Word advance because of amusing media, says Kim Seong-geon, 27, the bar manager. “People began administration photos because of the different interiors.” (Express photo: Neha Banka)
SEOUL: It is not abnormal to acquisition North Korean aliment in Seoul. Several restaurants beyond the country serve assorted North Korean-style dishes. But Pyongyang Bar, a new restaurant and bar in the South Korean capital, has taken the acquaintance of North Korean dining one footfall further.
Located in the contemporary neighbourhood of Hongdae in Seoul, abounding with confined and restaurants on about every street, Pyongyang Bar, stands out not aloof because of its name. The ablaze lights of the bar’s blush and excellent blooming exoteric highlight the all-embracing North Korean advertising images and cartoon in Hangul, the Korean script. At the actual top of the bar are two images, one of US President Donald Trump and the added of Kim Kyung-jin, a Korean amateur of Kim Jong Un, in a nod to their affairs during mutual summits in 2018 and 2019 and US-DPRK relations. It is absurd not to be fatigued in, if alone out of curiosity. For abounding South Koreans and foreigners, this is the abutting they can get to acquaintance a little of North Korea.
Colourful advertising posters accept been bashed on the walls and a glass-enclosed area of the bar has a ambit of articles from North Korea on display, banned out of North Korea into China and accessible for acquirement in bound towns. Instrumental North Korean music plays central and waitresses are dressed in colourful acceptable hanbok as their uniform. Chat advance because of amusing media, says Kim Seong-geon, 27, the bar manager. “People began administration photos because of the different interiors.”
Jang Woo-kyung, 43, has been in the restaurant business for a decade. Prior to aperture Pyongyang Bar, he was active a Japanese pub in the aforementioned area for seven years. He had to abutting the pub bottomward afterwards adept tensions amid Japan and Korea soured consistent in anti-Japan sentiments and campaigns in South Korea. “After that attack my sales decreased by 50 per cent. I had no best added than alteration the bar. I was attractive for a new abstraction that cipher had approved before. I had a affair with an autogenous artist and he appropriate a North Korean-theme pub and I anticipation it would be fun and ability accompany aback sales,” Jang tells indianexpress.com.
The ablaze lights of the bar’s blush and excellent blooming exoteric highlight the all-embracing North Korean advertising images and cartoon in Hangul, the Korean script. (Express photo: Neha Banka)
Planning the interiors and added aspects of the bar’s affair complex months of analysis to get the attending that Jang wanted. “I did a lot of analysis through books, the internet, documentary films, YouTube and (through) affairs (with) North Korean defectors. There are some restaurants in South Korea run by North Korean defectors and I’ve abstruse recipes from them,” says Jang. The defectors, who now run their own restaurants in South Korea, he says, helped him set the card according to the preferences of South Koreans.
South Korea’s Civic Security Act is a law that penalises acclaim of North Korea or abutment of Kim Jong Un’s regime. A few weeks afore and afterwards the bar opened, bounded account letters and amusing media in South Korea were abuzz, debating whether the bar abandoned this civic law.
Jang says that was never the intention. “Before announcement Kim’s portraits (inside the bar), we arrested with the advocate who told us that it was not activity to be a problem, because that was not praising North Korea.” Jang says the antecedent account advantage of his enactment in bounded Korean columnist alluded that he was attempting to acclaim North Korea, giving acceleration to the altercation that followed. “I anticipate the account commodity fabricated bodies accept that my bar is North Korea-friendly and that I opened it to acclaim North Korea. I aloof acquaint Kim’s account for fun. I aloof appetite my barter feel like they are absolutely in Pyongyang. My keyword (during planning) was ‘realistic’,” says Jang.
The articles themselves are a alluring accumulating of accustomed items and aliment products—cigarettes, teas, chocolates, broiled fish, assorted North Korean liquors, beer, postcards and North Korean-style hanbok accessible for rental. (Express photo: Neha Banka)
This arguable law was acclimated by South Korea, decidedly aback the country was beneath the aggressive absolutism of President Park Chung-hee amid 1963-1979, to anticipate North Korean advertising and to arraign individuals doubtable of actuality spies, acts that were amiss by death. The law has fatigued criticism from animal rights watchers who say it could be acclimated to asphyxiate accepted criticism and chargeless speech, decidedly by political opponents and dissidents. According to bounded account letters and CNN, South Korean badge had advised the affair and absitively that the bar had not been actionable the law but the accommodation was not final.
The North Korean articles on affectation central the bar are not for auction because Jang is not acceptable to advertise them in South Korea. The articles themselves are a alluring accumulating of accustomed items and aliment products—cigarettes, teas, chocolates, broiled fish, assorted North Korean liquors, beer, postcards and North Korean-style hanbok accessible for rental. The bottles of liquor and beer are abandoned because bringing them into South Korea is not allowed, says Jang, answer how he sourced these articles from Dandong, a Sino-North Korean bound boondocks in China.
Colourful advertising posters accept been bashed on the walls and a glass-enclosed area of the bar has a ambit of articles from North Korea on display, banned out of North Korea into China and accessible for acquirement in bound towns. (Express photo: Neha Banka)
Jae Kim, 37, who works as an English abecedary in Seoul, was visiting for the additional time in one anniversary with her accompany because of the bar’s novelty. “Some added restaurants in Seoul accept North Korean aliment so it’s not unusual. But accept you anytime apparent a bar that is busy like it is in North Korea? No! In this way we get to accept a little bit of acquaintance because of the atmosphere and aliment etc.,” says Kim.
“Some bodies booty this absolutely actively while others think, oh, this is interesting,” she says of the criticism the bar has accustomed due to its theme. “I thought, they are aloof accomplishing it for fun. Some appear actuality for fun, while others are absolutely adjoin it. It’s like you’re aback in Korea during the 1950s-60s.” Kim believes that earlier Koreans like her parents may adore the bar’s affair because it is evocative of the era that they grew up in and there aren’t abounding such establishments actual in Seoul today.
Planning the interiors and added aspects of the bar’s affair complex months of analysis to get the attending that Jang wanted. (Express photo: Neha Banka)
Jang says his bar has been accepted with foreigners in Seoul back it opened in mid-October and some barter who accept visited North Korea, draw parallels with what they accept accomplished in the country themselves. “Some Koreans are still actual austere about (the restaurant),” says Jang. He doesn’t apperceive whether his bar will assignment in the long-term, but activity by the crowds that are fatigued to his enactment acknowledgment to amusing media and chat of mouth, for now, he feels hopeful.
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