Culinary practices of minorities in foreign countries have become the subject of research. In a foreign country, minority groups often want to find a bar, a restaurant, or an eatery to hang out with people from their country or continent.
It was this culture that led Carl Junior and Patrick to co-found Arts and Crafts Bar & Art Gallery, which happens to be the first Black-owned bar and restaurant in Taiwan. The duo has been living in Taiwan for more than 10 years. Seeing the lack of diversity in the Taiwanese hospitality industry, they decided to create a space for the Black community to vibe.
“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 in an interview. According to him, the goal is to make Arts and Crafts Bar & Art Gallery feel like a second home for Black expats in Taiwan.
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“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,” Carl, who speaks both Mandarin and Taiwanese fairly well, said.
Data shows that Black businesses have been the hardest hit following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The bar has been in operation for almost nine months and has survived the pandemic. Carl attributes the relative success of the bar to the enormous support he has received from the Black community.
Also, being the first Black-owned bar in Taiwan means a lot to Carl and Patrick as they feel fortunate, honored, and blessed to see a dream materialize. Carl said working through language barriers, getting the bar to be popular, and getting people to patronize them has been challenging. However, the fact that he speaks both Mandarin and Taiwanese fairly well has helped, as it has given him “greater insight into the business culture of Taiwan,” a report said.
Despite the unfair political attacks Black people tend to face in many jurisdictions, they continue to own well-to-do businesses across the world. In the U.S., the more than 40 million Black population is doing the same and in effect, generating revenue and creating jobs. This is in spite of challenges such as access to capital due to years of racial and economic discrimination.
To go into business in Asia, some believe that you need to have a national of a country to be your guarantor but Carl and Patrick have proven otherwise and are doing amazingly well in Taiwan.
Despite the relative success of the bar and its challenges, Carl is excited for what is next. According to him, the bar has come to fill the needs of the Black community and hopes it will inspire others to do the same.