Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Arts and Crafts Bar & Art Gallery Taiwan
Inside Taiwan’s First Black-Owned Bar + Restaurant: Arts & Craft
“It’s a place where Black people all over the island can come for good music and energy, see Black art on the walls, and enjoy craft beer and custom cocktails,” said Carl to Travel Noire.
Carl and Patrick have been living in Taiwan for more than 10 years and by their 5th year, managed to travel to 25 countries combined. A lack of representation during their travels is what prompted them to start a travel company called CP Travels, where the two would curate and create custom travel packages to unique destinations for their clients.
“We still, however, felt that something was missing. We enjoyed creating experiences abroad, but we realized that in a place we called home we didn’t have a place outside of our own home that could offer a level of comfort that we needed as Black people,” Carl added.
Tired of techno music and bad vibes, the two decided that it was time to create a space for the Black expat community in Taiwan.
In an interview with Travel Noire, Carl discusses more on what inspired them to open the restaurant and bar.
Travel Noire: What do you hope visitors will experience when inside your bar?
Carl: We want people to feel comfortable. We want it to feel like a second home and a place where you don’t have to be on edge and carry the stress of being an expat in a foreign country.
We are sure to provide good music, great vibes, and even better drinks, as well as events that connect and bring people together. We want people to walk away from Arts & Crafts feeling rejuvenated and ready to face whatever is next before them.
Our wall quote is: The goal is to make this bar feel like a second home. We hope that you leave with more friends than you came with. To quote, (don’t judge) live for nights that we can’t remember, with the people that we won’t forget.
Travel Noire: How does it feel being the first Black-owned bar in Taiwan?
Carl: At first, it was HARD to manage everything. Working through language barriers, trying to inform people of where we are, getting people to come out, etc. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize how very fortunate, blessed, and honored we were to complete a dream that both of us had for nearly five years together.
It is not easy to open a bar, anywhere. Having done it in a completely different country is something in and of itself. More than anything I am thankful to have gotten the support we’ve had so far, survived a pandemic after only being open 8 months, and having been able to provide a space for our people to come and see Black faces standing behind the bar and delivering warm greetings and good times.
I’m humbled, and I’m excited for what’s next. I’m confident and now know there is truly nothing that we can’t do. We can fill the needs within our community in places around the world in a myriad of ways. I hope we have inspired others to do the same, and am open and hopeful to help others in any way that I can.
Arts & Crafts was a safe haven for Black expats during the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic, and more. After 8 years of being in Taiwan, everything aligned, meaning we found a location, created the time, thus opening a much-needed space.