Inquirer Super

What you should know about Yook Sung-jae and the cast of ‘Mystic Pop-up Bar’

By: Ruel S. De Vera

It’s the pocha (outdoor bar) you shouldn’t be able to just walk into, but somehow, Han Kang-bae (Yook Sung-jae) who is human, manages to do it. He thus meets Weul-ju (Hwang Jung-eum) who works at Ssanggap Pocha. Also shocked is the supervising chef, Chef Gui (Choi Won-young).

You see, Ssanggap Pocha exists the waking world and the dream world, helping people resolve their deepest grudges. Kang-bae winds up as a part timer there, helping Weul-ju who is stuck there because of her past sins until she manages to help 100,000 souls resolve their grudges. When they meet, she’s only 10 souls away from her goal—but she only has a month left! If she fails, she gets dragged to hell. Chef Gui has to watch over her. She needs Kang-bae, because he has the ability to make people confess their hidden problems when he touches them.

This is the premise of “Mystic Pop-up Bar,” the latest K-drama from JTBC and Netflix, based on the extremely popular webtoon “Twinbar” by Bae Hye-soo. It’ll be funny and romantic, inspiring and dramatic–if a little scary at times. Here’s what you need to know about the cast members:

Yook Sung-jae as Han Kang-bae

His time has truly come with “Mystic,” his most prominent lead role yet. Everyone knows that the 25-year-old Sung-jae is the leader of iconic boy band BtoB as a songwriter and vocalist, but also that he’s taken part in various music-related shows such as “Inkigayo.” He has a discography that is a kilometer long. Know too that he’s been seriously bitten by the acting bug, beginning with “Monstar,” followed by “Reply 1994” and then “Who Are You: School 2015,” where he also participated in the Original Soundtrack (makes sense, right?) His most famous appearance to date has been the winning part of spoiled chaebol heir and traditional assistant Yoo Deok-hwa in 2016’s “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God,” also known as “Goblin.” This role really cemented him as a bonafide K-drama presence. He’s displayed an interesting penchant for reality shows, everything from “We Got Married” to “Law of the Jungle.” A staple on “Master in the House,” also known as “All the Butlers,” he left the show earlier this year.  In July 2018, he visited the Philippines for his “Paradise 2018” fanmeet. He’s someone you want to root for, after all, he’s overcome a back injury, donates his time to charitable causes and is about to begin his mandatory military service. Now comes his first chance as a true lead as Kang-bae and we can’t wait.

Hwang Jung-eum as Weul-ju

She should be very familiar. One of the bankable stars of K-drama, the 35-year-old Jung-eum is none other than Kim “Jackson” Hye-jin in the charming 2015 workplace/makeover show “She Was Pretty.” Jung-eum had been a member of the girl group Sugar before turning solo and eventually became an actress. After an appearance on the reality show “We Got Mrried” (notably with her then-real-life boyfriend) and a role on the daily “High Kick Through the Roof,” she began acting regularly and appearing in advertisements. She has then played the lead in everything from 2011’s “Listen to My Heart” to 2018’s “The Undateables.” She’s actually appeared with Park Seo-jun twice, first in “Kill Me, Heal Me” and then in “She Was Pretty.”

Choi Won-young as Chef Gui

All you need to know about Won-young is that “Mystic” is already his 32nd K-drama, so he is that rakishly handsome guy whose face is suddenly super familiar. The 44-year-old has been in literally everything from “The Heirs/The Inheritors” to “Diary of a Nightwatchman.” He had really memorable turns as Tae-pyung in “The Gentlemen of the Wolgyesu Tailor Shop,” Ahn Ji in “Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth,” a cute cameo in “While You Were Sleeping,” and Hawng Chi-young in “Sky Castle.” Yes, he doesn’t play around and his role as Chef Gwi signifies he’s already moved up to the more senior roles as the chef who has to watch over Wol-joo, and now, Kang-bae as well.  

The supporting cast is full of experienced comedic actors in Lee Jun-heyok whom plays another chef as well as Kim Yong-gun (so many), Kim Mi-kyung (“Hi Bye, Mama!”) Yeomhye-ran (“Goblin”). Park Ha-na (“Apgujeong Midnight Sun”) brings the youth.

Watch the trailer here:

“Mystic Pop-up Bar” starts streaming on Netflix on May 20.

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