When teaching English in South Korea, you will undoubtedly experience the Korean tradition of going out eating with a group of friends which almost always includes a bit of alcohol. Usually, for late night get togethers afterwork, natives visit a Hof which includes week days. Hofs are spots that you have casual drinking usually with a few or big group of friends and enjoy a few dishes of food. It allows for mingling with the natives, but that is up to you to initiate the conversation. It's definitely a different environment than being in the bar, it's the adult's playground with food and drinks.
My recent discovery is the Garten Bier, a Hof chain in Korea that is a spot for casual drinking with friends. I am absolutely in love with this place for a number of reasons. For starters, each table has its own mini fridge that helps to keep your drink cool so you never have to worry about a watered down drink or your beer getting warm. It is probably one of the best ideas ever for any restaurant or bar (they should definitely bring this idea over to America).
In addition to the mini fridge, I am in love with their unique beer glasses which almost no one orders, but it was a must for a first timer. The photo above shows a 1100 cc glass of beer which is the largest and prettiest size that Garten Bier carries. I'll be quite honest, it is a bit difficult to drink out of the bubbly shape, but it sure is a great experience. Restaurants will provide you with a smaller glass to "pour" the beer out because it can be qiute a challenge to drink out of the glass, but what's the point of pouring into a glass when you've just ordered yoruself a once in a lifetime experience.
In addition to the cute glass, their pitchers of beer are served a bit classier than any other Hof I have been to which is with a glowing light that centers your beer. Yes, it does take away a bit from the amount that you are receiving, but I absolutely love the unique concept behind the theme. I definitely think it's worth the attraction to lose a few drops of beer. Plus, the price you pay for beer is still cheaper than those back at home and even at the bar!
Aside from beer and alcohol, you must order foods at most Hofs. The only dish that I have tried at Garten Bier is their chicken pizza which was not bad at all for a homemade pizza. Do not expect a pan pizza like back in the states because it is a thin flat bread that is topped with cheese, vegetables and meat, served to you on a flat board. I do hear the salad is pretty good, but I have yet to try it. There's just something about drinking beer and eating a salad that bugs me. There will be updates again about Garten Bier because I am in love with the place and design that I will return!
Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer!