There are some Seoulites out there who have fond memories of a jovial spirit known only as the Makgeolli Man. Although I don’t frequent Hongdae, I remember, once or twice when I made it out, catching a glimpse of the Makgeolli Man far ahead in the crowd. By the time I pushed my way to the spot where he was standing, he had vanished like a leprechaun’s pot o’ gold.
But for a much better reminiscence on the guy who may have called you “Best man!” or shouted “I love you!” at your girlfriend, check out a few lines from Jon Dunbar’s bittersweet Korea Times article:
All that is known about him is he must be in his 50s, his dark skin is cracked with age or exposure but rubbery like a TV comedian, and his clothes are shabby.
Rumors abound online about the secret life of the makgeolli man. One 2014 discussion suggests he was once an actor, but a sad memory affected him deeply, leading to his cheerful but shielded demeanor. Another rumor alleges he is secretly rich, going so far to say he owns LG Palace, the building found outside Hongik University Station exit 9 with a KFC on the main floor.
…For those of us who formed ― and erased ― many nights of memories with his drink, he remains a legendary figure worthy of song, a modern-day Candyman handing out cheap booze. And we don’t even know his name.
Read the whole Korea Times article here.