The Jeju Aroma Superdome Nightclub, Jeju, South Korea
The Jeju Aroma Superdome Nightclub
Story and photos by Sara Stillman
The Jeju Aroma Super Dome Nightclub (which opened in Dec 2007) is perhaps the flashiest nightclub on Jeju. When you first enter it may seem a lot like other Korean nightclubs: there is a large low-lit area with tables (that seat about 1200 people), pumping music, and a lot of staff. It has 4 floors (with 100 small rooms and 10 large rooms) and a good-sized dance floor up by the stage. But that’s where the major similarities end. The design of the interior is impressive to say the least. Behind the main stage are high folding metal walls that look like they belong to the Dome in Zion in The Matrix. They have bright lasers shooting from the stage, a large fountain, and a smaller stage that lowers DJs and bands from the ceiling. And then there’s the Super Dome itself.
According to the Dome Nightclub, the Super Dome is made from NASA technology that until just recently had two panels. They claim it is the first dome using new technology that allows for 8 plates and is bigger then any other one of its kind in the world: costing 6,000,000,000 won to build. The Dome Nightclub is applying to the Guinness Book of World Records for the first dome of its kind. The plates open from the centre outwards and then raise up. It may sound pretty simple– but experience it and it truly feels like you are in a space ship that’s opening its roof to the galaxy. The lasers light it up in a kaleidoscope of colours to a Star Wars theme song while the panels slowly spread apart revealing the night sky. And if that isn’t enough, romantic music plays afterwards while manufactured snow falls from above on thrilled spectators- perhaps decreasing your chances of going home alone.
The Dome Nightclub opens at 7 pm and a myriad of performances run from 7:30 pm and continue through 4:45 am. The night typically begins with a DJ, then a band at 8 pm, and the first gag show at 10:00 pm. These acts rotate and keep the club pumping and the guests entertained until they see the roof of the dome open up at 10:30 pm and 1:30 am. (In the summer there will be three chances to see the dome open). Shows are different every day of the week and then rotate for a month. Performers are brought in from the mainland on 3-month contracts. Men and women alike may appreciate the “Sexy Dance” competition currently being hosted by the Dome on Saturday nights. For the past month, they’ve been giving away a motorbike every week to the best dancer. The owner of the Dome explains the enthusiastic response to the competition is due to the changing minds of young people who have been influenced by Western culture. So a lot of people are volunteering to get up on stage.
Go to the Dome with a group of four and it’s actually quite a reasonable night out- assuming you’re not just out to drink. You’ll pay 49,000 won altogether and that includes 3 bottles of beer and a nice plate of fruit. For more than 4 people, you’ll have to pay for at least two tables. As for the reserved rooms, you’re looking at spending 220,000 won for a room that fits ten people. This includes a bottle of whiskey and fruit. They also have 10 large rooms for parties up to 80 people.
A note on booking: If you’ve frequented other nightclubs in Korea then you’ve most likely encountered booking. It is a service where nightclub staff introduces single men and women to each other. So if you’re feeling adventurous, you can ask the staff to hook you up- which basically entails being led to a private room, exchanging “hellos” and names, and perhaps sharing a drink. At any time (usually after a brief introduction) you can politely excuse yourself and go back to the dance floor. Be prepared to get a lot of attention if you go out with a group of single women: staff members will try to book you but if you’re not interested be firm.
The website is worth checking out even if you don’t understand Korean. But beware. There are video spoilers of the dome opening up that simply don’t do justice to the experience itself. The web address is: http://jejudom.com/
Directions: Ask a cab driver and they will most likely know where “The Dome” in downtown Sin Jeju is. However, if you have any trouble finding it, go to the Milano Crown Hotel.