Itaewon, the Trendy Place to Unwind on Fridays

Where is the hottest spot for young people in Seoul to let their hair down at the end of the week?

KB Kookmin Card analyzed the spending habits of 4.2 million of its travel card users on Friday evenings between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. in February and March of this year.

Itaewon subway station was the most frequented stop. On Friday evenings, 10,883 of its travel card users disembarked there, a 2.4-fold increase from other weekday periods.

Itaewon is especially popular among young women. The number of those in their 20s and 30s who got off at the subway stop during this four-hour period on Friday was found to be 2.8 and 2.6 times higher than on other weekdays.

For men in the same age brackets, the number was 2.5 and 2.4 times higher.

That one-third of those in their 20s arrived after 9 p.m. on Friday shows how Itaewon has become a top spot to enjoy a second round of drinks after dinner.

One of the main attractions of the area is the recent explosion of unique bars and eateries there.

Park Jeong-lim is one of a number of single 30-somethings who has grown tired of partying in the student-friendly Hongik University area. She now prefers spending her Friday nights at more sophisticated haunts in cosmopolitan Itaewon.

"The Itaewon area has begun offering an ever-more eclectic mixture of unique restaurants and bars in recent years, making it the place to go on a Friday night," said Choi Chang-ryong at KB Kookmin Card.

"I used to go to the Hongik University area, but now it's too crowded on Friday nights so it's hard to relax there," Park said. "Nowadays I often go to Itaewon for its unique atmosphere and food."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 13, 2014 08:20 KST