It’s impossible to read or watch the Harry Potter series without wishing that Hogwarts is real. Luckily, you can experience a bit of the Hogwarts magic right here in Seoul.
1. Quench Your Thirst with Butterbeer
The only place to get butterbeer in Seoul is Hello Hello Sool in Hongdae. Though it’s a bar, the cute ornaments and colorful Christmas lights give off a cafe vibe. Its butterbeer comes with a thick layer of cream and a small waffle on top. Sipping on it will make you feel as if you’re surrounded with fellow Hogwarts students at The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
The Bulldog pub in Itaewon, which used to stock butterbeers in three different flavors, closed down in January.
Hello Hello Sool: 331-4 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul; 02-334-3243.
2. Escape a Potter-Themed Maze
Escape rooms were trending in Seoul two summers ago, but there’re still a handful of them around. One in Gangnam has a “Maze in a Magic School” theme with a difficulty level of 4 out of 10. Another one in Sinchon has a full-on Harry Potter themed room, though they claim it’s the most challenging room to get out of.
Escape Top (Facebook): B1 80 Bongeunsa-ro 18-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (Gangnam stn. exit 11); 010-8758-5611.
Escape Room ESC (website): 7F 13-2 Changchun-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul (Shinchon stn. Exit 3); 02-313-2016.
3. Visit the Owl Museum
If you happen to be an owl fanatic in Seoul, you have to check this place out. Myung-Hee Bae and her husband have collected owls and owl memorabilia from all over the world, and been running this place for at least the past seven years.
$5 will give you a tour of this tiny but interesting museum and a drink. There’s only one exhibition room, but it’s filled with over 2,000 owl objects, including stamps, ornaments, clocks and postcards, according to TripAdvisor reviews.
Owl Museum (TripAdvisor): 27-21 Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul; 02-3210-2902.
4. GSM Harry Potter Party
Visit the Hogwarts in the heart of Gangnam on Saturday, April 21, to dance in the Great Hall, lounge in Professor Sprout’s indoor garden, and explore the secret corridors and passageways. If none of these sound good enough, they’re also offering unlimited butterbeer until midnight.
Global Seoul Mates (GSM) is known for throwing fabulous parties. This month, they’re hosting a Hogwarts party at Scalatium because themed parties have been their biggest hits! “People loved dressing up for the Gatsby last fall,” GSM organizer David Woodworth said. He added, “I grew up with Harry Potter and so did all my friends. Everyone loves Harry Potter!”
Tickets start from $45. $50 at the door. Dress up to get frog chocolates and jelly beans, and win the best costume award.
GSM Hogwarts Party (Facebook): Saturday, April 21th, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. at Scalatium (72 Nonhyeon-ro 79-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul). Call David at 010-4894-8035 for questions.
5. Seoul Salon
Is this the perfect example of east meets west? Bar Seoul Salon on Gyeongnidan-gil in Itaewon reminds us of The Hog’s Head in Hogsmeade. The entrance door is patterned with squares, just like the traditional Korean doors. On top of it, a yellow neon sign brightly screams down at us. Inside the bar feels luxe but vintage with its black walls and mahogany tabletops. More sitting area is available on the second floor, but I would opt for the rooftop.
Seoul Salon (Facebook): 15 Hoenamu-ro, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul; 010-9090-6654.