What comes to mind when I think of KTown are loud, cafeteria-style Korean BBQ joints, and mysterious little rooms leaking hopeful, yearning voices. A dark and smoky place. My experience was the classic KTown cook-your-own-dinner and karaoke night; marinated meats, Soju shots, and sore eardrums.
Our group of ten started off at Jjukku Jjukku BBQ, where we spent a few hours playing with our food and passing out shots. Our Korean friend told us the house rules: never pour your own shot, accept the shot with both hands, avoid eye contact with whomever poured you your shot. Lastly, when it’s finally time to drink, we all shouted a chant in unison: Gun bae! (Yes, that would be Korean for “cheers”). There were quite a few gun baes, as you can imagine.
After another hour or two of climbing over each other in our booths and gun bae-ing, it was time for the next leg of the night – karaoke. We stumbled out onto the street and walked a couple of blocks to a completely dark, and I mean pitch black, building. Judging by appearance alone, for all I knew it could have been an abandoned warehouse. The bouncer let us in with a hearty laugh as he realized that some of us were even older than he was. We excitedly burst up the stairs to an equally dim counter, then we were led to our room. It felt like something out of a movie – a hallway with a dozen or so tiny, cave-like rooms lit up with disco balls and laser beams. As we crept down the hall we could hear each group’s muffled singing coming from behind each glass door.
Our host introduced himself and brought a tray of mixers, minus the bottle of booze. Whatever he tried to say to us was lost in the din of various karaoke-ing in the surrounding rooms. He shook what appeared to be a carafe of water and winked at us as he shuffled backwards out the door. We took the hint.
One hour, one jug of vodka and several hundred dollars later, we decided it was time to go. We trudged our tired, drunk bodies through the murky hallway once again and popped out onto the street, straight into Ubers to end the night with one last drink at a friend’s house.
Overall I’d say the night was a good one. If you haven’t had Korean BBQ before, it’s definitely something to try – I have never once had a bad experience with Korean BBQ. Unless don’t eat meat, in which case you should stay far away. As for the private karaoke room experience, if you’re really into karaoke, it’s a lot of fun! If you’re like me and don’t care too much, it can be a hit or miss, it’s not the most amazing experience, but it’s never a bad time hanging out with your friends over sketchy vodka.
I give Jjukku Jjukku a 4/5 for being a little strict on pricing – they charged us per head, and not everyone was eating – but their meat was high quality and everything was well prepared. As far as Korean BBQ places go, it’s a winner.
For several reasons I won’t name the karaoke place. (they’re all pretty similar anyways) But I will give them a 3/5 for being shady and expensive as hell…although simultaneously allowing us to be shady. We brought some of our own liquor and put zero effort into hiding it, and not a word was uttered by any of the staff. And trust me, they knew what was going on.
I recommend participating in both of these activities with a group of people for optimal fun and so that you can split the cost of the karaoke. If you go with a good crew, you will have a blast, no doubt about it.
I’ll be doing this again sometime and will update with any decent karaoke spots!