The recently concluded K-drama “Mystic Pop-Up Bar” is one of this year’s most enjoyable series! Though it shared similarities with other dramas, such as “Hotel Del Luna,” it soon puts other dramas from your mind as it offers its own brand of fun and magic to please viewers. The series gives hilarious and sometimes heart-warming new stories each week for the side characters while still following the drama’s main plot of unrequited love and missed opportunities for our main characters.
The stories each week center around three great characters. The ill-tempered owner of the bar is Wol Joo, played wonderfully by Hwang Jung Eum. This is truly one of her best roles ever, and she plays it perfectly! Wol Joo has been paying penance for 500 years and is trying to settle the grudges of 100,000 restless souls in order to be free of her earthly body! Over the course of 500 years, she has seen and heard it all of course! Wol Joo is short-tempered and demanding, yet equally tender and kind. Chief Gwi is her faithful helper and sidekick who uses his skill as an after life detective to help her settle the grudges of the restless spirits. Gwi is played by Choi Won Young who displays patience and understanding as he is the usual brunt of Wol Joo’s temper tantrums and harsh criticism. The scene is set to perfection by their part-time worker, Han Kang Bae, played adorably by Yook Sung Jae (also in one of his best roles ever). Han is cursed by the ability to hear everyone’s deepest thoughts and problems by just a single touch and is desperate to escape this burden. Helping Wol Joo achieve her goal will let him finally become free from this psychic ability. Working together, this trio enters the dreams of people looking for help and resolves their problems. And so, the fun begins…
The drama is a wonderful blend of love and the heartbreaks that come with it. It is the story of love that comes true and love that is also lost. It is the story of sweet friendship and loyalty. Above all, it is the story of learning from the mistakes and trials of your life in order to be a better person and to never give up! The sweet and funny series reminds us that everyone has their own personal struggles, pain, and heartaches that make them the person they become. It tells us that we are all on the same path of life, struggling to find happiness and joy amidst the disappointments.
The dream sequences in the episodes take us to dark and troubled places in the deepest part of our lives. Secrets are revealed that have been carried for a lifetime and Wol Joo helps the restless souls find peace and move on to the afterlife with their affairs in order. Chief Gwi works to keep Wol Joo within the bounds of her duties and stop short of revenge (which she is often tempted to do when faced with the causes of the heavy cares of the wandering spirits). Han Kang Bae goes along for the ride in utter amazement to this unknown world he finds with his new friends.
The supporting cast is made up of some great characters that add new twists to each story. You will spot some of your favorites actors in completely new characters in this fun adventure.
The costumes for Ms. Hwang are some of the best in recent dramas. They are a mix of old world and new in vibrant and rich colors that fit her character perfectly. Her clothes added so much to her character and the effort spent putting her looks together were not lost on this viewer for the wonderful part they added to the drama. Job well done to the stylists and costume designers on this drama!
Though the drama is predictable at times, it still pulls you in each week with the downright hilarious hijinks of our three loving stars and their wonderful friends and sidekicks. In addition, the sweet stories and thought-provoking moments of the drama are enough to also give needed depth to the drama as well. Although ghosts, reincarnation, fated love, wandering spirits, curses, and more have all been topics of dramas time after time, “Mystic Pop-Up Bar” deals with it all in such refreshing and funny ways that it never loses the attention of the viewers. Some scenes (such as the annual lottery play offs for the deceased) even go so far as to make fun of the tired topics of such dramas! Instead of the same old scene of a ghost appearing in a loved one’s dream with good news, we see the ghosts battling it out in an annual competition in heaven where the winner of the outrageous field day gets the winning lottery numbers and the chance to appear in a dream. The imagination it took to write such a hilarious scene was impressive!
Overall, the drama was such a pleasant watch. It was well-acted and well-written. It wasn’t particularly deep and it was somewhat predictable, but none of those things mattered. For a short, twelve-episode drama, it hit all the right spots. You had tears, laughter, adventure, action, romance, and much more. With the added bonus of such a great, veteran cast, it was impossible to go wrong!
As you watch it and find yourself nearing the end of the series, you’ll find yourself asking some questions. Will Wol Joo find peace? Will she find the answers to the questions that have haunted her forever? Will Chief Gwi tell people the reason for his own 500 year journey? Will the adorable Kang Bae find his own happiness and love?
Find out for yourself by watching this well-written and well-paced drama!
Did you watch “Mystic Pop-Up Bar”? What did you think of this drama? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1!
DramaElf is a dedicated lover of K-dramas. Not a night goes by without finding her in front of her Kindle, eagerly watching the newest drama. She is a particular fan of Gong Hyo Jin and Shin Min Ah. Although dramas are her biggest fascination, she is also a fan of K-pop and particularly loves Super Junior and SISTAR. Despite being a mom of two and grams of three, she can still fangirl with the best of them when it comes to her ultimate bias Leeteuk.