[Le Chamber, Alice, and Gatsby]
Le Chamber , ☆☆☆☆☆
Where | 42 Dosan-daero 55-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
How | Make a reservation, 02-6337-2014. Without a reservation, expect to be waiting awhile or to not get a table at all.
Dress Code| I don't think you could go wrong with a suit anywhere in Korea. My friend Tom wore his Korean hand-made custom suit jacket with a Michael Kors button up shirt, dark jeans and leather shoes. While my friend Cal wore khaki shorts, his I (insert image of Ohio) Ohio t-shirt, with a flannel button up shirt over top of it and sneakers. I wore my little black dress with a Spanish jean jacket and Parisian three-inch heels. I would recommend wearing one of your best outfits, but you will still be let in if you don't. You could always pretend to be that one billionaire that accidentally got rich, yet they don't care about the money nor what they look like. Like Kirk from Gilmore Girls. Just be confident, that goes for any occasion.
What | It's a ₩10,000 (about $10) cover charge, which comes with your choice of regular or sparkling water, and some wasabi pretzels. Yeah, the wasabi pretzels were a bit of a surprise to me. This place is a sophisticated whiskey bar with its selection of signature cocktails along with any other drink you desire. This speakeasy is by far my favorite bar in Gangnam. To enter, you must find the Le Chamber book on the book shelf, and press it. The book case will slide right open, introducing the low key lit room and beautifully lit bar. The ambiance is great from almost every seat, the lighting is dim with well placed lights and chandeliers hanging from the tall ceiling. There's a grand piano. The bar is beautifully lit from underneath and behind every whiskey bottle on its shelf. The bartenders think of every small detail, to include spherical ice that comes with the cocktails. No one wants a bunch of tiny ice mixed with their favorite concoction, melting away into a watery substance. And to order a cocktail, open the novel that they place on your table, no one would ever suspect a menu in it! Gasp! The bartenders have thought of everything, so you will be in good hands. This place is unusually expensive for a drink with friends, so be prepared to pay for the experience. It's worth every penny. I recommend going with a group of at least three people if you can so you can get a booth. The silver beads hanging from the ceiling is the perfect separator for the booths, enough were you get the feeling of privacy, yet it doesn't close off your view from the rest of the bar.
For drinks, I highly recommend the Chamber Story for a cocktail, or if you are a whiskey drinker, the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban.
Where | 84-20 청담동 Gangnam-gu, Seoul
How | 02-511-8420, make a reservation
Just a block down the street, you will find Alice, the *cough* flower shop.
With a beautiful entrance way, lined with vines, I definitely felt like I was walking down into Wonderland itself.
Having not made a reservation, we were greeted with complementary champagne as an apology for the wait. With champagne and good company, it did not feel like waiting at all. I will give this bar a three star because once a table was freed up, I was disappointed to find that they were taking us away from their main room, into a side room with a coffee table, two large leather chairs, and an ottoman. The two large chairs made it really awkward to be in a group, and we were separated from the room with all the ambiance. This side room would be perfect for a private party, but we just wanted some unique ambiance. I ordered another sweet cocktail, and Chasen and Tom ordered absinthe.
Every group has a different experience on different nights at certain places. Ours wasn't spectacular but I don't hold our experience or drinks against this wonderful bar. I'm not sure there will be a next time for us, but I do highly recommend this bar for those visiting Gangnam.
Gatsby by Lee, ☆☆☆
Where | 서울시 강남구 청담동 84-14 Seoul, Korea 06014
Instagram | @gatsby_bar for more information
How | 02-511-2606
All three places have a ₩10,000 cover charge on top of the drink price.
On our way home, we decided to stop by Gatsby for one more drink, since it was on the same street as both Le Chamber and Alice. And thank goodness we did, boy did we laugh so hard.
We walked into Gatsby and to our surprise the short luxurious chairs lined up along the short bar were mostly all empty, along with all the other tables next to the long fire place. This gave me the perfect opportunity to stage my whiskey sour anywhere in the bar to take pictures. The room was quiet, small, and homey. We basically had the entire place to ourselves. There were two Korean women sitting at the bar with their cheese platter. They had seemed to have finished the cheese plate, yet there was still cheese and food on it. I couldn't keep my eyes off of it all night, hoping they would let me eat some of it. While I steadied my arms to take a still shot of my drink at the bar, the girl next to me repeatedly grabbed my arm and in her Korean accent would say "thank you". In hopes of getting some cheese, I would laugh and would go along with her fake conversations. Every 30 seconds she would look at me, and just slur the words "hello" and "thank you". Her friend didn't speak any English what so ever, but kept telling her friend to stop touching me. At one point, she grabs my arm again, and says "Woahwww! Your skin is so BEAUTIFUL!" Imagine Amy Schumer in I Feel Pretty, after she hit her head, looking in the mirror, touching her face and screaming "I'm BEAUTIFUL!" That's kind of how this Korean girl sounded, with slurred words. Still not having offered me any of the cheese she wasn't eating, I responded, "thanks! My mom gave it to me". Like, how do you respond to someone complementing your skin? She literally complemented me on an external organ that I was born with. Yes, skin is an organ. She responds, very confidently, "Monkey baby". Pause. Now, I know I didn't hear that correctly...monkey baby? What on earth could she have said that sounded like 'monkey baby'. At this point, Chasen and I are holding back tears of laughter. My skin is beautiful, monkey baby. Trying to turn this conversation around, I started asking THEM questions. They were very chatty up until I asked them what they did for a living. It was a bit odd how quiet they got when I asked. The drunk one kept repeating "she's very famous", but I decided not to pry because I could see her friend getting uncomfortable. We took ONE photo together before this conversation. It was a terrible photo, especially of me. Do I share it? I'm curious to know who she was, so if you can make out her blurry face, and let me know who she might be, maybe posting this horrible photo will be worth it.
I hope you all enjoyed this post of these three speakeasies in Gangnam, monkey baby.