While this was a nice street, it was not particularly massive, or even terribly busy, on this Saturday night in January after a hockey game.
We passed by one samgyupsal restaurant, and went in the second one, careful to ask if smoking is okay. The ajumma assured us it was. As soon as we sat down and placed an order for two servings of meat and two bottles of beer, the young waiter tells me smoking is not allowed. He checks with the ajumma, then comes back and says only "a little smoking" is allowed. I assure him I will only smoke one at a time.
The food is good:
... but after repeated hassling despite assurances that a little smoking is okay, and only one bottle of beer provided, we cut our losses and backtrack to the other samgyupsal jib.
Here the pork was just as good, and also less expensive. Plus it was sprinkled with chopped green herbs:
Sated, we ventured back onto the street to find a bar, and Nick spied a place labeled "World Beer". But once inside, the name was something else:
맥주광, maekju gwang, which could translate as either Beer Storehouse, or Beer Fanatic. Either one would do. I have seen this business model before, introduced by Kevin, and love it as much as The Stumbler, who dedicated a post to it. A few dozen varieties of foreign and domestic beers are stored in a bank of upright coolers along the wall, which are self-service. That is, you walk up to the coolers, browse a bit, then snag a cold bottle of something tasty--the beers are arranged by price, which is clearly marked on the door. The prices are quite reasonable. When you check out, someone tallies all your bottles and you pay up.
Both Beer Caps and Beer Fan offer only simple anju (beer snacks) like dried squid, peanuts, etc., but you can bring your own food in or order it delivered. Wow! Both are also franchises, and both seem to be doing a pretty good trade. The Beer Caps (맥주뚜껑) we know is in Sinjeongnegeori, but there are several locations, including Omokgyo and out near Gyesan
In sum, these places are quite like WaBar or JS Texas Bar, but more informal and much less pricey. On the other hand, the electronic dart games, loud customers and pulsating music make them harder on my old ears.