BUSAN, South Korea — The door to Drunken Shrimp looks inconspicuous enough –almost barely noticeable next to the convenience store. But then you hit that funky stairwell that wraps up around the inside corner of the building until it opens up onto the first floor bar. You can stay on the stairwell and head on up if you want to play darts on the second floor. A few more after that, and you are on the roof looking out on the main strip at Haeundae Beach. All inside the ordinary looking doorway.
Though it stands a stone throw away from the beach, I wouldn’t call it a ‘beach bar.’ The interior has a hint of refinement and the bartenders are imported from Seoul for added flair and good pours. They can mix any cocktail you want, from martinis and Manhattans to Caipirinha and of course, mojitos. Happy Hour is Sundays from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. with all you can drink draft beer for $10 bucks along with other specials.
The bar itself spans three floors, including the roof deck complete with a great ocean views. If you are trying to maintain a lily white complexion, then you can catch your rays inside where the first and second floors have floor to ceiling windows looking right out onto the main strip with its parade of people. It’s the closest to Mardi Gras you’re gonna get in Busan and that ain’t a bad thing.
Owner, Alexandra Kim, a seasoned financial planner by day, has dreamed about opening a bar since she was 19 years old. When asked about the bar’s name, she replies with a coy giggle, “I love shrimp! And Drunken Shrimp is my nickname.” She hedged on elaborating, but the name is catchy and I will give it another try next time.
You might have thought I would never get to it, but yes…they serve shrimp! All Alexandra’s recipes. I had a sampling of each and found them all very tasty: there’s light, crispy batter fried shrimp you can pop in your mouth, cajun and garlic sauteed shrimp, bbq shrimp and for the more adventurous, medium-sized butter-shrimp that you eat whole… head, tail, shell and all!
One sure-to-be-popular service from Drunken Shrimp this summer will be their cocktail delivery and take-out service for beach goers. If you find yourself parched on the sand, on the verge of drinking salt water, give a call to the bar and they’ll deliver food and drinks right to your umbrella!
So, when you hit the beach this summer, stop in and say hi to Alexandra. “Haeundae is the natural place to go during the summer,” she says. “We have a different mood than other Haeundae bars and it's a great location.”
Maybe you can even get her to tell the story behind her nickname.
Drunken Shrimp is located next to the Seacloud Hotel, right off the main beach road. It’s open from 6:30 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., with extended hours in the summer. 051-747-9334