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Drinking age in South Korea

The legal drinking age in South Korea is 20. It may sound kind of weird, but it’s the same age as it is in Japan. In some Asian countries, the legal drinking age is 20. In most every country in the world, except for in the U.S., the legal drinking age is 18. In the U.S., it is 21. South Korea is somewhere near the middle at 20. The Korean numbering system is a little different though, because they count the year that you were in the womb. In reality, then, the legal drinking age is 19.

The legal drinking age really isn’t enforced strictly in South Korea. Underage drinking is usually prohibited more by bartenders that don’t want to serve young people than the laws getting enforced themselves. The legal drinking age for the U.S. military that are stationed there is 21. Nightclubs and bars are usually open from 6 PM to midnight during the day extended hours on Friday and Saturday. Like, for example, some open from 12 PM to the wee morning hours. In some parts of Seoul, and other big cities, some bars are open for 24 hours. Soju, South Korea’s famous vodka-like drink, and beer are served widely in convenience and grocery stores. Wine is usually served more in specialty shops. Classic Korean liquors, such as makgeolli, are usually found in most trendy bars and restaurants. Alcohol is sold in a lot of different places, like convenience supermarkets, stores, and department stores.

There aren’t open container laws in the country, so you might see a lot of people walking around and drinking beverages right out on the beach, drinking during picnics, or just strolling out of a bar and drinking. However, you still can’t drink and drive in South Korea at all, and there’s zero tolerance for it.

There are lots of high school students that just graduate there, and they go and get drunk, sometimes with teachers. It’s kind of a weird phenomenon there. However, it’s not so odd when you think that most of people around the world who are drinking are 18 years old, and they’re just out of high school. It’s just in America when you have to wait more than halfway through college to be able to drink legally. South Korea is a little more sensible than some other nations, but it still doesn’t go as far as to lower the age to 18, which is what it’s like in most European countries.

In South Korea, as well as China and Japan, you are considered to be 20 when you’re 19, because they count the one year that you’re in the womb. Enforcement of the legal drinking age Is variable, and you can often purchase alcohol at convenience and grocery stores with hardly a glance from anyone. However, in some of the areas where there are a lot beer halls and clubs because it’s around the university, then the laws are more strictly enforced, of course, as they should be.



1 Comment

  1. Helen says:

    is there a hagwon or acadamy for foreigners to learn the legal way to complain about rowdy noise from all night bars?


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