May 20, 2024
2 Min. Read

JUST DISCOVERED, STAWI HUB "THE BOX" IN STONE TOWN

The lecturing bar

It does not have a sea view, it’s not even near the sea. But it has a stunning 1st-floor outdoor terrace with a full view of Zanzibar’s main historic shopping lane, Kenyatta Road. The new restaurant, bar, and event space of American chef Ashley. Maybe alias Ashley-Marie Weston and Kenyan entrepreneur Eva Easton of Stawi company thrives on a wild mix of talents.

Egg Benedict with a glass of bubbles for a Sunday Brunch? You’ll find it here. Private Tuesday night lectures by Zanzibari activists, scientists, and historians, followed by Salsa classes – welcome to the Box once more. If that sounds confusing, here’s one more: Not even the name of the new restaurant-cum-community-hub is really clear. Some call it The Hub, some The Box, and others talk about the “former Taperia”.

The history: For many years the upper floor of the historical, still functioning Old Post Office in Zanzibar stood abandoned. In 2014 a miracle happened and the deserted location was seemingly overnight converted into a tapas bar. Unforgettable live music events were orchestrated by manager Dirk (who later left for Somaliland) and many happy nights followed. After the closure of the Garage and the Buddha Bar, Zanzibar had a nightlife spot again! After some successful years, things folded, and neither another version of a tapas bar nor an upmarket chef-owned restaurant was successful in the historic downtown location. 

The impressive white building is one of several Stone Town highlights designed by British colonial architect J.H. Sinclair between 1896 and 1924, others are the State House and the High Court. It was here, on the steps of the old post office, that Princess Margret from England watched the last British troops parade in 1956, some years before independence. 

Today’s mission: The new tenants fill the historic place with life again. Widely travelled chef Ashley from Philadelphia has cooked in Miami and Morocco - try her Fork & Knife Brisket Sandwich with horseradish sauce or her Ahi tuna steak. Zanzibari’s YeoYum serves organic burgers here, too. And true to the Stawi’s wider mission of “nourishing spaces and experiences”, they rent out beautifully furnished Stone Town locations such as the Mysa studios. The atmosphere: “We have left the spider webs untouched”, says Ashley pointing to the chandelier in the climatised wine bar section, “the venue just needed a woman’s touch.” Just try it out! 

THE BOX

Kenyatta Road, Shangani

above the Old Post Office,

restaurant, bar, events

12noon – midnight

IG: stawi_selection, theboxbyashley.maybe

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