BUSAN, South Korea — Have you ever left work on a Friday thinking, “Hmmm, I’m feeling quite parched and a little stressed out. I wonder where in this city I might find a drink?” Yeah, neither have I.
The decor is modern, with a large rectangular bar in the center of the room from which the easy-on-the-eyes male and female bartenders perform flair shows. One entire wall is glass overlooking the bustling main strip of Seomyeon six floors below, and there is a variety of comfortable seating everywhere. Huge flat screen TVs show that strange version of billiards, in which someone forgot to put holes in the table. Yup, at first glance, this seems to be just another slick Korean bar.
But then you notice the far side of the room: An entire wall of dart machines. And what’s that in the corner? Is it… yes! A pinball machine! There is even a basketball arcade game and one of those touch screen games you always wanted to try at your hometown pub, if only the chain-smoking middle-aged barfly would have taken a break from it for a few minutes.
This is basically Busan’s answer to the American chain restaurant, Chuck E. Cheese. If you aren’t familiar with Chuck E. Cheese, I challenge you to re-evaluate your childhood. Back in the day, the coolest thing your parents could do was take you to the place ‘Where a Kid Can Be a Kid.’ There were arcade games galore and all the pizza you could eat. The best part was trading in your tickets, acquired by your abundant skee-ball skills, for a cheap plastic toy that would probably break by the time you got home.
Division 9 is Chuck E. Cheese for adults! Here, your arcade wizardry rewards you with things like free food, drinks and entire bottles of liquor. For example, if males make 150 points on the basketball shoot, they get a free beer. For some reason, it only takes 50 points if you’re a female (obviously the ownership has never heard of the WNBA). Score over 150,000,000 points on pinball – that’s good for a bottle of Absolute Vodka. The same bottle can be won on a Friday or Saturday with 400 points in 4 rounds of darts. Amazing!
And to keep the comparisons coming, Division 9 also features a diverse menu featuring some of the best pizza I’ve enjoyed in Korea. Also, try the chicken wrap and cream shrimp. The bar regularly offers random free rounds of shots to the crowd after midnight when it’s busy, and for the month of August, women showing up wearing sunglasses, hot pants, a high-top or a micro-skirt get a free shot of tequila.
When asked why people should visit Division 9, manager Park Kang Yoel summed it up quite well.“Yes… this is a bar,” he said. “But rather than just getting drunk here, people can come and be entertained with all the games and the music.”
So there you have it: If you want to be entertained with something other than the usual Saturday night shenanigans, Division 9 is well worth a visit to enjoy some games and camaraderie.
Division 9 is located in Seomyeon next to Foxy night club on the 6th floor. You can check out their Haps page for more info including a map.