You can’t really say you’ve experienced Korean club culture unless you’ve been to Club Naked. Unfortunately for those that haven’t, you may have permanently missed out on a piece of Seoul clubbing history.
It was only about a year ago that I stumbled upon Seoul’s afterclub scene while it was still in its infancy. These venues didn’t get crowded until after 3am, and it wasn’t uncommon to leave a still-packed afterclub to find the sun already high in the sky. At the time, they gathered only a small crowd, and I remember thinking it felt like everyone there knew each other, like it was a tightly knit family. The old Club Naked was among the first of these afterclubs.
When Naked moved its location to its current resting place near Hak-Dong Station, the afterclub scene exploded. No longer were clubbers content to end the night around 4am — when the megaclubs started to empty out, hordes of people would then flock to Club Naked to party well into the morning. Standing outside the front doors at 6 or 7am was a sight to behold — you’d find the most diehard of clubbers wandering out, shielding their eyes from the bright sun and loitering around, not quite ready to go home and not really sure what to do with themselves.
However, such a sight is no more, for as of April 2nd, 2010, Club Naked has officially closed its doors.
I know it was not uncommon for Club Naked to be raided by the police, served a violation, and shut down for the night — but this time it’s permanent. Apparently they didn’t have the proper licenses to be operating a club in the first place. Though this is something that is typically overlooked, as most clubs in Hongdae also lack the proper licenses as well, Club Naked was not granted the same leeway. Perhaps being located in a residential neighborhood, the police grew tired of nagging phone calls from Sunday churchgoers who were appalled by the scantily-dressed clubber wandering through their neighborhood early in the morning. But whatever the reason may be, as for right now, Club Naked is no more.
The notice promises they will be back as soon as possible. Whether that means they will re-open their doors or if they’re looking for a new location, it isn’t clear. But what I do know is that with this announcement brings an end to an integral chapter of Seoul’s club history.
Club Naked, you will be missed.