Cooks work inside the Junior Puffin bistro in downtown Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

Cooks work inside the Junior Puffin bistro in downtown Pyeongtaek, South Korea. (Franklin Fisher / S&S)

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — If you’re up for a clean, cozy bistro where you can drink with your friends and whisper sweet nothings to your date, you might find the Junior Puffin in downtown Pyeongtaek to your liking.

The sign outside the Junior Puffin calls it a “Pacific-Northwest Canadian Style Bistro.”

The interior is a tidy, relaxed space with polished dark brown table tops, wooden floors, beige upholstery, walls in light green with dark green trim, and wooden shelving that holds wine bottles, ceramics, knick-knacks and decorative glassware.

The Junior Puffin has no DJ, but the music coming over the house speakers is continual, contemporary — about what you’d hear on AFN Radio — and at the right volume, loud enough to listen to but not so you can’t also hear your friends.

The drink menu is ample: scotch, gin and tonic, vodka and tonic, bourbon and coke, Tequila Sunrise, Black Russian, margarita, Irish coffee, and yes, Sex On The Beach. Red and white wines also are served.

Beers? Sure. Hite, Cass, Budweiser, Cafri, Miller, Miller Lite, Heineken, Beck’s Dark, Corona and lager.

Soft drinks, fruit juices, coffees and an array of teas also are on the menu.

We gave the food a try, ordering barbecued chicken with rice, and found it was thoughtfully prepared and appetizingly arranged on the plate by the white-hatted cooking staff. The grilled chicken strips on rice were spiced with discretion for a taste that was distinctive without being overbearing. The dish was 10,500 Korean won, (about $11).

When we stopped in recently during a quiet afternoon lull, the customers were mostly young Korean couples in their 20s.

But if you don’t speak Korean, don’t worry. The menu was in Korean and English, the restroom sign was in English (and the men’s room bright and clean) and the cashier and waitress spoke basic English and were pleasant, polite and welcoming.

As always, if you drink, do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.

The Junior Puffin

Pyeongtaek, South Korea

Drinks: 5,000-6,000 won (about $5.30-$6.30). U.S. dollars accepted.

Food: Pizza, chicken wings, soups and salads, steak, chicken, seafood, rice dishes and pasta

Clientele: All are welcome.

Cover: None.

Dress: Casual.

Entertainment: Music.

Location: It’s about a five-minute walk from the Pyeongtaek Train Station, or a short cab ride from Camp Humphreys, just across from the Calson Hotel. From Osan Air Base by subway it’s about a 10-minute ride, from Songtan Station to Pyeongtaek Station. Call for more detailed directions.

Phone: (031) 658-9893

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.

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