A couple weeks ago some friends and I discovered a one-of-a-kind hookah-lounge in Gagnam, Seoul called Rainbow (Rainbow Facebook page). It’s a dimly lit room filled with low tables, floor-cushions, a bar, and a DJ booth. If you get there early enough, you can sit in a nest-like loft against the wall. Shoes are removed at the door and placed in a bag, which you bring with you to your table. There are also small, worn lap-blankets available in case you need some extra warmth. Signs on the wall invite you to relax, but warn against getting so deeply relaxed that you fall asleep, which is not allowed.
I would describe the décor as Rasta-theme, but it is also a bit opium-den-like. One of my favorite paintings on the wall (there are many) is an alternative version of the Korean flag; the middle is a peace sign and it’s red, yellow, and green, in true Rasta fashion. There are many marijuana-leaves decorating the walls (and floor), but no marijuana to be smoked, obviously, because we are in Korea. Instead, there are many flavors of hookah, and buckets of alcohol. Well, they are called “buckets,” but they are more like square, glass vases, filled with various cocktail mixtures, and consumed with a straw. There is also a decent selection of wine, and you can get 10% off on Sundays. Needless to say (in true California fashion), this place is awesome!
A glimpse of Rainbow (these pictures are from my camera phone and don’t do it justice):
Madeline, Jacqueline, Rum Bucket
Good Band (forget the name)
Towards the end of night on weekends, the music at Rainbow tends to get louder and clubbier, so the vibe becomes less relaxed. However, not to worry, for across the street, only a few steps away, there is another great bar, Woodstock. Woodstock, as the name suggests, is another foreigner-friendly gem in Seoul with good music, a laid-back atmosphere, and reasonably priced drinks. Hooray!