Art Monster, Ikseon-dong

Art Monster, Ikseon-dong

In the Jongno area, between the modern skyscrapers and the historic temples, lie a maze of traditional houses, craft stores, restaurants, old men playing checkers and sleezy motels. Here, in what seems to be the new hot spot for independent art and craft, you can find the treasure that is Art Monster. Not an easy place to get to, but the trip there is extremely scenic, with narrow back-alleys, neon signs and traditional roofs, plenty of young people and even some stray cats.

You can only get Art Monster beer here, no imports or bottles, but we really didn’t miss it. Their selection is one of the most interesting we’ve seen from craft breweries, mostly focusing on German and Belgian styles with uncommon flavors. Unfortunately 4 of their 10 beers were sold out, so we only got to test the remaining 6. With generous tasters, great variety and low prices, the taster set is absolutely the way to go here.

Ikseon-dong is full of narrow alleys.
In Ikseon-dong you get to navigate through narrow streets.
Classic style hanok house entrance.
The entrance of Art Monster tap room on the right.
The interior is very nice. The ceiling is kept in its original form.
The building is a renovated hanok, a traditional Korean house.

Like many places in the area, Art Monster is a renovated hanok, a traditional Korean house. This normally makes for a lot of smaller, partly secluded seating areas with some interesting open spaces. Art Monster is no different and has a little garden right in front of the counter.

I picture with plants and ladies enjoying their craft beer.
A shot through the greenery.
Coffee beer called Jobs with Steve jobs character in the poster.
“Jobs” German coffee kolsch ale
Picture of Art monster craft beer tap menu.
Prices are very reasonable, especially for the big 1 liter take our cans.

As mentioned, four beers were already sold out, but we got to taste the remaining six. With styles like Belgian Wit, German Leipzig Gose and Grapefruit Session IPA you are in for something else than Seoul’s standard craft beer types. All the beers have distinct flavors, names and funky posters to add to the experience, and the hops and grains used for each beer are listed in the menu so the geeks can settle their arguments peacefully.

While the general level was pleasantly high, but really the Grapefruit Session IPA was the night’s clear winner. I’m normally a bit sceptic to IPAs with fruit in their name, as they tend to be overly sweet, but this one was the bomb. Dry, hoppy, not too fruity, and with the relatively low alcohol content you can get the giant 660 ml serving without spoiling your appetite for more.

Two guys ordering beer at the bar counter.
The counter is located in the middle of the hanok complex. Order and pick up happens at the counter. Also they have front payment.
A guy picking up a craft beer sampler testing set.
Order and pick up at the counter.
Five small glasses of craft beer on a wooden tray.
Sampler set with 5 different beers. Four beers on the menu were sold out.
Five beers on the sampler set.
Tasters are 220 ml and cost 16,000 won for a set of five.
Another picture showing the renovated hanok interior.
Another part of the pub.
Brick wall with a poster hanging on it.
Itaewon freedom poster.

In addition to a great and rotating beer menu, Art Monster also has a fine-looking pizza selection. We got three pizzas (for four people), which made for a decent-sized dinner. The pizza dough was delicious, although a tad soft, and the toppings were tasty and fresh. The King Brie cheese was very rich in flavor, as was the pepperoni, and their signature Pizza Artmonster was almost like eating a fresh salad with some bread and cream cheese.

The venue was quite spacious and we had no problems getting a table, but was by no means empty. Guests were mostly younger people, but ages varied and I can imagine this place being busy on weekends.  Music plays at a decent volume and was on point for most of the evening, the surprising highlights being some fresh 90s remixes.

Art Monster pizza menu. Five different delicious pizzas to have with fresh craft beer.
Pizza menu!
A picture of two pizzas and a glass of nice IPA craft beer.
Rucola and pepperoni pizzas!
Picture of girl holding a huge glass of IPA craft beer.
Their IPA was the best so we got another giant class of it.
A picture of a huge glass of craft beer and a guy cutting pizza.
Beers come in many sizes, here you can see 220 ml tasters, a 400 ml regular and a 660 ml giant. Art Monster even offers a 1000 ml take out at very competitive prices.

Zoom all the way in on your map to make it easier when navigating through the narrow alleys, and keep your eyes peeled for one of the signs showing the way to Art Monster.

6 Replies to “Art Monster, Ikseon-dong”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *