Where to Watch the Olympics
By Robert Michael Evans
With the Winter Olympics rapidly approaching, there is an undeniable collective buzz starting to whip up around Seoul. If you haven’t been able to acquire tickets to the Winter Games already, there are plenty of other ways for you to enjoy the Olympic festivities. You might just want to stay in Seoul and gather up at a local watering hole with some friends from the comfort of a warm chair and flowing libations. Surely most venues with a television will be playing the Olympics while they occur but here is a little list of places around the Itaewon area where you can partake in the Olympics fever without feeling a chill.
Time: MON-THU 6pm-12am, FRI & SAT 3pm-12am, SAT 12pm-12am
Add: 5-84 Yongsan-gu, Yongsan-dong 2(i)-ga,
Just past the kimchi pots of Haebanchon, you can find The Workshop. The Workshop was previously an empty garage but has since been renovated and is now a local favorite with HBC residents. They specialize in South African pies, fries and beer. The TV screens are typically tuned in to rugby but will be playing the 2018 Winter Olympic Games through their duration. If you find yourself looking for beyond-the-screen live activities, you can pop downstairs to the Hidden Cellar that is owned by the same people. There’s a pool table, dartboards and a stage for live music all under highly vaulted ceilings and fueled by liberally flowing wine. The Workshop and Hidden Cellar hold many community events from regular Open Mic Nights to fundraiser events for local community interests. If you’re pulling for South Africa during the winter Olympics, this is your place to be!
The Upper Deck
Time: MON-FRI 3pm-2am, SAT & SUN 11am-2am
Add: 305-5 Itaewon 2-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
The Upper Deck is a premium American sports bar located on the main street in Kyungridan. The venue packs three floors of seating with enough TV’s to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the action regardless of where your head is facing. Sports memorabilia line every spare inch of wall space helping you get in the mood of rooting for your favorite competitors. The Upper Deck has 18 draft beers available on tap and a full menu filled with bar favorites from brunch to burgers and more. The Upper Deck has a pool table, foosball table, and dartboards available to pass the time during the commercials. If you need to see more of the sun, then be sure to go up to the third floor sky lounge where you can enjoy a little more vitamin D while watching the games.
Time: MON-FRI 4pm-12am, SAT & SUN 10:30am-4am
Add: 116-15 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Located on the main Itaewon strip, just behind the Hamilton Hotel, is one of the landmarks of Itaewon: Sam Ryan’s. Sam Ryan’s is a classic Itaewon bar establishment. They’ve been around for quite some time, which is a testament to how cozy and familiar the atmosphere feels for expats. Sam Ryan’s features an impressive long bar top area that is prime seating for anyone looking to watch sports television from various screens, call for a drink with the ease of a nod and simultaneously chow down on some surprisingly tasty pub food. Pub food, as we all know, is meant to just fill the belly with more than just booze but this Sam Ryan’s menu features dishes influenced by the co-owner who is a former five star restaurant chef.
Time: MON-FRI 5pm-1am, SAT 4pm-2am, SUN 2pm-2am
Add: 131-3 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu Seoul
Here’s another Itaewon classic for you right in the heart of the city. Route 66 takes it’s name and inspiration from a slice of pure Americana. You can pop right out of Itaewon Station, a stone’s throw from Exit 4, and be sitting in this American style bar watching your favorite countries compete for golden medals as you sip a golden lager. With a friendly and attentive staff, Route 66 serves up affordable drinks and food. They host events and specials almost every night of the week, which will surely provide for a lively time to go along with the Olympic Games. Route 66 feels like a home away from home. The number of regular patrons that keep on coming back is a testament to it’s classic American bar style.
Time: MON-THU 11am-11:30pm, FRI 11am-12am, SAT 11am-12:30am, SUN 10am-11pm
Add: 183-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
While all the previous locations are sports bars meant more for adult outings, this next location may be just what families are looking for to get involved in the Olympic festivities. Down the Itaewon strip, nearly at Noksapyeong Station, is one of the younger establishments on the scene: Canucks. With an aesthetic that could be Little Canada itself, Canucks’ walls are adorned with maple leaves galore, pristine hockey jerseys and a simply ginormous television screen that is sure to make you feel like you’re right there, front and center, at the games. They have a skilled kitchen staff that brings to life a full menu of delicious food choices to go along with the games. Don’t forget to get some poutine while you cheer for your favorite team. If you’re rooting for Canada, Canucks is the clear choice for your Olympic viewing.