By Susan Morgan
Calm and Hip
Behind the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon is a beautiful new building with vaulted arched windows and black lacquered trim. District doesn’t look like anything else in Korea or America for that matter. In the main entrance hall hangs a dramatic chandelier. The dark almost dreary, old world exterior contrasts whimsically with the charming glowing interior. The building gives off a warm, romantic feel that is lacking in an area littered with knock-off Chanels and street food. This structure is a visual cue for order and civility in a neighborhood fleeing its sketchy past.
On the second floor is the Glam Lounge: an upscale, night spot for having a drink, a smoke and conversation. The music is never too loud and the place is never too crowded so it’s easy to get intimate with friends or loved ones. The ambiance is fleshed out with unobtrusive House music and candle lighting. In the center of the lounge is a horseshoe-shaped bar designed to make it easy for patrons to make eye contact from across the room. Instead of feeling like you’re turned away from all the action staring into a mirror or at a bar tender, you are facing couples and friends sitting across from you. This is definitely the kind of place to meet someone or go with a co-worker for some after work drinks and unwinding.
The prices are high for the neighborhood. But this is par for the course as Itaewon reinvents itself as a cultural hotspot. Just across the main drag you can get a Midori Sour for W6,000, but the slightly higher prices work to the lounge’s advantage. For tranquility, intimacy and the chance to meet someone with a little more pocket change to spend, it’s worth the extra W5,000 for drink. The basic cocktails are twice the size of the other places as well. Only quality liquor is used and there is no watering down of the drinks. The extra won will save you from a fierce hangover later.
If you are going out in Itaewon stop by and have a drink. It’s worth adding to your pub crawl or making your new afterwork hangout.