[Well-curated weekend] Cocktails and music, challenging hike, art viewing – take your pick this weekend

[Well-curated weekend] Cocktails and music, challenging hike, art viewing – take your pick this weekend

Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)

If you are looking for a fantastic range of delicious drinks and delicious food, as well as a mesmerizing evening of live jazz and blues in central Seoul, this live music party venue will be the perfect place to visit this weekend.

The Iron Fairies Seoul, the Korean branch of the Hong Kong-based global bar franchise, located in Itaewon, central Seoul, offers a magical and enchanting experience for visitors by creating a sultry, subdued ambiance as you escape from reality.

Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)

Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)

The Iron Fairies Seoul, which opened last September, is inspired by the children’s fairy tale book of the same title written by Australian Ashley Sutton, who also designed the concept for the bar.

Its unique decorations include the ceiling adorned with vials of fairy dust and tens of thousands of butterflies and tables laden with hundreds of welded iron fairies. The interior exudes a mysterious and exotic atmosphere.

It also offers various craft cocktails, including the Seoul branch’s nine signature drinks that range in price from 22,000 won ($17.84) to 25,000 won a glass. Grilled skewers, fries, starters and desserts are also available to accompany your drinks.

Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)

Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)

Soulful live performances – one act on weekdays (Sunday-Thursday) and two acts on weekends (Friday and Saturday) – also mesmerize visitors every night. The performance of each group lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The bar plans to feature more bands in various genres such as pop, hip-hop and reggae from next month.

It currently has reduced opening hours due to the government’s COVID-19 preventive measures. Iron Fairies Seoul is open from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. daily at the moment, but will change from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. after the virus control is relaxed.

Mountain ridges and the Hyeondeungsa temple are visible at the top of Unaksan.  (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Mountain ridges and the Hyeondeungsa temple are visible at the top of Unaksan. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Challenge yourself on the Unaksan hiking trail

If you find Seoul’s mountains relatively easy to climb and want to challenge yourself, head to Unaksan, which stands 937.5 meters above sea level in Gapyeong, Seoul Province. Gyeonggi.

The name “Unaksan” means “mountain piercing the clouds”, alluding to the peaks of the mountains.

A 70-80 minute drive from Seoul, parking is available for visitors to Unaksan and the famous Hyeondeungsa.

After a steep 15-minute climb from the parking lot, Buddhist architecture signals the entrance to the mountain.

Cliffs and rocky peaks are visible on Blue Dragon Ridge, Unaksan's shortest course.  (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Cliffs and rocky peaks are visible on Blue Dragon Ridge, Unaksan’s shortest course. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Although three different routes are available for hikers, the second longest route is currently closed for maintenance.

Hikers can easily get to the top of the mountain by following the signs that appear every 20-30 minutes.

Climbing poles and mountaineering gloves are recommended to safely navigate the steep stairs, stone steps, and leaf-covered path.

Many hikers choose to climb the Blue Dragon Ridge, the shortest route, covering almost 3.06 kilometers. A round trip hike is said to take almost 5 hours.

Eyebrow Rock is a popular Instagram resting place and photo area for Unaksan trekkers.  (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Eyebrow Rock is a popular Instagram resting place and photo area for Unaksan trekkers. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Although Unaksan is considered a difficult mountain to climb, it offers incredible views, with waterfalls and uniquely shaped rocks like Eyebrow Rock.

The most difficult part of the route involves the last 800 meters of ascent to its highest peak, requiring visitors to hold on to thick ropes and climb steel steps.

Hikers will soon forget their exhausted bodies and be mesmerized by the splendid mountain ridges, breathtaking views of the rocks and cliffs at the top of Unaksan.

“Time Travellers” at Artfield Gallery in Mullae Creative Village features the works of three regional artists. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

Art revives an abandoned district of steelworks
Once an abandoned district of machinery makers and steel foundries, Mullae-dong, located in Yeongdeungpo-gu, southwest of Seoul, has transformed in recent years into an artistic district.

Along with festive music bars serving up street food alongside colorful murals, the venue also tries to promote works by artists from outside Seoul.

Artfield Gallery, a gallery-turned-machine-refurbishment store, is one of the pioneers of these efforts.

Visitors hang out at a bar in the Mullae Creative Village.  (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

Visitors hang out at a bar in the Mullae Creative Village. (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)

The gallery opened a special exhibition last April featuring three artists from Busan and Changwon in Gyeongsang Province — Woo Soon-gun, Cho In-ho and Yeo Geun-sub.

The exhibition titled “Time Travelers” features paintings inspired by the artists’ childhood years, adding their reinterpretations and imagination to both beautiful and painful memories.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors will feel like they have stepped back in time, noticing the interiors and structures of the old building still in view.

From drawings of Busan Port in vibrant colors to sketches of imaginary buses that carry memories of hometowns, each work offers enough space for visitors to identify with.

Visitors look at the artworks on display at the Artfield Gallery in the Mullae Creative Village, southwest of Seoul (Artfield Gallery)

Visitors look at the artworks on display at the Artfield Gallery in the Mullae Creative Village, southwest of Seoul (Artfield Gallery)

In the afternoon, part of the building’s grounds transform into a live music bar, featuring young independent musicians. The bar serves freshly baked pizzas and various small bites that accompany a glass of draft beer or wine.

A “Meet With the Artists” event will take place on Saturday at 4 p.m., and the three artists will take the stage to talk about their exhibited works.

The exhibition at the Artfield Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, until April 30. Admission is free, and for those interested, the works can be reserved on site for purchase after the end of the exhibition.

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By Korea Herald ([email protected])

Evelyn C. Tobin