Lonely Planet Writer

Drink with purpose at Pocket, South Korea’s first sustainable bar

Amidst persisting air pollution and other environmental issues in South Korea, three expats are working to making a difference the best way they know how – with good cocktails.

Inside Pocket Seoul, the first sustainable bar in Korea. Image by Pocket Seoul

Pocket, the country’s first sustainable bar, opened this past month on the popular Haebongchon Street in Seoul thanks to Robbie Nguyen, Philip Abowd and Bobby Kim. No strangers to the cocktail game, the trio is also responsible for Southside Parlor – often considered one of the best speakeasies in the city.

Bobby says the inspiration for opening Pocket came when guest bartenders, Trash Tiki, held an event at Southside last year while on a global tour to spread the word about anti-waste and sustainability in the food and beverage industry. “We’ve always been conscious about our waste but Trash Tiki really took anti-waste to another level. They made cocktail ingredients from upcycled and re-used products such as citrus husks and avocado seeds,” he says.

Seoul’s first sustainable bar, Pocket. Image by Hahna Yoon

Colorful and fun, Pocket is serious about its focus on minimizing waste. There are no straws, although customers can request a straw made of bamboo. With six drinks on the menu so far, each drink comes with at least one upcycled product and the menu will change with the availability of the ingredients over the seasons. The Lotta Colada, Pocket’s take on the Piña Colada made with pineapple skin rum, is one of their most popular drinks.

The Speedy Gonzales drink. Image by Pocket Seoul

“Our goal is to be a positive influence to our community by spreading the word of sustainability and anti-waste. We really want to encourage the community we are a part of to be more conscious about their own waste and also to include their product in our program. One of our cocktails, Speedy Gonzalez, is a coffee-flavored rum & coke made from using used coffee grounds from neighboring cafes,” Bobby says.

The Purple Drank at Pocket Seoul. Image by Pocket Seoul

Pocket also plans to donate 10% of their proceeds to charity every month. Last month the bar donated to Global Vision, an organization that focuses on helping and supporting single parent families.

Stay current with Pocket’s events and news by following “Pocket Seoul” on Facebook.