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[Well-curated weekend] Cocktails and music, challenging hike, art viewing -- take your pick this weekend

Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)
Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)
If you are looking for a fantastic range of delicious drinks and delectable dishes, as well as a bewitching night of live jazz and blues in central Seoul, this live music party venue will be a perfect place to visit this weekend.

The Iron Fairies Seoul, the Hong Kong-based global bar franchise’s Korean branch located in Itaewon, central Seoul, provides a magical and enchanting experience for visitors by setting the mood in the dim-lit sensual atmosphere as you escape from reality. 
Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)
Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)
The Iron Fairies Seoul, which opened last September, was inspired by the children‘s fairy tale book of the same title written by Australian Ashley Sutton, who also designed the bar‘s concept.

Its unique decorations include the ceiling adorned with vials of fairy dust and tens of thousands of butterflies and tables laden with hundreds of welded iron fairies. The interior exudes a mysterious and exotic atmosphere.

It also offers various handcrafted cocktails, including the Seoul branch’s nine signature drinks priced between 22,000 won ($17.84) and 25,000 won per glass. Grill skewers, fries, starters and desserts are also available to pair with your drinks. 
Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)
Inside The Iron Fairies Seoul (The Iron Fairies Seoul)
Soulful live performances -- one act on weekdays (Sundays-Thursdays) and two acts on weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) -- also mesmerize visitors every night. Each band’s performance lasts about 90 minutes.

The bar is planning on featuring more bands in various genres such as pop, hip-hop and reggae starting next month.

It currently has shortened opening hours due to the government’s COVID-19 preventive measures. The Iron Fairies Seoul is open from 6 p.m. to midnight every day at the moment, yet it will shift to 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. after the easing of the virus curbs. 
The mountain ridges and Hyeondeungsa Temple are visible at the top of Unaksan. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
The mountain ridges and Hyeondeungsa Temple are visible at the top of Unaksan. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Challenge yourself at Unaksan’s hiking trail

If you find Seoul’s mountains relatively easy to climb and want to challenge yourself, head out to Unaksan, which stands 937.5 meters above sea level, in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province.

The name “Unaksan” means “cloud piercing mountain,” alluding to the mountain peaks.

A 70 to 80-minute drive from Seoul, there is a parking lot available for visitors of Unaksan and the famous Hyeondeungsa.

After a 15-minute steep uphill walk from the parking lot, a Buddhist architecture signals the entrance to the mountain.
 
Rocky cliffs and peaks are visible at on the Blue Dragon Ridge, the shortest course on Unaksan. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Rocky cliffs and peaks are visible at on the Blue Dragon Ridge, the shortest course on Unaksan. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Though three different courses are available for hikers to enjoy, the second-longest course is currently closed for maintenance.

Hikers can easily head to the top of the mountain by following signs, which appear every 20-30 minute.

Climbing sticks and mountaineering gloves are recommended to safely hike the steep stairs, stone steps and leaf-covered trail.

Many hikers choose to climb the Blue Dragon Ridge, the shortest course, running nearly 3.06 kilometers. A round trip hike is said to take almost 5 hours.
 
Eyebrow Rock is a resting spot and a popular Instagram photo zone for Unaksan hikers. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Eyebrow Rock is a resting spot and a popular Instagram photo zone for Unaksan hikers. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
While Unaksan is considered a difficult mountain to climb, it offers incredible sights, with waterfalls and uniquely shaped rocks like Eyebrow Rock.

The toughest part of the course involves the last 800 meters of climbing to its highest peak, requiring visitors to hold thick ropes and walk up steel steps.

Hikers will soon forget about their exhausted bodies and be mesmerized by the splendid mountain ridges, stunning views of soaring rocks and cliffs at the top of Unaksan. 
“Time Travelers” at Artfield Gallery in Mullae Creative Village presents works of three regional artist. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)
“Time Travelers” at Artfield Gallery in Mullae Creative Village presents works of three regional artist. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)
Art revives abandoned steel works neighborhood

Once an abandoned neighborhood of machine manufacturers and steel foundries, Mullae-dong, located in Yeongdeungpo-gu, southwestern Seoul, has been transformed into an artsy neighborhood in recent years.

Aside from festive music bars serving street foods alongside colorful murals, the location also tries to promote works by artists from outside of Seoul.

Artfield Gallery, a machinery refurbishment store-turned gallery, is one of the pioneers of such efforts. 
Visitors hang out at a bar in Mullae Creative Village. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)
Visitors hang out at a bar in Mullae Creative Village. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)
The gallery opened a special exhibit this April presenting three artists from Busan and Changwon in Gyeongsang Province -- Woo Soon-gun, Cho In-ho and Yeo Geun-sub.

The exhibit titled “Time Travelers” features paintings inspired by the artists’ childhood years, adding their reinterpretations and imaginations to both beautiful and painful memories.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors will feel as if they have slipped back in time, noticing the interiors and structures of the old building still remaining in sight.

From drawings of Busan port with vibrant colors, to sketches of imaginary buses that carry memories from hometowns, each work gives enough space for visitors to relate to. 
Visitors look at art pieces on display at Artfield Gallery in Mullae Creative Village, southwestern Seoul (Artfield Gallery)
Visitors look at art pieces on display at Artfield Gallery in Mullae Creative Village, southwestern Seoul (Artfield Gallery)
In the afternoon, part of the building compound turns into a live music bar, featuring young indie musicians. The bar serves fresh baked pizza and various small bites that go along with a glass of draft beer or wine.

A “Meet With the Artists” event will be held on Saturday at 4 p.m., and the three artists will come onstage to talk about their works that are on display.

The exhibition at Artfield Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, through April 30. Admission is free, and for those interested, artworks can be reserved onsite for purchase after the exhibit ends.

(yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

(sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)

(hykim@heraldcorp.com)

By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)
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