Down a bustling Hongdae alley and up a perilous flight of stairs is the quirky, beach-themed Bar Da. The hand-painted sign strewn with electrical wires wouldn't necessarily have lured me in on my own, but fortunately I was with a friend who had been here before and knew of the charms that lay beyond. The bar is located on the second and third floor of the building; the second floor has two small rooms divided by a staircase and the more spacious third floor has an outside deck. The steps up to the second floor are some of the steepest I've ever encountered, and the narrow staircase leading to the third floor is perhaps even steeper and definitely more rickety. Once we arrived, though, we felt like we'd stumbled upon a relaxed hole in the wall beach bar in the middle of Seoul.
I loved the dark wood of the furniture and the cheerful red wall accents as well as fun, unexpected touches like a little boat affixed to an overhead beam and lantern lights softened with variously colored homemade papers. This place doesn't take itself too seriously, and the eccentric jumble of interior decor (Mona Lisa replica on one wall, rubber chicken on another? why not?!) works in its favor. I ordered a margarita and my companions nursed San Miguels and Tequila Sunrises. The drinks were potent and reasonably priced, but hedonists beware: anyone who over-indulges is at risk of tumbling down two of the most treacherous staircases I've ever encountered or, perhaps even worse, joining a wall full of artful pictures at the entrance of people who've passed out at the bar.