W Garden, Golden Eagle, Beat: Meeting ex-pats in Ulsan (Samsan)
Bars in Ulsan come and go like the seasons. Even those that survive more than a year or two go through cycles of popularity.
In and around Samsan-dong (the neighborhood near the Lotte Hotel), there are a couple of bars that expats frequent. Obviously if you've ever been to Korea before, you know that there is no shortage of places to drink, but there's the more popular places at the moment:
W Garden - a bit more trendy with dimmer lighting and various music. Drinks are moderately priced. To get here, start at the Lotte Hotel, walk across the street towards the Krispy Kreme. Go straight down the alley and take first right. It will be about 200m on your right side.
Golden Eagle - a relatively new English style pub. Its too clean to be a true English pub, but offers larger spaces, pool and darts. The food menu is decent too. Its a good place for big sporting events, but I have a feeling will be ho-hum on most other weekends. This is immediately next to W Garden.
Beat - A bit more of an after hours dance club. It can be a bit smokey and noisy, but its a good place to go if you want to stay out after 2am or so. Walk down the alley next to the Krispy Kreme. Turn left at the Dunkin Donuts. Its down the stairs after the Dunkin Donuts.
There are a few more places like Trevi (German influenced brewery) and Euros. Both have outdoor seats and some food. Trevi actually brews three of their own decent beers. From the Lotte Hotel, walk back away from the main street, away from Krispy Kreme (towards Chai restaurant). Take your first right and walk ~200m.
UPDATE 2014 : New in Samsan-dong is Sticky Fingers. Foreigner friendly, with live music. Most people will know where this is, so just ask.
Dress Code: Dress code is completely casual.
Most are are closed on Mondays.
Benchwarmers and Tombstone: Where everybody knows your name
These are the two main bars for foreign teachers (and some brave Korean teachers) in Ulsan. Great food, great atmosphere. Large screen TVs and foosball at each, Tombstone has a pool table, Bench has darts. Bench has open mic every Wednesday night, which is great fun. They're always open late (ie. when the sun's coming up), and a great way to meet fellow foreigners.
Dress Code: Whatever you feel like!
Royal Anchor & Benchwarmers: Oldtown Hangout
Again, bars in Ulsan come and go, almost as fast as the typical teachers who come here. Just when one is starting to quiet down, another is picking up. Wait a few months and the ebb and flow may change again.
Royal Anchor was the place to be several years ago and has recently been given a face lift and become the "new" place. Drinks are typically priced. Unlike most bars in Ulsan, this one has windows and if they are open, decent ventilation. It is in Old Downtown (Shinae Shi-gay top). From the clock tower, put the pedestrian walking street to your back. Walk one block forward to Royal Anchor.
[UPDATE 9/30/2010 - Benchwarmers is closing this week]
Benchwarmers is dying, but may again see a prosperous return. It has a regular trivia night, food and big TV for sports events. It occasionally hosts open mic nights too. Ventilation here has something to be desired. To get here, pass the Royal Anchor, take your first left, then 2nd right down the small alley. Bench is down a small alley & on 2nd floor from the street, so don't give up & keep looking.
Dress Code: completely casual
Benchwarmers and Tombstone: Where you want nobody to know your name...
Benchwarmers and Tombstone: Where you want nobody to know your name..
Both these places are incredible lame. Old, run-down may be a great place if you're a teacher or something alike.
If your are out for fun in Ulsan, go to some korean clubs or bars in old downtown or the new downtown., or alternatively Bangeojin area. The two mentioned bars here are just for teachers. As there is thousands of other expats in Ulsan - and if you are one of them, I recommend to stay away from these two lame holes and instead just pick any other.
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Acid Bar: Where It's At
Acid Bar is the new place to be if you're an expat living in Ulsan. Located near the Gonguptop (sp?) Rotary and across from 'Bobos' (spot the gawdy neon red signage), it's a large basement club with bar, dance floor, big comfy chairs and a nori-bang room. The bar staff never deny my song requests and the beer is pretty cheap.
Dress Code: Wear whatever, they don't seem to care what you get up to in there.
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