BUSAN, South Korea – In the heart of the Kyungsung-dae action, tucked away in an unassuming alley, a slice of New York City nightlife buzzes with beats and multicultural mirth. Before you even make it through the door, the thumping lounge bass hits your diaphragm just right. Multi-colored lights swirl through the windows in time to the beat while mustachioed hipsters mingle outside smoking ironically branded cigarettes in skinny jeans.
You’ve stumbled upon Zip Code, a cocktail spot that might be more at home in Brooklyn or somewhere off Houston Street than its current place in Kyungsung.
|Having stumbled around the Village myself once or twice, I can see the resemblance. The bar is small and spartan, but delivers the goods when it comes to well-made drinks and the latest beats.||
Owner, Shin Jee Woo’s story ties into the theme real nicely. A few years back he was living in New York City, waiting tables and not doing much else. He decided to come back home in Korea to finish school, but being a starving student wasn’t for him so, two years ago, he opened Zip Code.
“I modeled Zip Code after the bars and lounges I enjoyed in New York City,” he explains. The ubiquitous ‘11377’ you see all over was, in fact, his zip code when he lived in Queens.
Having stumbled around the Village myself once or twice, I can see the resemblance. The bar is small and spartan, but delivers the goods when it comes to well-made drinks and the latest beats. On a slow night, the bar staff betray their pretentious hipster vibe and happily join you in a friendly game of darts.
Once inside, claim your stool at the horseshoe shaped bar, find a cozy spot to kick back on the couches to the right, or elbow your way to suitable dancing real estate. Happy-snap Polaroids of epic parties past plaster the walls, while a sign matter-of-factly proclaims: WE CAN MAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT. And it’s not lying.
Zip Code boasts over 100 cocktails on the menu. They have all the right mixers, fresh fruit, blenders, muddlers, strainers – everything to make your favorite potion exactly how you want it.
It is one of the only bars in Kyungsung that can’t be defined as fully expat or Korean, and that diversity contributes to its energy. So, as the weather gets warmer and you find yourself craving that special summer cocktail, head down the alleyway to Zip Code, point at the WE CAN MAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT sign, and do your best to stump the bar staff. You won’t be disappointed. The Mojitos are solid and Long Islands only cost you five bucks.
But Zip Code is not just about well-made libations. They also feature DJs on the weekends spinning all types of danceable grooves, as well as a monthly party hosted by Busan’s perennial party boys, Better Magic Music Company. Understandably, Zip Code is where the Korean cool kid set prefer to spend their won.
Getting There: Take subway line 2 to Kyungsung, then out exit 3. Pass the Starbucks on your right, take your first right, then another right at your first convenience store. Look for the alley on your right, right across from Kino Eye, and head right in. Right?