“MAEK JU BA DA FIRST opened in 2011 and we are nearly reaching our tenth anniversary. Back then, beer pubs around Sinchon just solddrinks over the counter, but we wanted to try something new—adding chairs and tables to the equation. At first, our friends and acquaintances tried to stop us, saying that our idea wasn’t so innovative. However, to this day, we have no regrets in starting this business, as many other shops are now following our footsteps. Nowadays we have many young customers who are informed about different types of beer and know how to appreciate the tastes—and we think that’s great.”
“We* are the owners of Maek ju ba da and if time allows, we want to continue giving service for 100 more years.”
“There was a couple that first met here and dated for seven years. Now they are married and have a son and a daughter. There are several couples who first met at our store and ultimately tied the knot, but that couple was the first of them all. Whenever they come visit, we feel proud to see that, as now grown-ups, they are always working hard and taking good care of their children. Developing these sorts of connections with our customers allows us to ask after and support each other, which is what we like about our job.”
“While working, our eyes are usually drawn to customers who look like they are going through a difficult time in life.One customer we specifically remember is a student who had failed his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. He came to the bar crestfallen, looking like a mess. When he came to us for advice, we realized that he was someone who had not had any experience of failure, so he had a much harder time getting over it. At that time, we suggested, ‘go to the military and clear your mind before re-taking the exam.’
He took our advice gladly and went to the military the following semester. He became thinner, but after spending a year there, he said he felt much better and was motivated to study again. He studied while in military and as soon as he was discharged, he went for the exam again. We were worried, but we knew he was well-prepared this time. In the end, he was able to pass both the first and second rounds. He was taken aback from his first experience of failure, but we were happy to watch him grow through his journey.”
“Having people come to our pub and tell us about their lives—getting a job, passing an exam, or getting married—makes us realize that our pub is not just a place to come drink beer; it is also a place where customers can share their stories with us.”
*Maek ju ba da is owned by a married couple; The interview was conducted with the couple, and the photo is only of the husband.