May 11, 2018
The house rules of this dinky, 16-seat Hannam-dong speakeasy are nothing if not to the point. Nobody under 30 (sorry, youngsters!); no groups larger than 5; no business meetings; no reservations unless you’re a member, which costs a cool 3,000,000 won a year; and, finally, a 10,000-won cover charge. Yet if you like your secret bars secret – and The Booze doesn’t even publish its address – and your whiskies classy, and, of course, you’re suitably, ahem, mature, this is a great spot to imbibe: Seoul’s answer to NYC’s original Milk & Honey. Shoe shines, tea and coffee are on the house, and, since there’s no kitchen, you’re welcome to bring in food. Décor is the regulation speakeasy dark wood, with iconic bottles on display – The Booze’s selection of a couple of hundred single malts (both Scotch and Japanese) is not to be sniffed at, while they also boast a solid selection of bourbons and gin. Bartenders are happy to craft an ice diamond to adorn your favoured beverage – ice balls are soooo last century, dahlings. You’ll find, of course, all the classic cocktails you could shake a stick at here, many of them subtly tweaked to update them for the modern era, like a Gimlet with fresh herbs. Needless to say, The Booze is no place for a crazy night out. Yet if you’re travelling solo and want a spot where you can prop up the bar, discover some amazing drinks and chat to the surprisingly approachable bar staff, The Booze is the answer to your prayers. You’ll just need to find it first.