May 172011

front sign of soul trane bar and crossroads bar, pnu, busanIt’s early and the bar isn’t crowded yet. There are only a couple other people sitting at the bar, most likely the bartender’s friends, based on their interaction. I think we all look as a girl walks in, book in hand, and sits at a table two down from us. She sets down her book and takes out a pack of Marlboro Lights and a blue transparent lighter and sets them down on the book and she walks back up to the bar. She comes back, Budweiser in hand now, sits down, lights up, picks up her book, and reads. My friend looks over at the other two of us. We’ve all been watching. “That’s awesome,” he says. We all nod and take a pull off our beers.

Soul Trane is the kind of feels like your cool uncle’s basement. There are records all over the place, a drum set set up, a big screen projector TV, and of course, the bar. Its red brick interior feels homey and comfortable, while still exuding a party atmosphere. In investment terms, it’s chill, with an option to get rowdy. Wait, what?

interior of soul trane bar, pnu, busanSoul Trane is in the basement of the same building as Crossroads. It’s got a good setup for live music, and drinks are cheap – 3000k for Red Rock beer – not bad at all!

Directions: PNU Metro exit 3. Walk straight out till you get to a main road (Starbucks on the corner on your left), and turn RIGHT. Go through the busy intersection past Busan Bank and go one more block and turn LEFT. Soul Trane is on your right.

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Apr 042011

Part of the Busan Music Scene

the sign outside for the basement in pnu

The sign out front

The Basement is one of those places that everybody in Busan is supposed to know about. Mentions of it are often prefaced with phrases like legendary and the most popular expat bar in Busan. For months now, when it’s been brought up, I’ve been pretending that I’ve been there. I didn’t want people to think I was a loser. To think I wasn’t hip with the goings on around Busan. Well, now I have been there, and I can successfully look back and realize I was actually a loser. It’s alright, though, now I’m cool.

interior of the basement, located in PNU

The cozy interior of The Basement

The Basement wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Seeing the live music listings, I imagined it was just a PNU version of Vinyl Underground. I guess there are name associations at play as well, since basements are usually underground. Still, the inside was much smaller and cozier than I was imagining. The crowd was pretty laid back as well. Genius Rock, who I’d seen a few weeks earlier at the Vinyl punk show, was set to play later that night.

stairway leading down into the basement, in pnu

Stairway leading down into The Basement

The drinks are cheap, and the bar is really fun. It’s relaxed and everyone is extremely friendly. They also have a big screen to watch soccer games on, which makes me happy.

If I lived closer to PNU, I could definitely see myself hanging out at the Basement far more than would be healthy. It’s got a more intimate feel, and much better ambience than a lot of the other expat bars in Busan. So if you’re like me, and have been living a shameful lie by pretending you’ve been to The Basement, maybe now is the time to venture up to PNU and actually check it out.

Directions:  From the PNU metro stop, go out exit 1.  Walk straight for two blocks.  Go through the big intersection.  Continue straight until the next big road, then turn right.  Walk for a block and a half.  Look for the black and green basement sign on your right.

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