by Rishika Murthy
Editor’s note: The Local is 3WM’s choice venue for the Dripan Art Walk in Liberation Village
Turn your head to cough and you might miss it. New to the Haebangcheon family of watering holes, The Local is the place to be if you are a musician, a fan of music or just a fan of cheap booze.
Owner and resident “hot bartender” You Ga Young opened The Local in late September. She said she wanted to “make a place where (local musicians) want to come and play.”
“In the HBC there are not many places to play and listen to music,” said Ga Young. “I wanted to open a place where people feel comfortable playing and having fun.”
She decided on this spot for her bar because she sees a lot of potential for the area.
“It has changed so much—just five or six years ago, there was nothing here. Now there are so many bars and coffee shops,” she said.
She hopes the Haebangcheon becomes more like Hongdae. Ga Young said Haebangcheon and Kyung-nidan have a more modern, artistic, cultural feel to them.
“There are a lot of musicians living in HBC,” she said. Ga Young hopes that the Local can help build a community for the musicians in the neighborhood. Editor’s note: Are any of these musicians talented or interesting? Or are they just the usual suspects whose motto is have guitar go teach English and play Rock Star in Asia… The Debate goes on. Send your op-ed about rock stars in Seoul to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Local hosts an open mic night on Wednesdays and a music trivia night on Thursday. Happy hour is daily from 6 – 9 p.m. Daily drink specials include Red Rock beer for 2,000 won and a Hot Piece of Ass (shot) for 3,000 won. They also offer basic pub grub such as pizza, nachos and cheese fries.
The crowd is a mixed bag of local musicians and other expats from around the ‘hood.
“The other day, I met a guy from Japan,” said patron Stu McFarlane. He likes the Local for its welcoming, intimate atmosphere and good mix of people.
“Everybody is welcomed and people get along,” said McFarlane. “It is not for anti-social people,” he said in reference to the narrow space. The space is narrow and The Local has the look and feel of a behind the walking bridge outside the bus station when your last drink happens as the sun comes up type of bar. But even sober types are welcome!
Rishika Murthy is an English Teacher and a journalist. She enjoys music too.