Humphreys crowd beats heat at Cool Bar
ANJUNG-RI, South Korea - Looking to beat the summer heat? It's easy enough at the Cool Bar.
Soldiers from Camp Humphreys have enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere of the Cool Bar since it opened about three years ago. It's a straight shot out the camp's walk-in gate, a few hundred yards down the main drag, on the left side of the street.
Customers say they feel at home at the small bar and that it's easy to become a regular.
Like many of the bars found outside U.S. military bases, customers at Cool like to sign dollar bills - sometimes even five and 10 dollar bills - with messages that are put on display. Grab a seat along one of the two bars inside Cool and you'll spot the bills under the glass counter.
Hanging on the walls are various unit logos and symbols, lit by glowing green neon and Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling.
The bar can seat about 25 people around one pool table. Seating might get a bit tight if anyone is playing darts, especially since the dartboards are a bit worn out and the darts tend to bounce off the target.
A bit of service rivalry is evident on the tip jars. One features a sticker that states "We (heart) U.S. Army." A second tip jar sports the same sticker, but someone used a pen to scrawl "U.S. Air Force" in place of "Army."
Like most of the other bars in Anjung-ri, the staff strictly enforces the U.S. Forces Korea drinking age of 21. Expect to show an identification card if you're looking to order alcohol.
And if you're thinking about trying something new, order one of these favorites: Liquid Death, Catch 22, Rainbow Soju or the Jager Bomb.
Most of the cocktails range from about $4 to $8, while beer runs about $3.
The bar welcomes a nice mix of South Korean and U.S. customers, so it won't seem too much like a base club. The music, thousands of songs on a laptop connected to a sound system, is played at a reasonable level, so you can still manage to chat while hanging out.
As always, if you drink, do so responsibly. Don't drink and drive.
Cool Bar, Anjung-Ri, South Korea
Prices: Cocktails range from $4 to $8, beer is about $3
Entertainment: Music is played over a sound system
Clientele: Mix of Koreans and Americans
Location: Leave Camp Humphreys’ walk-in gate, go straight for a few hundred yards down the main drag, and Cool Bar is on the left.