Busan’s British-Irish themed pubs are awesome!

by John Dunphy
Busan Haps (busanhaps.com)

If you haven’t noticed, a wealth of British-Irish-style pubs are popping up around Busan. In just the past year, several have opened in Seomyeon, Nampo and the KSU area, with others planned elsewhere in the city, including one near PNU.

Granted, if you’re looking for “traditional,” not all of them fall exactly in line. While most give nods to authenticity—both in atmosphere and cuisine, most often in the form of fish and chips—some purists might cringe at seeing quesadillas, nachos and margaritas being served at the adjacent table.

Here are some spots around town that are well worth checking out.

Wolfhound Haeundae

A stalwart in Busan and Seoul, Wayne Gold and his partners have been serving hungry and thirsty patrons since before the current British-Irish-style pub trend took hold. Minutes from the beach and Haeundae subway station, the dining room is often packed on the weekends. Along with their signature dish of fish and chips, there’s a wide variety of both beers and food. And how can you resist a dish called “Toad in the Hole”? 051-746-7913

Savoy Seomyeon, Nampo

Opened in 2012 in an expanded space previously known as Fresh Fries Factory, Savoy’s two-story dining room in Seomyeon is often already filled to capacity by 8 p.m. The restaurant plays a variety of standards, including Frank Sinatra and the Beatles, while patrons dine on fish and chips and drink drafts of Guinness, Pilsner Urquell, Indica, Max and the “Savoy Draft”, Max blended with espresso. Exit 2 from Seomyeon subway, make the first left, then the next left.

The Sherlock Holmes Seomyeon

Owner Lee Sang Ho said he fell in love with the British-style pub theme while frequenting several similar places in Itaewon in Seoul. His pub’s decor gives nods not only to “Jolly Old England” but also to the popular Robert Downey Jr. rendition of his business’s namesake. Sit at a table or sidle up to the bar for familiar fare, like a generous plate of fish and chips, or Korean fusion dishes, such as fries topped with kimchi and bulgogi. The Sherlock Holmes is adjacent to Savoy. 010-9514-8089

Hangover Pub Seomyeon

Also located in Seomyeon, Hangover Pub opened in 2013. Located on the second floor, this pub’s dark, subdued interior lets out to a small, open-air space in the back, often filled to the brim with patrons. A server said the typical mix of customers at Hangover is about 70 percent Korean, 30 percent expat. Koreans favor the Maisel’s Weisse of late, while foreigners opt for Indica when they’re feeling flush and O.B. when the wallet is lean. This pub’s signature drink, the Hangover Draft, is O.B. with a soju shot dropped into the glass (otherwise known as Somaek). Accessible via Seomyeon subway exit 6. U-turn, make first right.

Celtic Tiger Nampo

This British-style pub, located in one of the busiest areas of the Nampo-dong shopping district, Gwangbok-ro, offers big plates of fish and chips (their most popular dish), various adult beverages, like a mixture of Bernini and Corona, as well as large windows that open up to the chaos happening below. A mix of patrons, both native and foreign, can often be seen here taking a break from their window shopping.051-816-3678

New Malden Pub Kyungsung

KSU is a neighborhood that the expat community frequents to drink, dance and generally party as hard as possible, as late as possible (or early, depending on your interpretation). For something a little different, New Malden Pub offers beers, wine and liquors of various tastes, as well as standard British-style fare, including fish and chips, and other familiar bar foods, like sausages and wings. It’s located on a narrow pedestrian road that has exploded with commerce in recent years, bordering the Pukyong National University campus. 051-625-9599

Busan Haps website

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