BUSAN, South Korea — Last December, four folks from Seoul dropped a food and drink bomb in Haeundae. Situated in the middle of the path between the subway station and the beach, the Wolfhound Irish Pub and Restaurant started serving a combination of food and drink that thus far had only been available to those in the nation’s capital. Less than six months into Wolfhound’s existence, some foodies find themselves wondering how they ever lived without it. The rest simply enjoy the beer selection and double Jameson for 7,500 won.
It’s not just Busan residents who sing the praises of the Wolfhound’s menu and drink specials, notes Canadian, Wayne Gold, one of the pub’s four owners. “We actually get a lot of visitors from Busan’s surrounding towns, places like Changwon, Ulsan, Masan, and Pohang.” It’s not surprising, given the limited authentic Western food options expats usually find in South Korea.
Expats in Korea’s second-largest city know plenty about the lack of Western food in the area. With O’Brien’s closed, they lost the only place in town that served decent Irish pub food. It makes sense then, that Wolfhound’s fish and chips and their famously tasty All Day Breakfast hold sway as the kitchen’s biggest sellers. Gold adds, “We sell a lot more club sandwiches and BLT’s [here] than we do in Seoul. It must be hard to find a good sandwich here.”
The Fish and Chips: One of Wolfhound's signature dishes.
Being one of the few places in town to grab a breakfast plate and a pint allowed Wolfhound to carve a niche of its own quickly. Digging a bit deeper, they set their opening hours at 11:00 a.m. on weekends and holidays, when most bars here tend to open in the early evening. That was a first for Busan, and one that continues to make the hungry and thirsty smile, no matter what time they feel like a full Irish breakfast.
While eating and drinking take center stage, pub does derive from public meeting house. Co-owner Gold enjoys making sure that the Wolfhound holds true to this community tradition by hosting various charity fundraisers, and an English book swap on the third Sunday of every month.
“One thing about Busan is that the people are much more polite than in Seoul,” he mentions casually. Busanites knew that already, but it does sound nice coming straight from the Wolf’s mouth.
Group photo by Mikee Dee