If you are reading this, it means you’ve managed to survive your Cinco de Mayo celebrations over the weekend – and what a weekend it was! Buddha’s Birthday, Children’s Day, and one of the world’s most famous international boozing festivals, which, incidentally, would never have existed if not for the savvy marketing of Corona and Groupo Modello breweries – not like we needed more reasons to celebrate a long weekend. While many of you in the Gwangju region must have headed over to our favorite Mexican restaurants, Corona or Tequilaz, for their epic food and (most of all) mind-blowing drink specials, I know at least a few of you took your celebrations outside for an early taste of fun in the sun. That’s where the real party can be found: at the beach, in the mountain valleys, or just chilling with friends on a bench in the park. It’s summertime, baby! What better way to celebrate than with copious intoxication! This month’s column should really be called “Where to Drink” because it is a beer hotspot that fuels so many great festivities with friends: the Mac Bottle Shop. This store is the first in Gwangju to focus exclusively on craft and microbrew beers from around the world.
Mac Bottle Shop, or 보리맥, takes its name from the Korean word for beer, maekju, and serves over fifty different varieties hand-picked by the owner, from top-notch international craft breweries to local indie brewers here in Korea. Staples include Korean breweries like Hand and Malt, and The Booth, and international big hitters like Ballast Point, Kona, Lagunitas, Snapshot, Brewdog, and Northcoast, with each bottle running at about 5,000 to 7,000 won. While just four months old and humble in scale, Mac has already become something of a local legend, attracting restaurateurs, artists, and artisans to its warm, cozy little interior. With just seven seats, a bar, and a single table, it is surprising how often people linger here over their beers, enjoying the eclectic company of fellow patrons or just watching the latest Tigers game on the tube. Although the intent was to open a store (not a bar), the owner’s hospitality, fun selection of finger food, and vast beer knowledge always seems to encourage customers to hang around. Paralyzed by choice? The staff is there to help. With an intimate appreciation of each beer’s unique profile, these beer enthusiasts will steer you through a rainbow montage of flavors that will literally leave your senses reeling. It is easy to lose track of time trying all the beers they offer, especially since the selection is always fresh. One week, there will be a coffee stout with vanilla, chocolate, and chili; the next, perhaps a hoppy apple cider brewed in Seoul. There’s always something interesting hiding up on the shelves.
Now that spring has finally blown its last chill for the year, you can take full advantage of everything Mac Bottle Shop offers. Located across the street from the green at the Asia Culture Complex, it couldn’t be easier to grab a six-pack of awesome beers, then order a pizza next door at Piazza, and borrow one of their lawn mats to enjoy it outside in the open air while you watch the sun set over the city. Conversely, you can just grab a few bottles to drink in bed while watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy. No one is judging here. However you choose to booze, be it in the comfort of your own home or out and about with pals, Mac Bottle Shop has got you covered.