Best sports bars in Seoul

Best sports bars in Seoul

Top-notch TVs, unlimited draft beer and outdoor projector screens mark these best venues for catching the big game

As the Samsung Lions’ formidable closer Oh Seung-hwan slings curveballs toward Lotte Giants’ slugger Lee Dae-ho in the bottom of the ninth, many zealous baseball fans in Seoul find themselves glued to smartphone screens on the metro or watching the game on flat-screen TVs in their living rooms. But isn’t a game-winning change-up much more satisfying when there’s a shattered Busan fan to heckle? 

Perhaps sports bars -- and the obnoxious fans inherently associated with an NFL or EPL upbringing -- are most often found in Western cities. But Seoul, the host of some of the world’s largest sports competitions, has evolved into a major athletics hub.

And when the city’s ceaseless soju drinking habits are added to the mix, this Korean metropolis offers the perfect environment for scoffing at Tom Brady and his new hairstyle. 

1. All That Beer, Seoul National University of Education

best sports bars seoul
Located just outside of Seoul National University of Education, All That Beer offers the perfect spot to watch KBO and K-league matchups. This massive sports bar has numerous top-notch TVs and a quality set drinking menu specializing in German brews starting at 28,000.

It’s best to come with a group because the TVs are positioned in front of the venue’s many tables and there is no seating at the bar itself. Menus are in Korean only, and don’t expect to catch any hockey games. 

B1 In and In Building, Seocho-gu Seocho-dong 1673-1; Seoul National University of Education Station Exit 5; +82 2 3472 0038 (서초구 서초동 1673-1 인앤인빌딩 지하1 교대역 5번출구)

2. The Beer Garden, Renaissance Hotel

best sports bars seoul
The Beer Garden is a great option for the classier sports fanatics who perhaps prefer a glass of red wine while watching the play-offs (See: San Jose Sharks supporters). The Renaissance Hotel pub broadcasts Korean games on an outdoor projector screen in the middle of a scenic terrace.

The venue also has a five-star happy hour special from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m: unlimited draft beer for just 15,000. If you’re looking for some food as well, the kitchen serves roasted beef sirloin with Cass draft beer, wine, soju and unlimited Makgeolri for 29,000. The Beer Garden is open weekdays from 6 p.m. until midnight; the outdoor terrace may be closed due to inclement weather.

B2, 676 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu (강남구 역삼동 676); +82 2 2222 8630

3. Itaewon alley bars

best sports bars seoul
For a relatively cheap pint and access to the major North American leagues, check out the sports bars behind the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon. While customer service may not be what the area is known for, there are a few spots with comprehensive TV packages. 

Sam Ryan's, a Canadian-owned bar that serves 2,500 OB, 3,000 Red Rock and 7,500 Guinness drafts, replays Sunday and Monday Night Football matchups on its many high-definition flat-screen TVs, including one in the bathroom. If you’re an Arsenal supporter, tequila shots are only 4,000, so you can quickly forget Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are long gone. The venue has a lot of open space, dartboards for halftime and satellite packages for all major sports leagues. 

Right across the street is Scrooge Pub, with three large TVs, a full-sized billiards table and 15,000 large pitchers of Cass. Scrooge’s Guinness drafts cost 500 more than Sam Ryan's’, but when watching the Rugby World Cup, this casual pub is the place to drink.  

Scattered across the area are other pubs and sports bars, like Hollywood, 3 Alley and the Wolfhound Pub. 

Take line No. 6 to Itaewon Station exit no. 3 and turn right after the Hamilton Hotel.

4. Beer Factory, Gangnam

best sports bars seoul
With a projector screen, 27,000 extra-large pitchers of Cass and Mexican nachos with sausages for 28,000, Beer Factory is a solid choice for watching EPL, K-League and KBO matchups.

The bar serves a wide variety of brews, from German pilseners to dry stouts, and plays all major Korean sports games on its numerous flat-screens. With O’Kims out of business as of May, Beer Factory has stepped up to become one of the best spots to watch the EPL south of the river.  

822-1 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu (강남구 역삼동 822-1); +82 2 558 3310; www.riceball.co.kr

5. Beer O’Clock, Sinchon 

best sports bars seoul

Another sure bet for those looking for North American leagues is Beer O’Clock, located in the heart of Sinchon. With access to all the NHL games, this venue is typically full of hockey sweaters, crisp draft beers and satisfying in-game grub.       

The bar no longer hosts its “Beat the Clock” special on Saturdays, but the “Team Sport” Sunday special is perfect for watching a game with friends. Buy one pizza, and get the second for half the price, or buy one pizza and one pitcher of Max, and get the second pitcher for free. Tuesday wing nights are also a hit.

The venue’s hours are now 6 p.m. till late on weekdays and 5 p.m. till late on weekends.

Seodaemun-Gu, Jangchoong-dong 52-53 (서대문구 장충동 52-53); +82 2 333 9733; beeroclockseoul.blogspot.com

6. Big Rock, Gangnam

best sports bars seoul
Hockey fans may have found a second home at Big Rock, another massive sports bar south of the river, with framed Wayne Gretzky and Lanny McDonald jerseys hanging on the wall and an all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays that includes sizzling strips of Canadian bacon. But the spot is not for hockey fans alone. Pitchers of Cass for 15,000 and a menu with burgers, pastas, quesadillas and fish and chips allow for a satisfying viewing experience, no matter the sport. 

818-8 Yeoksam-dong Gangnam-gu (강남구 역삼동 818-8); +82 2 539 6650

Maxwell Coll, a New Delhi-born Washingtonian/New Orleanian, works for the Korea JoongAng Daily in association with the International Herald Tribune.
Read more about Maxwell Coll