All That Jazz

My new apartment isn’t far from Samcheongdong, an adorable neighborhood known for its quaint hanok houses, interesting art galleries, cozy cafes, and elegant restaurants. Also dotted throughout the area are wine bars and live music clubs. So, when my boyfriend suggested this past weekend that we change up date night a bit, I proposed a classy evening of wine and jazz.

Before we met up, I did a bit of research on the internet to find a good place worth checking out. Jazz bars have become pretty trendy in Seoul over the past few years and I was a bit overwhelmed by the search results. Many seemed to be quite swanky, but I wanted to find a casual, low-key joint so we wouldn’t have to worry about dressing up or paying sky-high prices for a cover charge and drinks. I came across a CNN Go page that had a comprehensive list of some more informal venues. One in particular was in the right location and appeared to be just what I was looking for.

Saturday evening, after wandering around the shops and food stalls of the area, we headed out to La Cle, a basement bar just off the main street in Samcheongdong. A different band plays each night and the show usually starts at 8:30PM, but we decided to arrive there a bit early to get a good seat. We were glad we did, as the venue is quite small and the number of ‘good’ seats is limited. We lucked out and grabbed a table just in front of the stage.

La Cle’s signage makes it easy to find in quaint Samcheongdong.

The room set the mood, with its low lighting and comfortable chairs, mismatched as they were. I definitely felt like I was in a basement, as the place was sporadically adorned with vintage posters, antique furnishings, and old fashioned appliances. There was also a large album collection organized on shelves that spread across the stage. The crowd was young and mostly made up of couples, the typical clientele of romantic places like La Cle.

La Cle is small but cozy, with lots of wood furnishings and low lighting.

The stage added to the basement atmosphere of the bar.

We ordered some wine (which was reasonably priced, I might add) and soon enough, the band started playing. I have to admit, despite being born in the home of jazz, I don’t know much about it as far as the technicalities are concerned. I do know, though, that the musicians were all very talented and I was enjoying what I was hearing. I especially liked the singer’s voice, which was smooth and reminiscent of an earlier time. With each sip of wine and ba-doo-bap of the music, I began to drift off. For a quick second, I thought I was in another time. Funny how one’s surroundings and senses can do that. Though the club stays open until 1AM, we left after the band finished, pacified by the jazz and alcohol.

A talented group of jazz artists at La Cle Jazz Club.

Wine and jazz make for a relaxing evening in Seoul.

Both my boyfriend and I really enjoyed our evening at La Cle. It was the perfect place to spend a low-key evening. With live music venues of all sorts popping up throughout the city, there are plenty of options for music lovers or people wanting a new way to ‘jazz’ up their weekends. We will definitely be trying out different venues in the future, though next time, we’ll be sure to load up on caffeine beforehand. Or order more wine.