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FOOD & DRINK Edited by Josh Foreman (

Southside Parlor brings refined cocktails to the Itaewon area

Totally Texan mixology Story and Photos by Shelley DeWees


obbie, Austin, Johnny and Philip are Texas men with a Texas bar, right in the heart of... not Texas. Where you’d expect to see cowboy boots, tumbleweeds and rough-n-tumble customers clomping around on wooden slat floors, there are instead smiling foreigners in sneaks and scarves, gazing out onto the busy Noksapyeong neighborhood, kickin’ it with their friends among leather and iron and a tin ceiling that belongs in a grain silo. Some of them are chomping on barbecue or dipping chips, but they’re all tucking into perfectly mixed concoctions from these four stud muffins, a Pink Dolphin, a Bruce Lee, a Keenan and Kel, or maybe a mint and elderflower Barton Springs (their most popular cocktail). But whether their patrons are eating or drinking or both, one thing’s for sure: they’re all fixin’ to sidle up and do nothin’ for at least two hours here in the swank spread of the Southside Parlor.

40 / January 2014

Having already confessed my affinity for gin and tonic, Phillip leans forward and asks if I’ve ever had a real one. ‘Um … yes?’ I answer, wondering what it is that makes a gin and tonic real.

“Most of our first customers knew us from our old taco truck, Three Kings,” says Philip, a cheerful guy in a vest and not one shred of outward evidence pointing to his Texan heritage. “We used to park our truck in Hongdae and sell tacos and cocktails like crazy till 4 a.m. We loved it, they loved it, but we knew we couldn’t hold onto those hours for long.” So when people started asking them to come sell at parties and weddings, they saw an opportunity to kick off something entirely new. This open attitude toward start-ups is Robbie’s favorite thing about Korea. He chimes in, a bespectacled and suspendered public relations graduate: “Seoul is the perfect place to be creative. People here are so receptive to new ideas. It’s easy to start something new when you see the space for it in the market. We were tired of paying nine dollars for crappy cocktails, so we thought others probably were too.” Three

Groove Korea January 2014  

Groove is Korea's English magazine for Insight, Travel, Culture, Dining and Shopping

Groove Korea January 2014  

Groove is Korea's English magazine for Insight, Travel, Culture, Dining and Shopping