I like beer. A lot. So when our guides announced that they were taking us to a “local bar” after dinner one evening, we were pretty excited. While our hotel bar was more than adequate, we would rather stay in the city for a few more hours than be confined to our island hotel for the rest of the night.
To describe the Paradise Bar as a “local bar”, though, is a bit of a misrepresentation. A majority of the clientele were foreigners (NGO/embassy workers), followed by a handful of North Koreans lucky enough to have access to hard currency (prices were in euros). These patrons, who were likely high ranking bureaucrats, definitely weren’t representative of the typical Pyongyang resident.
Most of the patrons weren’t in the actual bar area, either. Instead, they had secluded themselves in small rooms where they could drink and converse with each other in private. Save for two North Koreans, our group of U.S. Imperialists had the entire bar area to ourselves.
The only locals were these two North Koreans
I ordered the fruit beer, and after 20 or so minutes (service was a bit slow), I finally had a half-liter of green liquid sitting in front of me. Despite its bizarre appearance, it was absolutely delicious. It tasted like kiwi, which surprised me because I never imagined that someone would brew kiwi beer. Everyone at my table ordered different beers so we could trade with each other and sample the microbrewery’s entire selection. All of them tasted excellent. Definitely the best beer in Pyongyang, if not the entire country. Watch out Belgium, these guys could be a contender if they ever get their act together.
Kiwi beer. A delicious half liter for 50 euro cents (around 70 cents US).
Some blueberry liquor that could “stun an elephant.” It was horrible.
Having visited the Paradise Bar & Microbrewery, I now hold the ultimate trump card in the beer snob wars. Whenever some dude starts bragging about some craft beer he had in Belgium or wherever, I’m going to say, “Oh yeah, dude, you should totally visit the Paradise Microbrewery and try a few of their beers. Pretty easy to get there, you just gotta hop a flight to Pyongyang.”