Why Dancing in a Korean Club is Like Your Childhood

Inside the rituals of Korean bar scene.


I am not exaggerating when I say this is what it felt like to be dancing at a very Korean club last night. Nothing about this culture surprises me any more, but even this place was a total oddity.

The venue was huge with a two-story ceiling and rows of tables all about. There was this massive industrial punk stage that kept rotating and moving and steaming like we were watching the goddamn Phantom of the Opera or something.

In front of all the bells and whistles, teams of wanna-be Korean boy bands would come out onto the stage and sing a little and/or do comedy routines ala the three stooges.

I kept asking myself, who produced this thing? It had the stink of Radio Disney.

Meanwhile, the Koreans dancing in the crowd were never really dancing. They just sort of stood there and swayed to the music and giggled silently with their hands over their mouths. The music would go on for a few songs and just as the night started to get a little momentum, they would turn it off and replace it with a slow song.

Anyone who was lucky enough to have coupled up by then proceeded to slow dance like they were in Junior High, while the rest of us returned to our designated tables and munched on the fruit plate we were obliged to buy.

While all this was happening, Korean waiters wearing these little illuminated name tags would literally drag women from one table and deliver them to men at other tables. This whole thing looked a little, well, prostitutey, but as my Korean friend explained–yes, I have Korean friends–apparently this was one of the few socially acceptable ways a man can hit on a women in a venue like this.

It was totally bizarre. But. We stayed until 6am, so this is not to say we didn’t have a blast.