Prince Hof - Broadway and 75th in Jackson Heights (follow the signs for the Q33 bus to Laguardia Airport and you'll find it) - it's across the street from a large Chinese supermarket (Pacific somthing...)
I had posted last week about info on the Prince Hof in Jackson Heights and a number of people had expressed some interest in this (and just what a Hof was in general).
First off - the Korean language seems to have a bit of trouble with words for things such as gardens, parks, etc. - hence the use of the german word hof. Hence, a Korean Hof is essentially a German beer hall (much in the same sense that Zum Schneider in Alphabet City is a beer garden).
I was actually surprised by this place, being frequented almost solely by early-20 something Korean kids having quiet conversations. The music ranged from 80's dance classics to current K-Pop staples. The place was quite dimly lit with a latticeboard woven with fake ivy as the ceiling. (it sounds cheesy, but it worked).
Anyways - the first thing we noticed is that they serve pitchers of beer the same way I saw them served in Busan and Daegu, South Korea, this past summer - in a large plastic pitcher with dry ice in it to keep it cold. To top it off, the pitchers contained LEDs that illuminated the beer, changing colors every 15 seconds or so. This would've been great, except the only beer on tap is Budweiser. Korean beers such as OB Lager, Cass, and Hite are available by the bottle.
The main thing you'll want to drink here, though, is the flavored sojus. Soju is a Korean vodka-like drink of about 23% alcohol and distilled from a number of things (grains, sweet potatoes, etc.). Good soju, at least in my opinion, is really smooth and has a nice taste to it. (For home experimenters - I recommend buying a bottle of Green soju - brand not color - and cutting up half a cucumber and letting it steep in the bottle for a couple of days before drinking). Anyways, here they offered a couple of varieties - the most prevalent being Jinro. Also available were the flavored sojus, including lemon and apple. The lemon one was fantastic, reminiscent of the great British carbonated lemonades like R. H. Whites, but with a heft alcoholic kick. These cost around $18 a decanter, which appeared to be around 600-750mL.
They also had an extensive menu, thought it is entirely written in hangeul. Some of our neighbors had some interesting looking dishes, one which appeared to be a milky stew with pork, another a wonderful looking fruit bowl with half a pineapple and some melon-like fruit on it. In Korea, eating and drinking go hand in hand, and if we hadn't just come from the Jackson Diner, we would've figured out something to order. Only thing I recognized on the menu was mandoo guk, which is a dumpling soup.
The staff was very nice, though only one of six spoke any English. A 'kamsa hamnida' - a polite thank you - here and there will get you far - I don't think this place gets too many non-Koreans.
We also tried a sojubang called, of all things, Sojoobong, further down Roosevelt, across from Chonghap Market (good place to pick up Chilsung cider and a Korean ginseng-rose water soap). Bottles of soju were $15 and we weren't made to feel too welcome. It's equal parts bar and 'hostess-bar' - where for a nominal fee you can have a woman sing karaoke for you and feed you popcorn. I'd avoid this place and, as no-one spoke English, it'll be pretty easy to do. But they did like our rendition of Hey Jude. (There's a true blooded noraebang across the street, so if you feel like karaoke - go there.)
Eventually I'll make my way out to some of them on Northern Blvd. in the 160s/170s that I heard about here, but for now, the Prince Hof will be a decent standard.