Seoul has strong similarities with the nightlife in Tokyo. What Seoul has in common with their rival city in the east is that globalization has definitely changed Seoul as well over the years.
The mainstream clubs and even the lesser known clubs will almost always have their fair share of foreign presence. The days of walking into a club in Seoul and being among the only foreigners are long gone. Hooking up with korean women has gotten sligthly harder because the exotic bonus points of being a foreigner has greatly dimished over the last 10 years.
The good part is however, clubs and bars are far more used to foreigners now so you can expect a lot less xenophobic behaviour. I remember hearing stories about bars and clubs blatantly rejecting foreigners(something that also occured in Tokyo) but those stories didn’t match my reality and I haven’t heard about any blatant discrimination recently.
Where to stay
Gangnam, Yongsan, Itaewon and Hongdae are the ideal places. Itaewon(Yongsan-gu) I would say have the highest presence of foreigners(Seoul’s version of roppongi). Gangnam is a little more upscale than the other two. Expect on average a little bit higher prices both in restaurants and clubs. Hongdae is more geared toward young people. If I was under 25 I would make Hongdae my base otherwise Itaewon and Gangnam are better choices.
Octagon Club – Gangnam
Very young crowd. Don’t recommend if you’re above 25. But if you happen to be young and reading this then give it a go. Lots of people and actually a good ratio of men to women. Seemed like a good spot to hook up with korean girls but I was too old for this club so I bounced quickly. Also note that they play really loud music here(even by club standards) so if you have sensitive ear drums you might want to look elsewhere.
Club Soap Seoul – Itaewon
A great mix of locals and internationals. Good DJs playing here and man I actually loved this club. Even though it’s a mainstream club it wasn’t a sausage fest(a common problem in Tokyo). There were more men than women but only by a small margin.
DStar – Cheongdam
A club located at the basement floor of a hotel. Both house and hiphop is played here. People rave about this club and acquintances have spoken fond of it but I just didn’t feel it. Thought it was average, not bad or great. But I still recommend you go visit because you might feel different.
Club Vurt – Mapo-gu
Techno lovers will love this club. Excellent sound system. The venue is a bit smallish though and get bit crowded. Has an underground feeling to it. I think entrance was 20K won.
Venue/ – Itaewon
Disco and hip hop music. It’s simple and it works. There is nothing special about this club but nothing bad about it either and that’s what makes it so great. The staff, sound system, music and the venue are all decent. Not the most popular club in Seoul but definitely worth a visit. And… the ratios are pretty damn good here.
Boombar – Yongsan-gu
Maybe the best hiphop club in Seoul. It isn’t cheap though and it’s a known club so there will be a mix of internationals and locals. The club is convientely located in Yongan-gu.
Brown – Mapo-gu
If you want hip hop but a less hectic atmosphere than Boombar then Brown would be my choice. Not really mainstream so the amount of foreigners here is lower than Boombar but still there is a foreign presence so you won’t be alone.