The Korea Herald


Hostess bars grow despite recession

By 김주연

Published : May 12, 2011 - 19:13

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There were more hostess bars at the height of the financial crisis than five years previously, showing, the entertainment business resilience even while most other sectors suffered, a government report said Thursday.

The data collected by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said 609 hostess bars, or room salons, opened between 2004 and 2009.

There were 30,466 hostess bars as of 2009 in the country, up 2 percent from 29,857 in 2004.

The number of karaoke rooms, in which it is illegal to hire women to serve drinks, dropped 12.9 percent in the same period, from 18,030 to 15,700, suggesting that many operators switched to the hostess bar business for higher profits.

The number of eateries moved with the overarching economic conditions. The country had 8,174 fewer restaurants in 2009 than in 2004.

There were 731,466 restaurants in 2004. The figure shrank to 709,342 in 2007 but grew to 723,292 in 2009.

Food stalls and snack bars, not considered restaurants, jumped 24 percent in the same period, from 53,227 to 66,021.

By Cynthia J. Kim (