Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Jinju's latest independent venture.
Sangria is available for W3000 a glass at Gyeongsang University Front Gate Benches, to accompany the live music played there. Like many of the stalls that appear on Saturday afternoons, Sangria has no fixed hours, or even days or dates of business. The best way find out more is to get down to the Front Gate on Saturdays.

Dal Oasis

The second incarnation of Bandal.

Bandal has re-opened its doors in Pyeonggeo Dong, in the west of Jinju. As well as being larger and brighter Dal Oasis has taken on a somewhat Hawaiian feel.

The menu is also expanded, and boasts new side dishes, as well as set meals. Dal Oasis also serves beer in several varieties, including draught beer in three sizes, at a very reasonable price.
All in all, this is a big improvement. The food is better, the drinks more varied, and the atmosphere really is that of an oasis - a place you can go to escape the grind. Dal Oasis easily scores 9/10. Live music, to compliment the chilled Korean Indie music that is already played through the speakers, would certainly see it crack the magic 10.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Buena Vista

Tired of Starbucks?  Fancy some live music with your coffee?  Here's Buena Vista.

A cool, independent coffee shop, in the trendy new area being developed just beside MBCine.  Buena Vista was apparently started up by the gentleman who used to run Little Jacob's, by Gyeongsang back gate.  The location has changed, but the coffee is as good as ever and the decor is arty cool, from the ceiling to the toilets - which have incredible industrial-grade iron doors and locks.  Indie Jinju is sometimes very easily pleased!

So what does Buena Vista offer, except nice coffee,and nice views on a rainy day?  Well, it offers variety, for one thing.  Drip coffee for W4500 comes from a variety of sources.  This drinker plumped for the Buena Vista Blend, but they had Columbian, Kenyan and several others, for around the same price.  It may sound a bit steep, but as it came in a pot, there were almost two cups, and refills are only W1500.  The value gets better on espresso-based drinks, which were slightly cheaper and had W1000 refills, I believe.

They also have alcohoic drinks, which is nice to know.  Domestic bottles were a reasonable W4000, while imported beers run at a crazy W7000 - W8000 each.  Nevertheless, it's nice to have the option.  Maybe when Little Jacob reads this, he'll consider a little discount on his priciest offerings!

And finally... live music.  The jewel in the crown; the icing on the cake - hopefully!  Thursday nights are live music nights.  Kicking off at 8pm, Indie Jinju waits in anticipation.  The full review will only be possible after a Thursday visit. 

Buena Vista is certainly trendy-looking, with prices to match, there's no doubt about that, but despite the too-cool-for-school design, the clientele was distinctly down-to-earth.  This was a plus, and helped get Buena Vista a cool 8 out of 10. 

Monday, 23 April 2012


Yet another addition to the Indie Triangle outside Gyeongsang University back gate, Meister offers something a little different.

As small as it gets, Meister is certainly a curiosity. Cheap beer, not-so-cheap sausages; a friendly atmosphere, with a poker-faced owner. Meister is a series of contradictions - a microcosm of Korea itself, perhaps.

And the beer? Top notch. A decent variety of domestic and imported bottles, at reasonable prices. Notable among them are big German bottles to pour into big German steins.  W6000 may seem pricey, but the taste and volume more than make up for that.   Just what a man (or woman) needs on a Friday night or Saturday morning - Meister opens 7pm-7am;  literally dusk till dawn.

Update: Meister has now moved to a basement location, next door to The Waining coffee shop. The previous bar Club Evans has been taken over by the Meister it seems. More information will be forthcoming - with a review - when the dust settles on this new location.

Indie Jinju Links

Indie Jinju would like to take the time to briefly acknowledge another great independent blog, which may have brought you here.  I'm not talking about Facebook either (although that is one of the most prolific sources).  It's called Fun times in South East Korea.
Here's the full link and description:

Big Jim tells it as it is, as always.

It also may be worth checking out Yo Jinju, which offers detailed information on a variety of topics for English speakers living in Jinju.

Although these are great blogs, please note, Indie Jinju is not directly affiliated with, nor writing for, any other blog at this time, and is therefore not responsible for what content may be found elsewhere on the Internet, even if it is linked to this page.  I will always recommend a good, independent read though.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Looking for an unexpected delight? Tired of independent places constantly going western, in their attempt to be alternative? These were some of the factors delaying the latest Indie Jinju entry.  Luckily, the drought ended at Do.

Initially, this place looks like any of the other extortionate, alternative places down the road at Gyeongsang Uni front gate, with a trendy menu board, punctuated with decimals to make the pricing look cool, modern and (possibly) low. This unfortunate fashion however, does nothing to undermine the genuine quality and value that lies down the stairs of Do.

Located in a modest basement, Do makes the best of its location with pleasant arty decor, nicely designed furniture and - importantly - clean, segregated toilets! The ceiling is high, and there's none of the stuffy or smelly unpleasantness that can come with basements. The staff also help. Sharp and attentive, both the owner and waiter do their best to make diners feel welcome. This certainly works for Indie Jinju.

And the food? What a refreshing change - two types of curry! I mean, they had other stuff, but the sight of 'Hot, Spicy Curry Rice' at W4000 was enough for this hungry writer. It didn't disappoint either. An interesting style of curry, which was spicy, but nothing to blow one's socks off. The power was all in the taste and presentation, which was just so different from standard-fare Korean or Japanese curry. This was served with fresh (I mean really fresh and crunchy) salad, white radish kimchi, with a cup of tea or coffee for dessert. The other dishes on the menu will have to wait for another day, or night - the place opens till 3am, which brings us nicely to the next, intriguing point...

Do is a budget, student-orientated restaurant,but it's also a pub. This dimension has just been explored, but you can count on Indie Jinju to do it again, before the week - and the month of April - are out.

Marks out of ten? A solid nine, for a good value and alternative eating experience. With the benefit of a night time visit, Do remains worth 8 out of 10. This is after experiencing the mood after dark, which, with the benefit of the very reasonably-priced and varied selection of booze on the menu, was okay. It did however, lack the bright, cheery atmosphere of lunch time, due to a sparsity of drinkers.  Let's hope things pick up from here on!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Mihyang Dang

So here's a question: Where do you find good Japanese food and drink cheap and authentic? Mihyang Dang is the simple answer.

The authentic part may be disputable, but I certainly haven't found a Korean restaurant owner so thoroughly down with Japanese culture as the boss of Mihyang Dang is. In fact, it would be quite easy to take him for Japanese, with his unique dress sense and personality. This in itself is indie enough for me.

And the nosebag? Great Japanese meals at lunch and dinner time for between W5000 and W7000 for various rice dishes. After 8pm it really becomes more of a bar and drinking becomes the focus. Japanese beer W4000; Korean beer and soju W2000. They did have self-service draught beer for W2500, but this seems to have disappeared. Side dishes such as okonomiyaki are available in the late evening to absorb the alcohol. Domestic bottles (beer and soju) are cheaper during university holidays and exams - ridiculously cheap!

The nice thing about the service in Mihyang Dang is that there isn't any. It's self service, which includes paying! They trust you to pay, and if you can't or make a mistake they'll wait till your next visit.

Marks out of 10? I'll give it 8.5. Japanese pub-style seating up at the bar and a return of draught beer would bump this up another point.