On a Saturday night in October, dozens of people were lined up outside the Waikiki Beach Pub in the narrow alley behind the Hamilton Hotel, in Itaewon, Seoul.
“We should have arrived before 8:30 p.m.," one said. "There are always lines around 8:30 p.m. these days during the weekend. I heard that we need to wait more than 30 minutes to enter."
It was not the only packed bar on Itaewon World Food Street, the center of Itaewon nightlife. Most bars along the street were full of partygoers singing and chatting away, while bar staff promoted their establishments outside.
It is hard to imagine that just a few steps away, 159 were killed and at least 196 were seriously injured in a crowd crush last year.