Ordering beer by calling a waiter or ringing a bell is a thing of the past at Tap Public. Strap on the electronic wristband and stroll down the seemingly endless wall of taps, pouring tasters or pints to your taste.
A very common feature in Korean restaurants is a little electronic bell on your table where you can call the waiter rather than raising your arm or, even worse, your voice. As a Scandinavian, infamous for being shy, this is extremely comfortable. Now finally in Korea, the concept of Tap Public takes it even further, and you don’t even need to place an order for your beer, you can simply walk over to the row of taps and pour yourself whatever you want! An electronic wristband given to each guest keeps track of their beer consumption and you pay before you leave.
In addition to being a very fun way to drink beer, it also takes away the shame of ordering your fourth boring IPA for the night, mispronouncing the Belgian specialties and lets you take a little taste of each beer before committing to a big serving. If you want just half a glass of an imperial stout and then a full pint of your favorite sour that you just saw, here you will have the freedom to drink as you please.
The beer selection is quite wide, with nearly every common beer type covered, including sours and even some barley wine. Most of the big Korean craft breweries are represented with a beer or two, and there are also plenty of imports, but in a place like this we would have hoped for more interesting choices. At the end of the night some beers were even sold out, we hope that means the taps also rotate frequently.
Pouring is easy and fun, and all the taps seemed clean and well-operative. You could choose glassware from a separate cabinet and rinse it between beers, or take a few samples and bring them to the table at the same time. It really is up to you! Even though many of the beers are common to find around Seoul, having them all in one point, and exactly when and how much you want, is what makes this place fun. Pouring for yourself means you can also keep a close eye on the price you are paying, updated in realtime while you are using the tap. Be warned, it can increase quite rapidly!
Located in one of the underground arcades in Jongno, Tap Public is quite a busy place on a Friday night, and we needed to queue around 10 minutes before we got in. This was easy enough to set up, and we could even get a text message when it was our turn to go in. Jongno being a business hotpot, a lot of the guests were office workers in smart suits, but overall the crowd was quite diverse. The interior is dark and industrial, leaving you to focus on your beer and friends, though you have to speak up a bit.
The food menu covers the basics of bar foods, potato snacks, burgers, sausages and more, both for sharing or as a meal. There is no beer menu, you have to get up, pick a glass and look at the taps. Not that you would have to ask us twice. Cheers!