Hof is the Korean word for pub or bar, specifically a place to drink beer versus a place where one might down shots of soju/whiskey. It's probably one of the few loanwords to enter the Korean language from German, most being from Japanese or English. It's a seemingly odd word to borrow for pub as there is no actual "f" in Korean. The true Korean term is spelt more like "hopu". But when you're dealing with beer, all roads lead to Germany.

The first major Korean beer manufacturer was Oriental Brewery or "OB". It learned the art of brewing from the German beer maker Loewenbrau. Beer pubs borrowed from the German term "Gasthof", shortening it to just "hof".

Domestic beer in a hof is generally quite cheap in Korea, running $2-$3 a bottle. However, custom dictates in a Korean hof that you should order food. This is somewhat reminiscent of old school puritanical British and Canadian liquor handling acts that required food to be on a table at all times if alcohol was being served. Hence, the "rubber" cheese sandwich which was parodied in Infocom version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

In Korea, however, there is no cheese sandwich. You're generally compelled to buy a $20 plate of nachos or cuttlefish. On the up side, there is no tipping. Leaving a tip might cause your wait person to come running out of the hof with money in hand informing you you carelessly left 10 or 20,000 won on the table. This causes more than one ex-pat consternation as not tipping your pub's bartender or waiter is akin to going to the john and not washing your hands. You're left with an unclean feeling for long after the experience. Ex-pats have come to hone their "tip and dash" skills, where you don't leave until you've a) settled your bill and b) your wait person has gone on a bathroom break. At that moment, you slam down a 20,000 won tip and make a run for the door, hoping to be long gone before employees notice you've "forgotten" a couple bills.

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