Consumer Reports Discrimination

Fiesta Pub bans foreigners for being promiscuous

Photo credit: Naver blogger superexam
Lee Tae-hoon
Written by Lee Tae-hoon

Fiesta pub, near Korea University in Anam, Seoul, has been denying entry to foreigners for three years due to promiscuous and irresponsible behavior, the bar owner said.

“We no longer accept foreigners because we had many issues with them. I had many bad experiences three years ago when I ran this place almost like a ‘foreigner only’ bar,” the owner Baek said.

“I even had to pick up used condoms while cleaning the bathroom. Our bar is not a motel. Sometimes we could hear customers moaning in the bathroom.”

Baek said he found a condom in the bathroom twice.

He stressed he could not tolerate the lewd behavior of foreigners anymore and that he was very upset with a female customer who took a shower in the bathroom after sex and some male customers who would sexually molest intoxicated female customers.

An expat recently visited Fiesta but was denied service even though the bar was empty.

“I went there with some Korean and other foreign friends and it was empty, so I asked if they were already doing business, but the manager just told me that they did not allow foreigners,” aldekorea wrote on a consumer report forum of the Korea Observer.

“I told him that that was illegal (although maybe it is not), but he only told me, sorry, no foreigners.”

In this regard, Baek made an apology for the inconvenience and acknowledged that this would go against the National Human Rights Commission Act, which supposedly prohibits racial discrimination.

He also added that he has no choice but to continue the “no-foreigner” policy even when the shop is empty and when foreigner customers are accompanied by Korean nationals because he doesn’t want to suffer the “nightmare” again.

“Foreign customers don’t make trouble when only several of them are present. But when dozens of foreigners come together, they cross the line,” he said, noting that if he allows one foreign customer, more foreigners will attempt to enter his establishment.

“They are too mischievous and turn the bar into a mess.”

Baek argued that he also had to deal with brawls and thefts involving foreigners and some other bar owners in Anam have also banned entry to foreigners due to similar reasons.

He noted that he hasn’t seen any noticeable changes in revenue after banning foreigners.

Hwang Pil-kyu, a human rights lawyer at Gonggam, claims that business owners should not be allowed to discriminate against foreigners even if the “Korean-only” policy would be more ideal in maximizing profits.

“Should we allow business owners discriminate against the elderly because they occupy seats for too long and negatively affect the business?” he asked.

Michael Hurt, assistant professor at Busan University of Foreign Studies, points out that Korea should introduce an anti-discrimination law with a strong punishment for offenders.

“If Korea cared about international reputation and doing the right thing, then they should put into place an anti-discrimination law which has been proposed but never made it into the books that carry an actual penalty,” he said.

The National Human Rights Commission Act states that people should not be discriminated based on race and nationality, but it doesn’t prescribe punishment for offenders.

The complaint was originally posted on

About the author

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon is publisher at The Korea Observer. He previously worked for the Korea Times and Arirang TV. You can reach him at

  • Joëlle JP

    the things listed by that bar owner….it’s things that commonly happen in most bars in USA and prolly same in Europe and other places, too. It is a great list of behaviors to do anywhere besides bars? Prolly not. I know these are prolly not common things to happen or caused by Koreans in Korea in the bar scene. If bar owners and other establishments don’t wish for certain behaviors to occur, they can create affliations or organize themselves into a kind of entity to ask for certain laws or policies put in place that would discourage certain behaviors, which foreigners are quite accustomed to, such as if caught having sex in the bathroom, they are fined 500,000won in potential estate damages and reputation of the establishment. Or ppl make deposits or have to pay a fee to get in to cover possible theft and add in security for the establishment. If anyone causes disturbances, such as fights or something at the establishment, they could be fined 800,000won or something. there are many ways to deter certain unwanted behaviors in establishments. I only say this b/c I know we foreigners are in a completely different country. Other countries are the same, they operate differently and tolerate different things, such as Amsterdam allows marajuana to be sold and bought where as most places in USA, this can’t happen. California assigned certain areas and greatly limited in where people can smoke outdoors and indoors, in and next to or nearby establishments, however this hasn’t been done in most other states in USA. Korea, don’t worry, you have options!

  • Kyrei

    If they want a no-foreigners policy then I am fine with that. If their establishment has had no monetary effects since the ban, then that is also telling. “Management reserves the right to serve whom they please”.

  • JaySee

    I know the person who reported this bar. I also know a foreigner who frequented this bar and is friendly with the owner. As such, he/she is still allowed entry. What people need to understand is that Korea University has a large influx of foreign exchange students. Many of these students do not know Korean cultural standards and have never handled alcohol before. They do cause problems and aren’t shamed by Korean society like the young Koreans getting drunk out of their minds. Unfortunately, this bar owner hasn’t thought that deep into his problem. One solution might be to ban foreign exchange students and checking IDs, but this would probably be very burdensome. Besides that, he should have every right to discriminate against whomever he wishes into his establishment, be it foreigners or as the example in the article, elderly who occupy seats for too long. Someone else will open an establishment to accommodate them. There are plenty of foreigner friendly bars in Anam.

    • Matthew

      “Besides that, he should have every right to discriminate against whomever he wishes into his establishment, be it foreigners or as the example in the article, elderly who occupy seats for too long.”

      Per the UN (you know, which South Korea is a part of) document entitled ”

      International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

      Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965
      entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19″

      Article 21. States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and, to this end: (a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation;

      (b) Each State Party undertakes not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations;

      (c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;

      See part (c) there. Amend laws. The Free market defense doesn’t really work. Unless of course, South Korea doesn’t want to be part of the UN.

      Which is it?

      • JaySee

        Reason and common sense trump poorly thought out laws from stupid bureaucrats. Racism is a false concept that is only perpetuated by laws that acknowledge it. There is only 1 race: human. If you go by the true definition of race, there is no discrimination by race.

        People discriminate. They have varieties of ways to do it, and they have every right to no matter what any government says. You can make a law that says all humans cannot discriminate against each other by the color of another’s skin or facial features, but some will do it anyway, especially when choosing a mate. It may have nothing to do with so-called racism, just personal aesthetic preference, but a silly law can’t tell the difference.

        This particular discrimination isn’t even about race. It’s about nationality and ethnicity. To go by the broken idea of racism, all people with light skin and almond-shaped eyes would be allowed entry. That most certainly isn’t the case for “no foreigners.”

        • Matthew

          got it. Well then I suppose the UNITED NATIONS command post, under UN security council isn’t needed then, if laws are just silly.

          I go back to my original question. Does Korea want to be part of the UN or not? If so, follow the rules.

          For the record, the US doesn’t follow the rules either, but they should. They ignore things the UN does. But that’s just a silly strawman. The issue here is the ROK.

          So very simple question–if the ROK wants to be part of the UN, then why does it feel it can ignore certain laws that are as, you put “silly”

        • aldekorea

          Well, that kind of discrimination is against race, I am sure that if I would have been a Chinese, Japanese or Asian American spoken Korean as I did I would not have been banned.

          • JaySee

            You can’t be sure, that’s just your guess. My white friend is allowed in that bar any time he wants.

    • Matthew

      Let’s also not forget Article 5

      Section (f)

      (f) The right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks.

    • pat

      Or you just throw people out if they behave badly… instead of trying to profile and stereotype people.

  • JimmyRustles

    Well this is pretty funny. Yet i have no witty comment or remark regarding this article. So i will leave this. Good for him. He should be allowed to ban groups of people who give him, what be believes to be, the hardest problem.

  • NAD

    It’s the classic S Korea issue – they want to take Western culture but without the Western people. They’ll steal photos of Western models to advertise their business, they’ll make trends out of tacos and churros, they’ll have surgery to have Western eyes. But deep down, don’t want Western people in their bars. Well done.

    • Brendon Carr

      Dropping used rubbers in the bathroom is Western culture?

      • pat

        pretty much

  • H K

    Foreigners always act like white trash everywhere and expect no consequences. If there are they start crying. Pathetic.

    • Jarl Borg

      fucking ugly koreans

      • H K

        It’s called Ugly American = Ugly white trash guys.

  • Kobe

    I am a caucasian looking foreigner and I have no problem with those kind of policies. First of all, you can only blame it on the foreigners who would not behave. Secondly, you’re in South Korea. South Korean rules apply.

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