Suzie Q in Seoul

November 6th, 2012

Suzie Q in Seoul

At times this blog is good for a travel tip or two. A couple of weeks ago I was working on a great project in Beijing and Seoul for Audi’s Urban Future Initiative ( which explores how leading designers, engineers, architects and thinkers envision the future of the city and technology. It was not only a fascinating subject but it also gave me an opportunity to visit Seoul, South Korea. Here’s where the travel tip comes in. I gave myself an extra day so that I could walk through a few neighborhoods and get a feel for that metropolis. This was also my chance to understand the deep societal underpinnings of “Gangnam Style” which for those of you who don’t already know it, is a viral music hit that’s permeated the globe.

The highlight of my exploration was initiated by a serendipitous late night query to two young students at a convenience store in Hongdae. The streets were full of neon signs advertising hundreds of bars but I couldn’t decide on one. One of the girls thought for a second and said,”Suzie Q”! It was close and while it might not have many people on a weekday,could still be fun. Just around the corner in a little alley I found Suzie Q, where Cho Kyu-nam has enshrined his huge (we’re talking by the thousands) record collection.  His specialty is Rock and Blues.

The night I was there it was the bartender, a professor of Korean Shamanism and me, drinking Cass beer and Jack Daniels. Our DJ, Mr Kyu-nam searched for our requests (there’s a little cut out in front of the turntables for that) and most of the time found them. DJ Kyo-nam is kind of an original hipster who must have been collecting vinyl for decades. I can imagine that this now 65 yr.old, tall, glass wearing gentleman was once a lead guitar player in a Korean version of the Rolling Stones and has now taken on the mission of educating the art students of Hongik University of  Design and Arts which backs up to his establishment. His quiet determination to supplicate the gods of Rock was kind of revelatory. He was a master of his domain.


Post post: To those who wonder why there aren’t more photos I will tell you that the DJ was a bit shy. After a few minutes of shooting the “I’ve had enough time in the spotlight” expression was directed at me and I went back to the “pews” and enjoyed the music.

4 Responses to “Suzie Q in Seoul”

  1. dreemwhrld says:

    I’ve been here before several years ago, and would like to give directions to some friends who want to try it out but I don’t remember exactly where it is and I no longer live in Korea. Do you happen to remember what street or alley it’s on, or other places just around the corner?

  2. Rolf Stuenkel says:

    Hi James,

    I just went to Suzy Q tonight for the first time and can only say, what a great place and cool staff. I tried out several requests, from Iron Butterfly to pop, and our DJ immediately came up with the records. The three of us (Lufthansa air crew) had a wonderful time. I will return the next time I get here.
    Best regards, Rolf