vibrant conversation with his customers, making sure everybody is satisfied not only by the drinks but also by the cozy, homely atmosphere. This is a place that once you visit it once, you are bound to keep on returning for more.
How to get there:
- From Jonghab Sports Complex Station (line 9) : Get out of exit 9. On the corner, cross the street and turn right. Turn left into the 2nd alley and walk on straight, past CU convenience store. Before the second alley intersection there will be a dark door with, surprise, a pantera plate. That’s when you will know you are in the right place.
The door to your local heaven ❤ Photo by William Hong.