Seoul's Shinsegae water bar: 80 ways to stay hydrated

Seoul's Shinsegae water bar: 80 ways to stay hydrated

The bottles! The labels! The choices! The epic decisions at this Seoul water bar will have you needing a drink in no time

Medical experts say that eight cups of water a day is enough to stay healthy, but these days the challenge is choosing the best one.

Major department store Shinsegae is one of the easiest places to find a good Seoul water bar. Water bars basically sell different types of water ranging from Evian to Vitamin Water.

Pretty bottles of pretty and tasty water await busy shoppers at the water bar in Shinsegae department store. Is water becoming the next coffee?

The trend started last year, when interest in healthy beverages was on the rise, but Shinsegae is one of the few suppliers that has managed to stay on top of the trend.

Located in Gangnam near the Express Bus Terminal, the water bar at Shinsegae is easy to find.

One to two “water sommeliers” greet customers at the bar, explaining each product and making suggestions.

The water bar carries 80 types of water, which are divided into six categories: spring water; sparkling water; glacial water; deep sea water; baby water and functional water.

Yes, we're suckers for packaging. So what?

The easiest, and probably the most popular, way to choose is the packaging. Water in a bottle may look the same, but a smart and unique bottle design or label can actually make a huge difference.

Hence the pretty bottles young female Korean customers carry in their hands and expensive bags.

At the bar, Smart Water, represented by actress Jennifer Aniston, and Kona Deep from Hawaii, stand out with their simple white and blue design, while San Pellegrino, Ty Nant and TAU also attract attention with their unique bottles and labels.

Other ways to choose are taste and characteristics.

According to one water sommelier, the newest add at the bar is Ganic Water,  a line of mineral water that has distinctive aromas of lemongrass, green tea and cranberry.

Instead of adding the taste of the actual ingredients to the water, Ganic Water aims to bring the same sensation through aromas.

For mothers, Jana Baby Mineral Water can be a smart and healthy choice, while for those searching for a refreshing type with a kick, sparkling waters such as TAU or Perrier will satisfy.

Some customers may need more than a second or two to choose from some 80 types of water.

After customers choose the right bottle, the water sommelier offers each with a clear glass for the customer to enjoy.

The bar is quite small and located in the middle of the busy food section of the department store. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to stop for a moment for a clear, unique glass of water amid the busy shoppers and vendors.

Prices differ, from ₩1,100 to ₩15,000 per bottle. Water bars can be found in Shinsegae stores at Busan, Gangnam, Yeongdeungpo and Chungmuro.

For more information, visit Shinsegae's Korean website.

19-3 Banpo 1-dong, Seocho-gu (서울시 서초구 반포 1동 19-3); +82 80 595 1155

Rachel Sang-hee Han is a freelance writer for CNN Travel. 

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