Hongik University Street

Nightlife in Hongdae(Hongik University)

If you are coming to Seoul for the first time some places are a MUST visit! Seoul has a lot of famous spots, such as Gangnam and Itaewon, and today I will introduce you to the best one among the three: Hongdae!

What is ‘Hongdae’

‘Hongdae’ stands for the abbreviation of Hongik University (홍익대학교). The word joins the first syllable of “hongik” (홍) and the first syllable of “university” (대). The neighborhood is famous for its crowded nightlife, shopping areas, and also famous restaurants. In this post, I will give you some tips on how to spend the night of your life in Hongdae.

Another club in Hongdae I can’t remember the name of © Jon Åslund / flickr


Hongdae is probable the place in Seoul with the largest number of claw machines. A lot of people tend to think that these machines are untrue and that you will never get a prize. I also used to think like this until I actually got something on the first try.

As you can see in the picture, it was a Psyduck, for only 1,000won. But of course, I have tried a lot of other claw machines before that one, and never got anything. Some of my friends are really lucky with claw machines, they always get what they want. One of my friends got two keychains in a row in the same claw machine! She was very very lucky. There is no secret for these claw machines, but they are really fun to try!

Hongdae also has arcades with so many claw machines options you will want to spend all of your money on it. But it’s arcades we are talking about, so of course, they have a lot of other fun things to do. One of my favorites is Pump It Up machines. Even if you are not a pro at rhythm games, it’s totally worth it to give a try at these machines. You will have a lot of fun. Each time you play costs only 1,000 won. And that goes for pretty much every machine inside the arcade.


Hongdae is famous for its bars and clubs! Due to corona most clubs are closed but doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Who makes the nightlife in Hongdae worth it are the people! Here I will recommend one of my favorite bars in hongdae: Corner Pub.

Corner Pub is very “international”, it has the same vibe of some Brazilian bars and they play really good music. Other than that, Corner Pub also offers some games for free, like pool table, PS4 games and dares. Their drinks aren’t very expensive and there are also some options for things to eat between 4,000 and 7,000 won. If the bar is not very full, your order will come very fast. But even when the bar is packed, it doesn’t take that long for your drink to be ready.

Corner pub lounge

Night life

Thoughts on Hongdae

As an exchange student, I got to meet a lot of people who have experienced the night life in Hongdae! Here is one of the statements gave by a 22 year old student from Germany:

If I think about Hongdae nightlife I think about meeting friends. After 5 months in Korea, I really feel like Seoul is smaller than I thought it was and especially in Hongdae you can find reoccurring situations as well as the same faces. It is easy to find friends when everyone is more open due to intoxication and so every time you go out to Hongdae you meet new or old friends. The playground is really the place where everyone goes before it gets separated into small groups. You can find so many nationalities and cultures in this place and everyone is very talkative which sometimes is nice but other times it can be annoying.

Due to the convenience stores and fast-food chains which are scattered around Hongdae, it is always easy to grab a snack or another drink without having to walk too fast and what was especially nice in corona times was that in Hongdae you can find a bar or a club at every corner so there is always someplace to go. Even in the times of corona people want to go out and have fun and the security measurements that are taken are good and necessary and definitely don’t bother the people too much.

Kathi, Germany. Currently living in Seoul.

I hope that just like Kathi and other students and other students you get to go to Hongdae and try the one and only experience of Hongdae’s nightlife. From clubs to bars, arcades to fast-food restaurants, if you go to Hongdae you will certainly not be bored. Actually, you will have the night of your life. Go with friends or alone, either way it’s possible to enjoy it a lot.

Dancing, drinking, having fun, playing games – Hongdae is waiting for you to do all of this!

Read More: Exploring Itaewon at Night

🇧🇷 Virginia Lazzari DAvila

23 years old Linguistics and Literature student from Brazil, currently studying in Seoul. I've been studying the Korean language since 2015 and now I'm specializing in the teaching of Korean Language for romance language speakers. Enthusiastic for trips and discovering new places in Seoul!