Soju is drunk in Gangnam. Champagne in Cheongdam, and coffee or wine in Garosu-gil, Sinsa.
So which drinks fit the Hongdae scene?
If anything, Hongdae has it all. Hole-in-the-wall soju and beer places are everywhere. Jagermeister and tequila shots are commonplace in clubs. There are plenty of wine bars and other bars that sell hard liquor. But can you think of a place where you can have some sangria?
El Bliss is a dining lounge that you would expect to see in Cheongdam. El Bliss is reminiscent of Bliss in Itaewon, with similar wall design and light lamps that hang low.
But if anything El Bliss feels more like a cocktail lounge. In other words, totally un-Hongdae-like.
The place can be summed up in two colors: black and orange. The venue is long in layout and features two long parallel walls. What is notable is that each wall design is a negative of the other.
Mark Yim, also known as DJ Shine, kindly invited and explained how El Bliss is a big experiment for the Hongdae scene. Hongdae, to put it simply, is an oversized college town with indistinguishable beer and soju places, where drinkers and clubbers hang out until the sun greets them the day after. To put an upscale out-of-place lounge smack in the middle of Hongdae is admittedly a bold move.
“These days if people want to go somewhere nice, they have to head down to Gangnam (south of the river). We wanted to let people know that you can still enjoy good food and drinks in Hongdae without having to drive all the way down to Gangnam, without paying the Gangnam premium”, Mark elaborated.
So does El Bliss really measure up to the “Gangnam-in-Hongdae” standard he set for the venue?
The venue’s food was nothing short of what you’d expect from the Hongdae counterpart of Bliss lounge. I sampled salad, pasta, pizza and steak that evening. I was satisfied with the overall quality of food and service at the establishment and what I found noteworthy was the venue’s successful attempt in blending two styles together, whether it is food, interior décor or just overall concept of the establishment.
The concept of fusion seems to be the recurring theme for El Bliss; the interior décor can be described as modernized oriental, and the same description fits for the food as well. The fact that an upscale lounge is situated in the seemingly unfitting streets of Hongdae while keeping the cmenu at El Bliss consistent with Hongdae shops was also interesting. What puts El Bliss on the f“places to check out” list the next time you’re in Hongdae is its price.
While the venue looks just as stylish as the ones found to the south of the river, El Bliss does not have the Gangnam premium added to the cost.a
The establishment has tapas, pasta, pizza and grill & barbecue dishes on the menu. For drinks El Bliss offers a variety of beers, cocktails, wine, champagne bottles and sangrias.
When the night approaches, lights dim and house music plays louder. El Bliss morphs itself into a lounge bar in a few seconds and you realize how lighting and background music alone can transform a dining area into a lounge. Despite how large Hongdae is, there are so few venues that stay on par with what Bliss has to offer, if you are looking for quality music and drinks.
So the next time you are considering hitting the highway to head down south for good food and drinks, think again. If you’re near Hongdae, you might want to give El Bliss a go.
- Unique & stylish lounge in Hongdae
- Great food for the price
- Terrace seats available
- Good vibe & ambiance
- Limited parking
- 6:00pm – 2:00 AM (later on weekends)
- 마포구 서교동 407-12
From the Hongdae main gate: facing the main entrance, make a right and walk straight down the street until you have Samguri Pocha on your right and 7/11 convenient store on your right. Make a right into the 7/11 alley and El Bliss will be on your right.
From Sangsu Station: Get off at Exit #1 from Sangsu Station (brown line). Walk towards Hongdae main gate for 250 meters. Make a left just before having 7/11 convenient store on your left, or just before having Samguri-Pocha on your right. El Bliss will be on your right.
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