Eulji OB Bear 을지 오비 베어 (Euljiro, Seoul)

What’s better than drinking a cold glass of beer in Korea’s hot n humid summer? Not much, unless it’s at Korea’s OLDEST hof (bar), this according to the friendly husband n wife team at Eulji OB Bear. That superlative is a pretty bold statement considering the thousands of hofs (German-style pub) scattered across Korea, so being anal as I am sometimes, I needed proof. The friendly imo “auntie,” maybe expecting that I would ask such a question, confidently handed me a Korean newspaper featuring an interview with her 90-year-old father about the pub, whom she took over operations recently due to health issues. I didn’t read the article right then and there to confirm her claim (that would have been rude), but I did express awe because it’s not an everyday occurrence you randomly stumble upon Korea’s OLDEST hof!

Open for over 35 years, they are one of the first purveyors of OB beer served alongside nogari (dried fish) in what’s known as nogari alley. They have a modest selection of snacks, but we were presented with the recommended hwangtae (dried adult pollack) and nogari (dried baby pollack), both staples here that are hand-grilled over yeontan (charcoal briquettes). The hwangtae, which was slightly hard n fibrous, was decent but we favored the chewy nogari with their spicy housemade gochujang n mayo. Other menu items include sausage, peanuts, cup ramen, and for the adventurous eaters, canned bundaegi (silkworms) – all super cheap for the longtime patrons who have helped keep the place in business for so many years. And last but not least, the draft beer. Surprisingly, the glass of OB beer (3,000 won) was crisp, hoppy, and not too watered down, attributes not usually associated with domestic beer. The owners explained that their beer comes daily and directly from the brewery and not through distribution channels to maintain quality n freshness. Because of this, there will be days when they sell out before their 11pm closing time.

This part of Seoul represents the Korea of old with many businesses still hanging around despite constant redevelopment. It’s most likely this area will see drastic changes in the near future, so make sure to visit this unique place before it’s gone. Bonus: the owners speak decent English from their time living abroad. They would be more than happy to have you stop by for a chat over a cold beer. 🙂

Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars


Eulji OB Bear 

95 Euljiro 3-ga, Junggu, Seoul

Phone: 02-2264-1597

Hours: Open every day 11am~11pm

Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/FAtpX50t

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