Mystic Pop-Up Bar Korean Drama Review

Mystic Pop-Up Bar is about a prickly woman (Hwang Jung Eum) who runs a mysterious bar along with a chef (Choi Won Young) and a part time worker (Yook Sung Chae). The trio help people with their problems by going into their dreams.

Hwang Jung Eum plays Wol Joo. She is a mysterious woman with a tragic past that runs the Mystic Pop-Up Bar. As a punishment from the heavens, she’s been tasked with helping people. She’s on a time limit though, and things are getting down to the wire for her to meet her quota.

Yook Sung Jae is Han Kang Bae. He’s a warmhearted and awkward man with a supernatural ability that has caused him a lot of trouble in life and resulted in him being quite lonely. Things begin to change for him though when he meets Wol Joo and begins to help her.

Then we have Choi Won Young as Manager Gwi. He’s a quirky man with a fun personality that runs the bar with Wol Joo and helps her on her mission. He rounds out our trio quite nicely.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a drama from one of my favorite actresses, Hwang Jung Eum, so I was more than excited to check out Mystic Pop-Up Bar. Overall, the drama was very solid with lots of positive qualities.

Literally, the only real negative for me was completely related to personal preference in that the series was on the episodic side with Wol Joo running the mysterious pop-up bar and helping different people with their problems each episode. It always makes it a little bit harder for me to get fully invested into episodic shows.

Though that’s not my favorite set-up, everything in the drama works really well. It has a very fun vibe that always keeps things entertaining. We also had a wonderful trio in the starring roles consisting of Hwang Jung Eum, Yook Sung Jae, and Choi Won Young.

They have a great banter between them that was lots of fun. They get into some very interesting and wacky situations that bring lots of humor. Expect lots of fun when these three are on screen together as well as wonderful performances all around.

If you like supernatural stories, Mystic Pop-Up Bar creates an entertaining world involving the afterlife, ghosts, and lots of other fun stuff. It’s mostly on the lighter side, but that worked completely well with this show.

You may notice some similarities in the core plot to the drama Hotel Del Luna with its prickly woman sentenced to a long life of helping others with the help of a kindhearted man. The show has a different vibe though which is evident pretty quickly and then progresses in its own way.

Also, Mystic Pop-Up does what a more episodic show should do in that the individual stories of the people being helped were done very well. They were all packed with emotion, and they really tugged at my heartstrings.

Now, aside from the different stories, the drama does have a pretty good overarching story running in the background all the way through. That story is set up quite well in the beginning and then slowly builds throughout the drama.

We learn about Wol Joo and her past as well as her current journey. Her prickly exterior hides a whole lot of pain, and we watch her story of healing and resolution. It’s a satisfying journey to see. Plus, she’s actually quite fun with a big heart.

This was another great role for Hwang Jung Eum too. I’m one who always loves her, but this was a really great character for her. She gives a wonderful performance. Plus, she is gorgeous in this show and gets to wear tons of vibrant traditional costumes that just look fantastic on her.

The overarching story comes to the forefront in those last few episodes in a big way. Everything is pulled together very nicely, and we get a dramatic, impactful, and such a well done final stretch of the series. Kudos to the drama for staying solid all the way to the end!

If you don’t mind episodic dramas, Mystic Pop-Up Bar is a great watch. Even though it’s not my favorite style, I still quite enjoyed the series with its mix of humor, fun, and heart that was wrapped up in a quirky supernatural package. A good watch for sure.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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15 Responses to Mystic Pop-Up Bar Korean Drama Review

  1. Overall, I enjoyed Mystic Pop Up Bar. In fact its was one of those rare shows for that was much better in the second half than the first half!


    • Kay says:

      Glad you enjoyed it too πŸ™‚ Yes, it is one of those dramas that builds up nicely and gets better as it goes along. That’s always a feat to be celebrated! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. MyKDramaticLife says:

    So excited to see your review. I read it right away! I’m actually a fan of episodic stories of a series where they solve/tackle the stories and struggles of each guest characters. It always is a fun set-up for me. πŸ˜€

    Now here is my mini (but very long πŸ˜€) review:

    *Mystic Pop-Up Bar
    Mystic Pop-Up Bar tells the story of a magical outdoor pop-up restaurant that is run by a cursed 500-year-old ill-tempered woman who has the ability to resolve the grudges of people by visiting into their dream through a mysterious drink. Together with a former Afterlife Police Chief, Chief Gwi, and a part-timer named Han Kang Bae who has the ability to make people confess the truth to him by making a physical contact to them, they entertained and resolved people’s grudges and worries.
    And that was just an OTT (over the top) fantasy. There are ghosts, reincarnations, evil spirits, demons, Hell, etc. And I’m liking it very much! 😊
    Our very dynamic and lovely Hwang Jung Eum as the cursed Wol Ju is one amazing character. I loved Hwang Jung Eum for her always 100% performance. And her portrayal in here is a no exemption. And I also loved how she looks very fresh and new in her every drama role. Since Secret Love, She Was Pretty, Lucky Romance, to Mystic, she really never felt boring. (Except for The Undateables because I don’t like the story of that drama itself πŸ˜”) Two thumbs up for my lovely ‘Romcom queen’ for that remarkable act as Wol Ju! (but not in a romcom though πŸ˜‚)
    Then, we have Yook Sung Jae as Han Kang Bae. He’s an innocent and sweet young man who has the ability of making people confess their thoughts to him by touching them. His having that ability is nothing new and well-used in many variations these days in the Dramaland, but Yook Sung Jae’s delivery as Han Kang Bae made it fresh and original. It has the knack of making you also confess your love for him because of his purity. I vividly remembered that scene in a train – where Kang Bae dreamed of riding it – people pushed and pulled towards him due to a sudden train stop, but Kang Bae was smiling from ear to ear. Like an ordinary people – with no worries of making physical contacts with the other passengers. Such a very simple thought but very heartwrenching. So Han Kang Bae who is an orphan since kid, had found warmth and love from the people of Mystic Bar. For the first time in his life he acknowedged his ability as a gift, rather than a flaw.
    Then, we have Choi Won Young as Chief Gwi. While he’s also very helpful in the Mystic Pop-Up Bar’s dream-catching operations, I found him just okay. He’s also humourous and really clicked with Wol Ju and Kang Bae as a team.
    Though I found Mystic’s main concept as a bit similar to Hotel Del Luna, I still was able to see its own uniqueness. Its very over-the-top fantasy really worked so well on me. And it didn’t feel very overdramatic. I loved how Mystic kept in balance in all its aspects. There were funny humours, a bit of cute romance, an angsty melodrama too on the later part of the drama, and an inventive fantasy.
    There were also other characters that were consistently entertaining and interesting. There is Yeomradaewang, the God of the Underwold; Samsin, who is responsible for woman’s conceptions, and Jung Da Eun as Kang Yeo Rin, Han Kang Bae’s coworker, who had cute moments with Kang Bae, that I mostly enjoyed.
    I also liked how Mystic felt very inventive in its fantasies. I also really liked the ‘episodic’ stories (dream-catching / grudge-solving cases every episode). They were very fun and heartwarming.
    The plot development and the unexpected twists of the show really were into my liking. Though its fantasies might appear to be a little ridiculous, but yeah, I was just liking its ridiculousness.
    (SPOILER ALERT) While I bought the idea of that finalΓ©, with some little twists and shocking reveals in it, I just couldn’t suddenly connect with Chief Gwi as being the reincarnated Crown Prince, the man Wol Ju loved. I cannot so suddenly ship Wol Ju and Chief Gwi romantically. I was more used to them being just partners in the Pop-Up Bar operations and did not like seeing them get into romance on the last two episodes of it. I personally wanted it to just focus on the episodic dream-catching cases, and only tackle the love story of Wolju in minimalism. Hmm, the fact that I was not able to at least warm up to that Chief Gwi being the Crown Prince’s reincarnation possibly because it felt rush and a bit wrapped-up. (Because it only has 12 episodes) (SPOILER ENDS) It definitely needs more than just 12 episodes.
    Other than that, I sincerely enjoyed Mystic. Add to that the very funny main characters, and bits of other things I mostly liked in a drama, Mystic Pop-Up Bar was a very fun and heartwarming watch, with an unforgettable fantastic trio.

    Overall Rating: 8.5/10

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      Yay! So happy you were excited for the review as well as for the drama πŸ™‚

      It’s good that you enjoy episodic stories. I think more people do than don’t, so I’m in the minority on that one. But even though it’s not my favorite set-up, when done right, I still enjoy them, and that was the case with Mystic Pop-Up Bar.

      From your review, I can tell we actually had a pretty similar experience with the drama which is definitely a good thing. Great individual stories as well as a very nicely done overarching story with good devlopment and twists. All the actors were good, but Hwang Jung Eum in particular shined in this series.

      This show really nailed how a quirky supernatural show should be done with lots of fun, heart, and a bit of mystery πŸ™‚ It was a good ride!

      Liked by 1 person

      • MyKDramaticLife says:

        Yeah. I generally enjoyed the episodic setting of a series. 😊 I really like Hotel del Luna more though than you did. I’m always a sucker for both IU and Hwang Jung Eum’s dramas. πŸ˜€
        And btw, I am currently enjoying Jung Eum in her currently airing romcom drama, To All the Guys Who Loved Me. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Yes, I do recall you really liking Hotel del Luna. I did like it too though πŸ™‚ And of course, you know I’m also a fan of both Hwang Jung Eum and IU. I’ll definitely be checking out To All the Guys Who Loved Me! Hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  3. This is probably one of the few kdrama endings that I really love. ❀ I enjoy every bit of this drama 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate says:

    I’ve seen a few 12 episode dramas recently and I actually think it works in their favor. I’ve found so many dramas that have just so much story to tell but get drawn out unnecessarily to fill a 16-20 episode quota. At 12 eps the story telling is tight and well paced. That’s one of the things I loved about this drama, thought it moved at a great pace and told the story well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      The 12 eps do seem to work really well for the pacing of dramas (well, except for Meow, but let’s say that’s an exception, hehe). I agree, this drama paced it’s story well all the way through and felt like just the right length πŸ™‚


  5. Snow Flower says:

    Just finished this drama today. Even though I don’t like episodic shows very much, I thought the episodic cases and the big story arc were very well integrated. I loved the family dynamic between the main characters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      We’re the same in not really preferring episodic shows. But I too thought this one did quite well and blending the individual stories with the overarching one. And the drama was just fun with lots of heart and a wonderful trio of characters at the center πŸ™‚


  6. Pingback: Best Korean Dramas of 2020 | Kdrama Kisses

  7. A very enjoyable show. I am also not a fan of episodic dramas but the way the writers blended in humor and the skills of the cast made this show a worthwhile watch. A shout out to the female lead Hwang Jung-Eum.

    One of the negatives of episodic dramas is that since each episode is a story in and of itself there is not enough time given to any ongoing story such as romance. Thus in this show the romances take a back seat and don’t get enough screen time.

    Rating: 8/10

    There is no listing, that I could find, of any show that Hwang Jung-Eum was in after 2020. I wonder I what happened?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yeah, episodic dramas just have harder time pulling me in. Some people love them, but I tend to prefer the stronger overarching story. But this show still was really well done, and I did mostly enjoy each episode, plus the overarching story was still good. And of course, I love Hwang Jung Eum! She really was fantastic here πŸ™‚

      She did 2 dramas in 2020 then appeared to be dealing with some personal issues for some of 2021. She then got pregnant later in 2021 and had the baby earlier this year. So I’m hoping we might get to see her back sometime in 2023 after she’s had adequate time to rest and be with her family. I’ve missed her.

      Liked by 1 person

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