They do say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and in that vein, let’s presumptuously assume with absolutely no substantiation whatsoever, that YPT’s very own DMZ bar is the foundation upon which every other DMZ themed-thing rests. Fact*.
*Possibly not a fact.
DMZ bar, opened in the legendary summer of 2013, serves not only as a YPT outpost in Southern China, but also as a kick-ass foreigner bar in Guangxi’s famous party town, Yangshuo, where revellers come every year to meet backpackers, tourists and expats alike.
As it’s not every day that you find a North Korean themed bar, or as a matter of fact a DMZ themed one, we thought we’d take the liberty to walk you through all of the other ones so that you don’t have to.
Without further ado, here is a rundown of all of the other DMZ themed bars that the interweb has to offer:
One of the more celebrated DMZ bars in our comprehensive search is DMZ bar Hue, Vietnam, with an impressive 1946 reviews on TripAdvisor ranging from the generally positive, to the abject stinkers. Many laud Hue’s DMZ bar to be cheap on booze and just generally a hip-hop-party-place befitting of the DMZ handle, and even boasts an actual DMZ replica on the ceiling. However, this DMZ bar is not actually named after the North/South Korean DMZ on the 38th parallel, but after the dividing line between North and South Vietnam as a result of the First Indochina War. So there you go.
Now we have the inconspicuously located DMZ café in Illinois, USA. As this is a Korean eatery, one can only assume that the DMZ to which they have devoted their moniker is in fact the North/South Korean one. However, on inspection of their rather spartan Yelp page (“yelp” indeed), one can find exactly zero vestiges of North Korean fare, only ambiguously Korean dishes featuring what looks suspiciously like mashed potato and, as one Yelp user writes “they have been playing EDM and top 40’s every weekend!” So, perhaps more North Carolina than North Korea. However, they do have sharing jugs of soju, so I guess you win some, you lose some.
Angeles City, Philippines
The writing of this article lead me through time and space to a strange portal where electronic ashes of The DMZ bar, Angeles remain. I highly recommend checking out the extremely bleak featured images in the otherwise non-existent website. Being an old American air base in the Philippines, famed for its excess and debauchery, this is perhaps the least surprising location of any DMZ brand discovered. However, after opening in the 80s, it unfortunately served its last Tanduay Ice in 2008.
Not quite another DMZ theme, but it seems fitting to mention another North Korean bar has opened recently in Spain. Founder Alejandro Cao de Benos, who is also president of the Korean Friendship Association which has delegates in more than 30 countries and is officially recognised by Pyongyang, is actually quite an attraction himself. And yes, for North Korea nuts, it is the guy from documentary The Propaganda Game.
With all that being said, it’s fair to say that Yangshuo’s DMZ, the original and the best, remains to be the only place in the world where you can sip an authentic North Korean beer, listen to stories of people who have made it to the Hermit Kingdom, and maybe even buy a tour to the country (with a 5% discount, of course).
For those living in China or anywhere in Asia, make sure you swing down to Yangshuo’s very own DMZ bar! Amazing drink deals, late parties, banging music (no EDM, we promise) and of course excellent company – guaranteed.
The DMZ Bar is also regularly hiring.
Click here for more information on how to work in one of the world’s only North-Korean themed bars.