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The Trendsetters: Hans Lee & Bomin Kim - Korean Takeover

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

For the second time this year, the Union Group hosted a multi-day bar takeover event. Between August 29 and September 1, 2018, 7 Korean bartenders from the top bars in Seoul conducted guests shifts at four different Jakarta bars. Over a four day period, the bartenders brought their signature cocktails from Seoul to share with the Jakarta masses. It was a unique opportunity for local patrons to sample the delicious tipples of Korea. An exhibition of techniques and talent, the bartenders, also brought with them their culture and flavors unique to Korea. The inclusion of ingredients such as Korean ginseng, omija, and jujube transported the tastebuds of the customers to a whole new world.

The drinking culture in Korea, much like in Indonesia is in the process of evolution. Traditionally a Scotch whisky and soju only drink experience is gradually changing into the modern cocktail culture. More of the younger generation of Korean bar patrons are slowly opening up to trying new and experimental drinks. This revolution in drinking started as early as the turn of the millennia. First generation bartenders such as Laki Yoo and Louis Eom set an early standard of bartending. Today, newer generations of bartenders like Hans Lee, Demie Kim, and Bomin Kim are carrying their legacies through exciting new recipes and concepts.

Han Byol "Hans" Lee - Old Fashioned

The proud owner of his bar, Old Fashioned, Han Byol "Hans" Lee is a force to be reckoned. His laid-back personality was something to be admired as he specializes in elevating classic cocktails. Listed in the top 10 of Korea's Best Bars in 2017, Hans has come a long way since graduating as a computer science major.

Hans started his bartending journey conducting pop-up bars around Seoul. However, a fateful trip to Japan inspired him to create a proper cocktail bar in 2011. Not ironically named after himself, Hans Bar operated for nearly five years before it caught on fire and burned down in 2016. Not too long later he opened his current bar, Old Fashioned, named after his old-fashioned style of cocktails. A no-nonsense and no menu bar that serves pre-prohibition classic cocktails and modern cocktails. Considered one of the most exciting bars in Seoul, Hans' bar located in the youthful district of Mapo-gu.

Currently planning for the future, Hans is planning to open a pub in the Seoul area. Stating that people are getting too serious and uptight about cocktails, he would like to bring back some fun in his new bar.

"I never thought I'd be a bartender, but life is like that."

"Each cocktail has its own story; the cocktail is about the experience."

Tequila Daisy

In an attempt to elevate the tequila cocktail, the Tequila Daisy uses a balance of green Chartreuse and habanero bitters for a smooth kick at its finish.

- Tequila Blanco

- Green Chartreuse

- Fresh Lime Juice

- Agave Nectar

- Bittermens Habanero


186 Seongmisan-ro, Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Telephone: No Telephone

Website: No Website


Instagram: @oldfashioned_seoul

Bomin Kim - Southside Parlor

Probably one of the greenest bartenders in the group, Bomin Kim initially had aspirations to become a special effect make up artist in Korea. However, as fate decided it, she currently works as the head bartender at the American-themed Southside Parlour in Seoul's bustling Itaewon district. Named in the Top 8 of the Speedrack Asia competition and Cocktail's Red Coat Apprentice in 2018, Bomin is a rising star in the Korean bartending scene.

While waiting for an opportunity to study abroad, Bomin Kim started working part-time as a server at the Southside Parlour. However, her part-time gig turned into a five-year stay. Eventually, she found her way from serving tables to working behind the bar. As the head bartender, Bomin serves American Southern hospitality in the heart of Seoul. Their cocktail menu tantalizes their customers with their local ingredient inspired cocktails. A willingness to infuse Korean flavors into their drinks makes Southside Parlour an exciting new drinks destination.

When asked about future bar projects, Bomin says that she is now working on their new bar, the Pocket. A sustainable bar concept, focusing on zero-waste cocktails that utilize the most out of their ingredients. A move into post-modern mixology, Bomin, and her crew are moving ahead of the pack into exciting new directions.

"The cocktail scene in Korea is still new. However in my opinion, when a Korean customer sees local ingredients in the cocktail menu, they are more excited to try the cocktail."

Chiquita Pepita

Fun to say and fun to drink, the Tex-Mex inspired Chiquita Pepita, is an improved version classic margarita cocktail.

- Cucumber Infused Purasangre Blanco

- Cointreau

- Verdita Mix

- Lime Juice

- Agave Syrup


Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong, 527 번지 4 층 (5,300.54 km)

04345 Seoul, Korea

Telephone: +82 2-749-9522

Website: No Website

Facebook: @SouthsideParlor

Instagram: @southsideparlor

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