HIVE SOJU BAR | 95 QUEEN STREET, Auckland CBD, AUCKLAND 1010
When K-Pop and K-Beauty have regularly brought in new excitement, Korean cuisine that goes beyond just Korean BBQ and fried chicken, still lays low. That is why I'm so thrilled everytime I hear a grand opening of new Korean restaurants in Auckland, and even more excited when it features the concept of “suljibs” (술집). The word “suljib” literally translates to “alcohol house” in Korean or what we know more as “bars.” The concept is based on sharing food with large groups of people all while drinking. The food tastes much better once that pleasant and warm feeling of soju spreads through the body. In Auckland, I have recently tried and was very much satisfied with a new “suljib’' star - HIVE.
Tucked away in a busy lane of Queen Street, Hive seems like a tiny spot until you enter. This is perfect for any loud group! With more than 100 seatings, they have the ideal atmosphere for any occasion. The spacious element doesn't affect the nightlife vibe at all. Instead, with a never-ending K-Hip-Hop playlist, your mood will get merrier in the colourful neon lights and huge projection images ✨
Of course, entering suljib starts with a round of drinks right? Did you know there are several etiquettes around this suljib culture 🤔 When drinking in a group, soju should always be shared. When someone older than you is pouring soju for you, you should lift up your cup with both hands and drink your first shot at once. And if soju isn’t for you, there is of course, BEER. Hive features the coolest beer ever from both the look and taste, it’s their iced shaved beer 🍺! Slushie-like and refreshing, this is a friendly drink for the lightest alcohol drinkers. And it’s even better with fried chicken! Chimaek (치맥,) the combination of Korean fried chicken with a cool beer is one not to miss if you are ever going to a suljib 🍗
My friends and I also ordered two eye-catching dishes from the menu, the first being a set of soy steamed chicken that came with korean rice cakes or tteokbokki (떡볶이), glass noodles, fried kumara sticks, and sweet pumpkin yoghurt. I think this is a modern Korean cuisine with a Western twist (or is it a Western dish with a Korean tweak? 😂). Either way, the pretty presentation of the dish blew me away~ You might think, "pumpkin and yoghurt!?" but I actually appreciated this unexpected duo. Its light & tangy taste paired perfectly with the saltiness of the soy chicken and balanced the flavours out really well. Without any greens, this dish still had some vegetables and all the fibre goodness, so it’s a WIN-WIN dish for me 😀
However, the dish of the night belonged to the 4-way pancake 'jeon' (전), another traditional Korean dish with an exciting twist 👏 Hive's pancake had the perfect crispy texture, just like how jeon should be. And who doesn't love corn in everything?! As someone who loves mixing all sorts of flavours, the corn jeon was my favourite out of the four types. I can even say it is one of the most unique dishes I've had in Auckland!
Although very traditional Korean food is hard to find in Auckland, I highly appreciate the modern cuisine in which Korean signature ingredients are used creatively in a western style. If you've had a hard-working week, why not fill yourself with good food in a laid-back atmosphere? If you like the idea, make sure to visit Hive and let us know what you think of the suljib style.
|TUE - THURS, SUN
|5:30PM - 1AM
|FRI - SAT
|5:30PM - 2AM