‘M*A*S*H’: Rosie’s Bar Was Inspired By a Real Watering Hole in Korea

by Matthew Memrick
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“M*A*S*H” fans are often surprised to learn that there was a real Rosie’s Bar, and it came from an actual watering hole in Seoul, South Korea.

The 1970 film and the CBS series featured the bar near the 4077th unit in the area of Uijeongbu, South Korea.

It’s also shown in a diorama at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, Fla.

Korean War Big Business For Rosie’s Bar

US soldiers and other US troops often came to the watering hole. In a thriving district for local nightclubs during the Korean War, patrons found it just down an alley outside Camp Mosier.

When the war ended and troops left, the area reportedly went back to being mainly residential. However, when land development became challenging, the bar location could not be demolished.

However, according to M*A*S*H fan page, a new owner turned the building into several one-bedroom apartments. Notably, a Second Infantry Division Museum document revealed that the Rosie’s Bar owner moved to the United States after the local base closed.

M*A*S*H Watering Hole Had Similar Atmosphere

The nightclub district near Camp Mosier drew comparisons to Tongduchoen’s Toka-ri, near Camp Casey, or Itaewan’s Hooker Hill, near Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.

One M*A*S*H fan named Rick Deese commented on a Facebook page, saying that he had been to the bar in 1970-1971.

“I was in the army at Camp Red Cloud in Uijongbu for a year,” Deese said. “We used to go there after work and carried a bucket of ice to keep the beer iced down.” 

William Anderson was another service member who stopped by the club. He even got souvenir chopsticks from the owner in 1974. 

Richard Hocut, a US Air Force veteran, said he loved the M*A*S*H story, but the bar was not unique. 

“In all fairness, there has been a “Rosie’s Bar” in every war zone in every war in history,” Hocut said.

That may be true, but was it a lovable war drama that ran 11 seasons with an enormous viewer following?

A Feb. 26, 1979 episode titled “A Night At Rosie’s” featured the bar prominently.

When Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) decides to protest after two long days of surgery and no rest, he goes to the bar and decides not to leave with an AWOL sergeant (longtime actor Joshua Bryant) and B.J. Honeycutt (Mike Farrell). The plot then evolves into fellow surgeons and staff coming to the bar with Colonel Potter too. Just like that, there’s no war, and everyone’s enjoying life despite being in a stressful, overworked environment.

Eventually, the men create a new sovereign nation called “Rosieland.” But the group finally comes back to reality when a man is thrown through a glass window.

Outsider.com