Saturday I got a text from an “old” friend, Sarah. We met a little over a month ago at K-Cook delight and I immediately hit it off with her group of friends: Ciara, Taem, Elly, & Yi Young. Unfortunately they live on the other side of Seoul and I haven’t had a chance to see them so when she told me tonight was her birthday party I knew I had to be there!
We met at Gangnam station before heading to Rainbow Hookah Bar. Rainbow is an adorable basement lounge with a hippie decor starting when you walk in through a peace sign on the front door. They’ve got everything from dream catchers to tie dye and rainbows around the walls with everyone seated on the floor enjoying middle eastern flavors fused with a modern flair that provides a smokey aroma. We got great seats in a “loft” just behind the band. Wait, there’s a band? Sweet, I knew this night was going to be fun!
The evening started with a rum bucket, an ice mint hookah and cuban mojito hookah. Taking puffs of the flavored tobacco we caught up and I filled them in on the recent fiascoes at my job. Luckily I got the letter of release yesterday so I was basically celebrating my new job tonight (I’m expecting to get the contract early this week!) The other good news is if I get this new job I’ll be working at the same subway stop as them!
Before long the band started setting up. The hippie troupe was composed of assorted drums, didgeridoos, a guitar, bass and a drum set. Their sound was phenomenal and filled the room as everyone swayed to the rhythm.
The band kept jamming as a saxophone came out and solo’d in between one of the drummers taking to a microphone for psuedo-scat that sounded like Korean chanting I’ve heard in Buddhist temples. In between songs they invited everyone to come grab an instrument and join in. I was tempted but thought I’d have some more liquid courage first. Unfortunately their set ended before I worked up the balls to join them so I just played around with the didgeridoo while the DJ spun in the background.
When we finished our hookah it was time to head out. Steve & Steven met us before we hopped the 40 minute train to Hongdae where we wanted to get some good eats before going out dancing. Once there we found a delicious Korean BBQ joint with the BEST kimchi jjigae (soup) I’ve ever had! The meat started grilling as soju, mekju and somek came out in between toasts to Sarah. The traditional thanksgiving “what are you thankful for” combined with Sarah’s birthday turned into a semi-roast as we all said something “nice” about her when suddenly a cake appeared!
After devouring our meals we decided to go clubbing; after all we were in Hongdae and came here to dance. On our way we ran into a birthday boy in his birthday suit! (In Korea they actually wear suits) Since we hadn’t finisher Sarah’s cake she offered it to anyone she met. Okay, change that. She offered it to everyone she met. Sarah force fed a dude on his phone, shoved some pie in the mouths of 3 guys promoting some club and before we knew it the cake was gone so we checked out a few clubs. The first was too loud and the bartenders drank more than they served. Sure they had a free drink deal at the door but they weren’t honoring it and there was no room to move, let alone dance.
Our next stop was another club but we were met with a similar atmosphere so decided to head to Thursday Party. Once there we had English friendly service and were able to jump around to heart’s desire. A few played pool, Foosball or darts while I worked on my salsa with whoever wanted to join me. Before we knew it the clock struck 3am and we all turned into pumpkins! Okay, maybe not, but we were exhausted and decided to part ways and catch cabs home.