Category: Where? Gottbawi
UPDATE: March 2013 – Cocky is closed, and has been replaced by Red Ball.
Welcome Cocky as the newest addition to the Dong-Gu area bars, lounges and nightclubs. In an area that lately has become rife with foreigners, a number of friendly places to have a drink, play a game and just relax have made the selection of where to spend the evening just a tad more difficult. Cocky has some special features, however, that should making choosing somewhat easier.
Cocky is brand new and just opened the last week of March. In fact, the night I visited it was only their second night and I was the only customer they had. Given a rainy Friday night, it wasn’t terribly surprising, though. But with numerous other bars in the area, passers-by often stopped to look and, swayed by the decor and friendly staff, came in for a drink. When I left at midnight it had all the hallmarks of being a favorite stop.
One of the special features this bars sports are the owner, a pair of sisters, both of whom were former English teachers and school directors. Consequently, there’s no language barrier to service. Both ladies are fluent and very friendly and outgoing. Sally, the older of the two, said she understands that there are a lot of foreigner men in the Dong-Gu area, so she selected artwork that would make them feel a little less lonely. She joked that she was the model and they simply photoshopped her body onto the model’s face. The younger sister, Anece, is also involved in the community and works as a translator for the Nambu Police agency. Both ladies are very accommodating and a pleasure to hang out with.
I spent some time talking with the owners about their future plans. They plan on serving simple foods such as fried chicken, crisps and other finger foods but may expand as business dictates. While only a single pool table fills one end, they are getting both a dart system and a foosball table. They are both most excited, however by the back patio. Sally couldn’t wait to show me. In fact, for every new customer that came in, the patio was the first stop on the tour of the place as she would take them by the arm and show off the piece de resistance. Although it was rainy and very cool, I became excited, too. The prospect of an outdoor patio facing the ocean would make Cocky an outstanding place to chillax. Moreover, beyond the patio is an extended area in front of the short sea wall that could serve as bigger dance area, BBQ grill zone, live band stage or Wine Party locale. Their excitement regarding the outdoor area was infectious and I became excited, too. There are few enough outdoor dining or drinking areas in Ulsan – so few I could probably count them on one hand – but none have ocean front views. Not even unpacked yet, the tables and chairs await weather more suitable to outdoor relaxing. I could envision this as a fine place the Ulsan Wine Club to host a party, but just stopping by for a drink and the friendly conversation of Sally and Anece is reason enough to go.
Cocky is located on the far southern tip of the Dong-gu peninsula. For those familiar with the area, it’s between two of my favorite restaurants, Shalimar and Toolbox, and just down the hill from Ballantines and Big Bites. Walk the street closest to the surf and you can’t miss it. A number of other easy to find landmarks are nearby, including Sea Sketch and Rudder, which is just upstairs on the 2nd floor from Cocky. Check out the Dining and Drinking Map to better find this gem.
My guess is you haven’t been there. I’m suggesting you should go.
If you’ve been to DongGu at all, you’ve probably gone to Ilsan Beach, and maybe you’ve checked out some of the bars within eye-shot of the Home Plus. You’ll find some good ones in the area, but one that’s off the beaten track is Harmony, home to some of the best western food in the city, a fantastic bar, and a beautiful, neglected pool table that needs some company.
The bitch of it all, of course, is that Harmony is a bit of a hassle to get to. Sure, 25 minutes on the 1401 plus 100 meter walk will get you there, but where do you get off the bus? And which direction do you turn? Where is Dong Gu anyway? Isn’t it somewhere near Busan?
To make things easier, I’ve acquired directions from Google Maps and have included them here. You can also check out the map below. From Samsondong, take the 1401 east into DongGu, get off after the bus makes a left turn toward the Dong Gu office (there are big signs)and then walk south for about 100 m. Harmony is on the east side of the main road leading south, which would be the traveler’s left.
Once you get here, do 3 things:
1) Call me
2) Buy me a drink
3) Start playing on one of the least used and most beautiful pool tables in the city. It’s full size and free.
If you’re hungry, check out their expansive menu of western foods, which covers kebobs, fettucini carbonara, decent pizza, burgers, steak and even to burritos. Last time I went they had added snitzel to the menu, which I can confirm was reasonably tasty. I can’t vouch for the Mexican food, but the pasta, stir fry, kebobs, and Indian food has all been certifiably delicious for about 12,000 won apiece. If you come for dinner, you get a 4 course meal, including salad, bread, and soup. Lunch specials are 2000 won cheaper, and you get a coke or coffee with your meal.
If you’re not hungry, seng mek joo (Cass) is 4000 won, there is a large collection of various other bottled brews, and the bartender is willing to make any mixed drink you like so long as you can tell her how to make it. Those will run about 7000 won apiece, but lets face it, White Russians are worth it.
Lastly, despite Harmony’s size, it manages to maintain an intimate and quiet atmosphere. This is no Wa Bar. Every time I have been there, I have shared the gigantic space with about 4 other patrons. I never had to wait for the pool table, never had to wait for service, and most of the food comes out in 15 minutes or less. For sports fans, if there’s a Champion’s League match to watch, they’ll have it on, and if you have good taste in music, you’ll like Harmony’s playlist.
It’s a solid, under appreciated bar with top notch Western food, cheap beer, and a great atmosphere. Again, the bitch is getting there, but Dong Gu is worth the trek every once in a while, and if you live out by Gottbawi or Ilsan Beach, Harmony is worth 10 minutes on the 106. They’re open for dinner from 6pm till around midnight (the owner assured me if people want to drink, they can stay) during the week, and during weekends they add lunch hours from 12 until 2.
A map is coming soon. good hunting.
Chez Nous is somewhere between a pub and a room salon. This bar mixes the British style of stools and tables with the Korean style sofas in a modern attempt at East meets West. With a giant projector in one corner, and a pool table in the back, Chez Nous attempts to cover EVERY need to the local engineering population.
With a fully stocked bar, English speaking staff and an acceptable pool table, Chez Nous seems like a decent place to hang out. The cocktails start at 7000 won, and the beer, if I remember correctly, starts at 3000 won for a bottle of hite.
Chez Nous is a local hangout for Engineers on their way home after building ships, inspecting ships, talking about ships et cetera. Later in the evening the clientelle becomes a little more, um, diverse.
The bar is located in Gottbawi past Hyundai Beach(ie) apartments on the lower/oceanside road about 800 m from the New Compound. Map coming soon.
WaBar has become the FamilyMart of bars, popping up in every neighbourhood around the city. The chain started in Busan, but has really come into it’s own in Ulsan. I can’t think of a decent neighbourhood that doesn’t have one. There are two in Samsandong and Mugeodong. But what’s the mystery to their success?
Overpriced beer? Ultra Expensive side dishes? A disappointing cocktail menu? Too many staff?
In this case, it’s all in a name.
Wa-Ba is slang for ‘Come’ere’ in Korean. It’s witty, drole. It makes you chuckle.
WaBar was the first bar to really introduce the American style pub to Ulsan. The indoor-outdoor patios and folding windows for summer time, paired with self-brewed draft beers and a massive selection of foreign brands (even a North Korean beer) is what spurred WaBar to take over the city. After that, Brand name recognition did it’s job.
Why is ELC the most successful hagwon chain? Because it’s the best? or because it’s the biggest?
Since WaBar first opened, numerous copies have come along, including Trevi brauhaus in Samsandong. Lots of these new bars offer better, cheaper beer, better food and cosier atmosphere, but WaBar still stands as a well put-together package.
Personally, I find their 4000 won house draft awful, and would much rather drink Hite or Cass on tap. Their 7000 won pint of dark beer is FAR too overpriced, when Guinness or Hoegaarden can be found for less than 10 000. And the fact that they charge 18 000 won for the large can of Guinness is a crime.
But…Nothing beats having a beer on a patio on a hot summer night.
My recommendation is to only go to WaBar on the company card, as it’s far to overpriced. If you are looking for a night of drinking foreign beers outside, find a decent QuickieMart with a patio table and enjoy.