This Café Beside the DMZ Is a Fascinating South Korean Attraction

Check Out This Hip Café That’s Right Beside the Korean DMZ!

PSA to both coffee and history fans alike.

Apart from its entertainment and pop culture (or hallyu), South Korea is also gaining further traction with its hip café scene. Most of these cafés boast top-notch concoctions and other gimmicks: from cute interior designs to robot staff members. In this saturated industry, coming up with interesting new concepts is definitely now trickier than it used to be. But Café FourB has a trick up its sleeve — and that’s building a café beside the DMZ (or Korean Demilitarized Zone)! 

Although, to be more specific, you’ll find this café in the city of Paju, which is situated beside the Civilian Control Line (CCL) of the DMZ. The CCL is an additional buffer zone to the DMZ, as to control the movement of civilians going in and out. Think of it as a pre-buffer, complete with haunting barbed wire fences and military personnel. And Café FourB sits right next to those actual fences that are off-limits to the public. But while you’re at it, might as well get a cup of coffee or matcha, right?

A quick history refresher

North Korea has always been a topic of much fascination. It’s probably the enigmatic and reclusive quality that’s known throughout the world. Then again, it could also be thanks to the popular K-drama Crash Landing On You, which focuses on the romance between a South Korean heiress and a high-ranking North Korean officer. 

In the middle lies the Korean DMZ: a 250-kilometre strip serving as the buffer between North and South Korea. Dubbed by some as a ‘no man’s land,’ it was established in the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement. More than just a place of political significance, it has also become quite the tourist attraction! 

Also read: 10 Things You Should Never Do If You’re Visiting North Korea

What Café FourB DMZ is about

Café FourB actually has four stores, with the first one located in Gwanghwamun, Seoul. And if you’re wondering why it’s called such, that’s because the name is hinged on the brand philosophy: Do your Best, back to Basics, look on the Bright side, then you’ll be Brilliant. Short but witty indeed. 

Café FourB DMZ is located inside Paju’s Imjingak Park, which is also a must-visit for anyone on their way to tour the actual Korean DMZ. If you were to take an exterior shot of just the store itself, you’d probably think it’s somewhere in a quiet, sunny residential area in Seoul. It features a contemporary-minimalist design with glass walls, monochromatic hues, and industrial interiors. Not too far off from your typical neighbourhood café, right? 

If it weren’t for the glass walls showing the barbed wire fence, you’d probably forget that you’re actually in a café beside the DMZ. You know, an area that could potentially be dangerous? But hey, it does make for a unique juxtaposition. There are also benches outside where you can enjoy your coffee while taking in the view on the other side of the fence! 

What to have in Café FourB DMZ

café beside the dmz

Image credit: cheny_s

Planning to visit this café beside the DMZ one of these days? Well then, you might as well check ahead on what you should order! Beyond its Instagram-worthy aesthetics and well-thought-out locations, Café FourB is best known for its coffee and bagels. Focusing on the espresso-style, they’re all about speciality coffee of the highest quality. 

Wondering what to get? Well, many coffee enthusiasts and regulars recommend their Dutch Black, Flat White, and Affogato. Though, if you prefer other drinks, there are also chocolate drinks and fruit tea. Nonetheless, this café abides by its philosophy with a simple, fuss-free menu that focuses on quality over quantity. The prices aren’t too daunting either, ranging mostly from ₩3,800 to ₩4,800. Not bad at all! 

As for the best-selling fresh bagels, these are unfortunately not available in Café FourB DMZ. However, you can simply go to the Imjingak building next door and enter a store called Sam’s Bagel. There, you’ll find the well-loved FourB bagels that are definitely worth the try (and extra steps)! This building also has a rooftop observation deck, where you can get a view of North Korea on the horizon. 

How to get there

From Hongik University Station, take the Gyeonggui-Jungang line all the way to Munsan Station. Then transfer to Bus 58 and hop off at Imjingak Park. Alternatively, you can take a cab for Munsan Station to Imjingak Park, which should cost around ₩8,000 to ₩10,000. 

Another way would be to join one of the DMZ tours, as most of these will have a stop at Imjingak Park! Once you get there, make a beeline to Café FourB for a much-needed caffeine boost (and bagel fix, if you have enough time). 

Also read: DMZ, K-Coffee Culture & More: I Spent a Week in Korea Trying These 16 Alternative Experiences… and Loved It

Interested to visit this café beside the DMZ on your next trip to South Korea? Or better yet, have you already been here before? Whichever it is, we’d love to hear all about it! 

Featured image credit: Café FourB Official Instagram Page

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.