Over in Meguro’s Nishikoyama, the town has come up with a creative way to enjoy the outdoors with a trendy al fresco dining space. Named Craft Village Nishikoyama, this new community-minded hangout is the perfect antidote to a cramped izakaya or spending your summer days working from home.
Signaling that things are changing for this under-the-radar Meguro neighborhood, Craft Village set up shop on what was once merely a disused patch of land a minute’s stroll from Nishikoyama Station. Rather than being redeveloped into another mediocre mall or housing complex, the new social hub has helped to ignite an exciting spark in the area. Going by the slogan “Craft, Sustainability, Community,” the village consists of a collection of shipping containers spread across two floors. The indoor-outdoor design, with open-air terrace seats and a courtyard, has been purposely built with the pandemic in mind, making it ideal for a breezy outdoor meal in the sun.
Throughout, the urban-chic design compliments the various local businesses that have opened their doors here, each occupying an individual container, and many focusing on international cuisine. There’s Beer & Cuban Sand Fiesta, a food joint selling cubanos (Cuban sandwiches) with a selection of craft beer. Also, proving that there’s more to Turkish food than kebabs, Dede sells a selection of Turkish dishes such as piedi (Turkish pizza) prepared by a chef who learnt his trade in Turkey, alongside Turkish beer, Efes. A little further down and there are hearty portions of fresh Thai food on the menu at Go Go Siam.
With a spotlight on providing a place where the items on sale are not mass-produced, Craft Village also hosts events such as a “Slow Market.” This pop-up market features small stallholders that sell everything from flowers and organic farm produce to ceramics and clothing from independent designers. There’s also a regular lineup of live music and creative performances, which adds a fun festive atmosphere into the mix. Perfectly set up for enjoying the laid-back ambience, the space has been carefully curated as a aratana nichijo (new normal) complex: a place for all members of the local community to spend time unwinding through the day and into the evening.
Tents have been erected and filled with cushions and blankets for customers to cosy up in; kotatsu help to keep the chill off on cooler evenings; a retro caravan sells drinks, and there’s a scattering of benches dotted over the outdoor garden. The second floor offers more tents and benches, as well as views of the surrounding rooftops and wide skies, painted pink as the sun sets over the city. There’s even a dog run so pet parents can bring their pooches along.
It’s got outdoorsy, casual drinking and dining covered. With the sunny days of early summer well and truly here, there’s nowhere better to spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon with a cool craft beer, or an ice coffee, in hand to the soundtrack of some live music.
Craft Village Nishikoyama is a thoughtful and clever rejuvenation of an under-loved space, and a quick response to a new way of living. It shows what can happen when a community is put at the heart of an idea, the outcome being a space that supports local business and, crucially, a space where people want to be.
Craft Village Nishikoyama
1-7-8 Haramachi, Meguro-ku
Opening hours: 11 am – 8 pm
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