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3 Seoul bars with incredible views
Rise above the riffraff for a drink at these bars that host some of the best views of the city
Sometimes a Hite and buffalo wings in an Itaewon pub is perfect. Sometimes, only a glass-elevator ride above the buffalo wing-eating hoi polloi will do.
Walking on the Cloud
Normally, it’s advisable to steer clear of any drinking space tucked inside a 1980s-era financial building equipped with an IMAX theater, family fun Sea World attraction, wax museum and touristy Sky Deck observatory platform.
The exception is this lofty Euro-style bar and restaurant perched on the 59th floor of Yeouido’s landmark 63 Building.
One of the country’s most recognizable TV “dating spot” set pieces, Walking on the Cloud bar features a mega-wine cellar, exorbitant daiquiris and sweet bridge and river views when the weather is clear.
The real premium up here is whisking up 63’s glass elevator to a quiet, windowed perch, then staring down at one of Asia’s best schadenfreude-fueled, highway rush hour light shows -- miles of snaking headlights stuck in maddening gridlock -- while nursing another drink, munching on a warm crawfish appetizer and thinking how life must really suck for all those commuters down there.
63 building, 60 Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu (영등포구 여의도동 60, 63 빌딩); t+82 2 789 5904. Full listing details here.
Only Asia’s first W Hotel could justify the schlepp out to a sequestered resort burb on the slopes of Mount Acha to drink for a hefty price in a lobby bar -- rather, the Living Room lounge at Woo Bar.
But on the right night, in the right funky eggshell chair, beside the right giant window with the glittering canvas of Seoul below, it all starts to make sense.
Awash in W’s patented casual-ethereal-retro-futuristic décor, WooBar’s claim to have “the longest bar counter in Korea” (measure it, 18 meters!) is one of those dumb Coyote Ugly-worthy claims that seems beneath this classy place.
More relevant is the choice of 40 vodkas, 200 wines, 3 a.m. Saturday night/Sunday morning curfew and relaxed smoking policy.
175 Achaseong-gil, Gwangjin-gu (광진구 아차성길 175); +82 2 2022 0333
The Sky Lounge
The Sky Lounge at the InterContinental Seoul COEX gives visitors a feeling of being high aloft over Seoul. Beacuse you are. Hoisted up on the 30th floor, the view is a sight to see both during the day and at night.
The bar and restaurant offers modern cuisine and cocktails in an aviation-inspired ambiance. Meeting rooms are also available for private gatherings.
The menu includes main dishes such as the grilled Canadian lobster and marinated Norwegian salmon, as well as desserts like walnut-honey chocolate pound cake and raspberry yogurt mousse.
30th Floor, InterContinental Seoul COEX, 524 Bongeunsa-ro Gangnam-gu (강남구 봉은사로 524번지 인터콘티넨탈 서울 코엑스 30층); +82 2 3430 8630