May 11, 2018
“Love drink, trust bartender” is the motto of this longstanding Hapjeong classic, established way back in the dark ages of 2009 by Park Si-young and Han Kiu-seon. Their aim was to move Seoulites away from the national down-in-one culture, and Si-young, in particular, was passionate about turning women onto whisky. Park has been a master of whisky for almost two decades now, and her focus at The Factory is on fine single malts, typically served with thoughtful pairing plates: think a choice of cherry options with an old-fashioned, or chocolate, fruit and nuts with a sweet Highland whisky. Presentation here is simple and stylish, with good glasses and great ice. In fact, many of Si-young’s customers are solo women, come in to enjoy fine whisky and civil conversation in an environment less oppressively male than in many Korean bars. The Factory has been a Hapjeong landmark since long before the area came into vogue, and the minimalist style of the space, with ample brushed concrete and slick granite, has aged well. But it’s not all about the straight stuff here – although Si-young encourages customers to sip rather than shoot, there’s an inventive cocktail list alongside the food. Think Moscow Mules served in authentic pewter tankards, with golden petals of ginger shaped into flowers, or a funky blue Jukebox cocktail served with a sprig of rosemary. Follow her advice and trust your bartender: you won’t go wrong.