Say Hello to Sosabeol 소사벌, the New Hot Spot for a Date Night or to Enjoy an Evening with Friends
Have you noticed all the new construction lately? I don’t mean just Camp Humphreys. The surrounding area is surging in growth and it feels like new neighborhoods are popping up overnight in Asan and Pyeongtaek. Lately I’ve been enjoying the Sosabeol Commercial District, about 5 minutes north of NewCore Outlet. Have you heard of the JnJ Art Convention? It’s a wedding hall that some units use for their military balls about 5 minutes from Newcore Outlet Mall. The surrounding area, known as the Sosabeol Commercial District, has blossomed into an urban wonderland of restaurants and entertainment. It feels like it came out of nowhere, I don’t remember seeing this many businesses when I visited last fall. Even now as customers enjoy the night life they will find themselves stepping carefully around powertools on the sidewalks and peering into freshly painted stores as they are being renovated for new shops and restaurants.
When navigating Sosaebol, the roundabout marks the center of the district and visitors will be surprised to find that the entire commercial region is quite small. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk its length and that’s if you are dragging your feet. Regardless, it’s packed with enough entertainment and restaurants to make this the neat, new place to visit for months to come. It’s impossible to see and enjoy everything in just a few visits and new businesses are opening every weekend so there is always something to come back and see.
Sosabeol is a Foodies Mecca
Everything from Italian pasta to the Korean pork classic Samgyeopsal can be found here and everything needs to be tried. Sure, you can give those big flashy restaurants right in the center of Sosabeol at the roundabout a try but the really good food is hidden away inside tall buildings or in alleyways off the main road. I tried a Bossam restaurant inauspiciously tucked away on a second floor and they put out enough banchan to cover the entire table. I felt like I was drowning in side dishes, there wasn’t even space to put down my chopsticks and the rice came out sizzling in hot pots like a bibimbap. I discovered that Ihad to scoop out as much rice as I could and to cover the overcooked portions with hot water from a kettle. After dinner, the burnt rice turned into a palette cleansing pooridge. I could only eat a few bites though, my stomach was close to bursting from all of the amazing Bossam and banchan. It was an experience I won’t soon forget and I can’t wait to go back.
Since I forgot to take a picture of any of the meals I ate, they must have been that good, check out the Sosabeol tag: 소사벌맛집 on Instagram to see all the amazing food!
Craft Beers, Pubs, Cafes, Bakeries and more
The bars and pubs are bursting with craft beers, themes and relaxing, fun atmospheres. The Iron Bar lives up to its name with a larger than life replica of Iron Man, complete with light up eyes and Arc Reactor who is ready to enjoy a drink with you. The 1987 Rooftop Lounge has one of the best views of the Sosabeol area and is perfect for a girl’s night out with amazing cocktails and “sexy décor.” That’s a direct quote from South of Seoul. I need to get over there and try this place out! Go to the South of Seoul blog to see their top 5 bars to visit in the Sosabeol commercial district.
Did someone say Steampunk Café? I haven’t gone yet but it’s high on my list of places to visit. I don’t expect the coffee or deserts to be amazing but I need the décor to be awesome! On the river walk, there are multiple café options and there are plenty of dessert cafes in Sosabeol proper to relax at after dinner. I think the bakeries purposely pump beautiful bread smells into the street because I found myself stopping every 50ft to fog up big bakery windows and stare at perfect pastries.
After Dinner Entertainment
The Sosabeol Rock Bowling Club is THE place to drink and relax with friends while knocking down pins in a posh bowling alley with black lights. Drink and Bowl. What more could you ask for? Check out this Naver Blog to see what it looks like inside.
Screen Golf and Screen Baseball
Have you tried this yet? It’s exactly what it sounds like, score a birdie or hit a homerun with real clubs and bats against a projector screen. It’s a videogame where the computer calculates how well, or terrible, you swung and you get to go home with real life sore shoulders!
During Screen Golf, your party gets a private room, complete with golf clubs for men or women, to shoot 9 or 18 holes. While waiting for your turn, you can order drinks or enjoy a smoke in the smokers lounge if it’s available. Screen baseball is similar but everyone must stand behind a cage as the ball is pitched from the center of the screen. In Sosabeol, I saw an open air, one room Screen Baseball off of an alleyway, perfect for the player who needs to get in a couple of swings before dinner. For the serious players, head up to the large Screen Baseball room off of the roundabout. I haven’t found the screen golf yet, I know it should be there but it’s possible it hasn’t opened yet. If you need to try screen golf right now, head down to Asan Techno Valley and try the 19 Hole Screen Golf. It’s clean, relaxing and has a full bar to visit after the game.
It’s true, Archery Ranges became an overnight trend in Korea and they are popping up everywhere. At the Shooting Zone in Sosabeol, pay around 10,000won for 20 minutes or become a member for unlimited practice. The employees will teach everyone how to nock, draw and hopefully not shoot the ceiling. I didn’t do it but I was close! Enjoy the café while waiting for your turn. Other Archery ranges in Pyeongtaek offer more bow varieties and lessons but for a night to relax and get away from it all, the Shooting Zone is perfect.
Noraebangs, PC Bangs and a Dog Café
Not interested in sports as a way to relieve stress? Don’t worry, Sosabeol has you covered with the classic Noraebangs/ Karaoke rooms, PC Bangs, Massage parlors, shopping and a newly opened Dog Café!
River Walk and the Baedari Reservoir Park
Talk a walk on the Sosabeol River Walk or go over the garden and pedestrian bridge to the Baedari reservoir park. Nothing says date night like a walk under the stars and stopping at cafes and shops along the way.
Crane games and Arcades!
I do my best to not spend money at crane games but it’s so hard. I am proud of myself for only dropping about 100,000won at trying for those adorable Cubone’s or Lapras Pokemon Plushies. The arcades come with a variety of games, not just the crane traps and many of them stated no one under the age of 19 after 10pm. Go to bed kids, it’s time for Momma to get her game on!
What to do during the day or with the kids?
Sosabeol isn’t just for the night, there is plenty to do during the day with the family! After letting the kids run until their breathless over the Garden Pedestrian Bridge, head over to McDonald’s for lunch then hit the brand new CGV Movie Theater for an afternoon flick. If everyone still has energy, check out the the Bon Bon Kid’s Cooking Café, Tayo Bus Kid’s Cafe or the Robot Building Hagwon for older kids.
For the thrifty shopper, a 3 story Daiso will be opening soon in the same building as the theater and McD’s. I keep seeing maps saying there is an Emart in Sosabeol but I can’t confirm that, I need to go for a ride and see if I can find it.
How to get to Sosabeol
From Camp Humphreys- Take the 20 bus and get off at Tongbok Market which is one stop before AK Plaza. Get on the 10 bus going in the same direction as the 20 bus was to get to Sosabeol. It’s about an hour total to by bus.
Sosabeol is only a 15 minute car ride from Humphreys and it may be worth the 12,000 won cab fare to get there, especially if you are splitting the cost with a group of friends. Show the taxi driver the address in the South of Seoul app for the CGV Bijeondong2 and he will drop you off right in front of the new McDonalds. When getting back to Humphreys, flag any taxi down and tell them K6. Most dri vers will know what you mean. When you get closer, direct them towards your house with hand gestures and they’ll understand.
Have you visited Sosabeol? Did you try the Dog Cafe or Steam Punk Coffee Shop? Tell me your favorite part in the comments.