Nestled on a quiet street in the heart of Seoul’s Jongno district, you may find an unremarkable hanok - a traditional Korean house. While unassuming from the outside, it’s the innovative work that happens inside that inspires. This is Bar Cham, brainchild of World Class Korea 2015 winner Lim Byung-jin. Realising one day that he had spent years mastering ‘foreign’ liquors, but only had a basic understanding of Korean spirits, he decided to open a bar that would bring Korea’s rich alcohol heritage to the mainstream.
In a way, Bar Cham’s location is a perfect representation of its mission. Home to four of the Five Grand Palaces, Jongmyo shrine and the Cheong Wa Dae - official residence of the President of South Korea - Jongno district is the cultural centre of Seoul. The celebration of Korean culture doesn’t end there. Upon walking into the hanok, customers are first greeted with the rich scent of oak wood. Built using historic techniques and materials, oak features prominently in Bar Cham; from the front door, to the structure, to the bartop itself. Coincidentally, this is where the bar gets its name, cham being the Korean word for oak.
Blending local flavours with international ones, Bar Cham’s offerings open both up to new dimensions. Not content with merely sourcing traditional beverages from across the country, they also offer cocktails inspired by the provinces of South Korea, each incorporating a spirit from the corresponding province. Renowned for their friendliness, the Bar Cham team works to give each customer a truly unique experience, suggesting drinks based on each customer’s home region and favourite ingredients.
Where can you find them? 34, Jahamun-ro 7-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
10 ml MONIN Osmanthus syrup
10 ml MONIN Cucumber syrup
50 ml Yesan apple brandy
20 ml lemon juice
1 tsp absinthe
Prepare a glass and fill with ice
Add all ingredients except soda water and stir to combine
Top up with soda water before garnishing with cucumber and apple slices