Pocha 32 is an authentic Korean pub right in Manhattan's Koreatown. It serves Korean beer, soju, soups, casseroles, and meat dishes.
Don't miss the famous watermelon soju!
Apologies for the low-quality photos. These were taken with a really bad camera phone.The atmosphere is like a roadside nigh food stand in Korea. The pub's name "Pocha" makes reference to this pojang macha. The decor is also very Korean style. To add to the authentic feeling, soju caps are strewn about on the green netting on the walls and ceiling.
Whenever my friends and I go, we obviously get the watermelon soju sour ($30). It is definitely unique for NYC. The cocktail is made of pureed watermelon, soju, and Sprite. It comes in a hollowed out watermelon. It is pretty weak and sweet, so if you wanted a more Korean-style drink, make sure to ask for an extra bottle of soju (about $13).
They also have makeolli (rice wine) and Korean, Japanese, and American beers, so it depends on what style of alcohol you want to order.
The food options are also very authentic and varied. There is a wide selection of soups and stews (vegetarian-friendly, but sadly, not vegan friendly) that range in price from $15-$18. There are also Korean casseroles (jungol) from $25-$35.
Some highlights include budae jungol (Korean army stew made with ramyun, Spam, hot dogs, dduk, and vegetables). This is worth a try if you've never had budae jjigae.
We always get the bulgogi beosut yachae jungol (beef, vegetable, and mushroom casserole). This is super filling and flavorful. I definitely recommend it!
We also typically go for the jeon (Korean pancake) menu ($15). This will be especially great if you are ordering makkeolli. We typically go for the kimchi pajun (kimchi and green onion pancake) or the gamja jun (potato pancake).
There is also a pretty large selection of warm/hot foods, fried foods, and Korean barbeque. I would recommend the jaeyuk dubu kimchi, spicy pork with tofu and kimchi.
Oh man, Pocha's menu is pretty exhaustive. I always forget! I always go for my go-to orders.
They also have a rice and noodles menu, which is probably good for a quick snack and probably not suitable for a meal like the casseroles. They also have ddukbokki, which, honestly, looks a lot better than most of the other Korean restaurants in the area.
They also have more Korean "anju- bar food" menu items. For more adventurous eaters, you can order bbundaegi, silk worm pupa, or the snails, but if you want to stay with a more "normal" bar food, you can get fries and mandu - dumplings.
The menu is a little more manageable if you have a friend that speaks Korean because sometimes the English menu descriptions are a little cryptic. Otherwise, just go in with an open mind!!
There will likely be a wait, especially if you go on a weekend. You have to go up and get your name on the list at the front desk, even if no one is there. Just write your name and phone number on the clipboard. They'll call you when your table is ready!
Location: 15 W 32nd Street, it's on the second floor, so look up! You have to go up a pretty narrow, but steep staircase, something to keep in mind.
34 Street-Herald Square Station (B, D, F, M, N, Q, R)