Alley Kat Pale Ale is pretty much the only decently hoppy beer available on tap in most of Korea, and while I’m not really a hophead, I like a few glasses of it now and again. Well, earlier this evening Miss Jiwaku and I happened by a place in Yeokgok that had a big poster showing off the availability of this very fine brew, and we decided to mosey on in and try it.
What we found was beyond our wildest imaginings. Miss Jiwaku described it as a “playground for ajeoshis” and that was a pretty fitting description of the place: there were several screen golf stations, in one of which two middle-aged men were whacking away. Ahem.
In a semi-private room branching off the main room of the bar was a group including a few middle aged men and younger women who, as Miss Jiwaku put it, were “obviously prostitutes.” It wasn’t only their clothes that tipped us off, but also the attentiveness of the women as they talked to older, badly dressed men; another hint was how they quickly shut the door as soon as Miss Jiwaku and I entered the place and got a glimpse of them.
The decor was, well, something like what you might expect at a bar on the Starship Enterprise, with lots of chain-link screens around, presumably to stop balls that get hit in the wrong direction. We tried to drink our 500cc glasses of Alley Kat in peace, but the music–a bizarre mix of 60s American folk and recent hip-hop–was blasting and we were more than a little distracted by the middle-aged guys at the next table over who were discussing female professional golfers with the middle-aged waitress (whom Miss Jiwaku started calling the “madam”) and a college-aged, er, working girl.
I probably didn’t take enough pictures for this post, but I doubt I’ll be back, and the people who were at the next table were clearly discomfited by, er, whatever they thought of us as. Certainly not the sort of clientele one expects at a place like that. Pity: it’s be nice to have a place nearby where we could enjoy an Alley Kat, but since I’m not crazy about Rhythm & Booze, over near city hall, that means when we want Alley Kat we’re likely to need to go all the way to Itaewon.
Well, there you have it: the one place in Yeokgok that serves Alley Kat Pale Ale.
And just in case someone feels like I’m being a bit bigoted, I should clarify that–of course!–not all middle-aged Korean men go whoring at 8pm on a Tuesday night. Hell, I have at least two or three friends among such guys, and spent my afternoon today chatting with one of them–the commenter known to other readers of this blog as Junsok. Great guy, and way more well-read in SF than I could hope to be. I was glad to meet up with him before he leaves Korea for his sabbatical.