When I first started Young Pioneer Tours back in 2008 the main aim was to provide budget tours to North Korea. But we may have also had beer on the mind – not gonna lie!
One of the first conversations I had when I first started arranging travel to North Korea was if we could get ourselves involved with the ongoing microbrewery scene of North Korea.
North Korea actually has a huge microbrewery scene, maybe because of the sanctions. In general not only do they brew their own beer, but it tends to be of a very high standard.
My actual first instance of sampling the microbrewery scene in North Korea was at the legendary East-German-style bar at Sinuiju Train Station, and from there the interest snowballed.
The Rakwon Beer Bar is located next to the Rakwon Department store – one of the first major foreign-currency department stores in North Korea. At the Rakwon Department Store one can buy any kind of consumer goods from abroad.
The bar itself is quite the Pyongyang attraction. Whilst it is expensive by Pyongyang standards, for Western guests paying 50 cents US for a beer is hardly breaking the bank.
In Rakwon Beer Bar they offer a number of different flavors including a stout – my personal favorite when I visit. They also serve ‘beer fish’, a uniquely North Korean snack, that – you guessed it – is served with beer! Oh and wasabi – very good wasabi.
Again whilst Rakwon Beer bar does not feature in every itinerary that Young Pioneer Tours offers, it certainly is available on a fair few. Luckily we are now offering a football and beer tour (very us) that has at least one good evening here.
Oh and before anyone goes millennial tweet-fest: please drink responsibly in North Korea!
And there you have it, the answer to that age-old question: can you drink in North Korea?
Yes. Yes, you can.