M'sian Couple Run A Shiba Inu Craft Beer Cafe That Aims To Be Your Go-To 'Third Place'

For a heckin' good time!

Cover image via Kura's Krafts (Provided to SAYS)

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on a lot of people.

At the same time, however, it also gave something in return: time.

Time to think. Time to dream. Time to plan and execute their dreams.

While many businesses were forced to shut down, others found themselves with extra time and the desire to start something new. Among them are May and Jo, a couple who share a love for craft beers.

But the limited options available in Malaysia pushed them to give it a try.

"Visiting my parents overseas exposed us to a vibrant craft beer scene, unlike Malaysia's limited options. We saw a potential market back home, but existing craft beer bars were pricey," Jo told SAYS in a recent interview.

From this desire, Kura's Krafts was born, named after the couple's adorable Shiba Inu dog, Kura.

Located inside Plaza Batai in Bukit Damansara, this newly opened pet-friendly bar promises "a heckin' good time" with chilled craft beers and lip-smackingly delicious hot dogs.

Also, their Furikake Fries are to die for!

The beer cafe sells around 50 different varieties of craft beer, available in cans, bottles, and on draft. They also offer wine and a small variety of cocktails on rotation.

SAYS recently visited them, where we were treated to a plethora of snacks, including Wagyu Philly Cheesesteaks and chicken tenders, which were so tender they practically fell apart with each bite.

Why Kura's Krafts?

According to the couple, they got their dog, Kura, during the Movement Control Order in 2020.

However, a year later, as the economy began to reopen and Malaysians returned to offices, May and Jo realised they didn't get to spend as much time with Kura as they would have liked.

"So Kura's Krafts is kind of born out of dreams, that maybe, 'One day I'll own a place where I could bring my dog to work[and] chill out with my dog the whole day,'" Jo shared, adding that their initial pop-ups in Publika received a lot of support from their friends, who were responsible for the bulk of their business.

"People loved the unique character of Kura's Krafts," the couple shared.

"It wasn't just good food and beer; it was the quirky name, the dog mascot, the whole experience. We wanted to create a place where people could relax, have fun, and enjoy something different."

Juggling full-time jobs and running a pop-up stall came with its challenges

They experimented with food like yakitori and crab rolls, with Jo manning the grill.

"We had a lot of fun experimenting with the pop-up stall," Jo said.

"It was a great learning experience for our F&B business, what works, what doesn't. But after a while, the constant setup and breakdown became tiring, you know? We were living a pasar malam life — prepping all the food, setting up the stall, carrying everything ourselves. Pop-ups are fun, but they're exhausting."

May then chimed in, "Exactly! That's why the next step for us was finding a permanent place."

"We knew we needed more. Luckily, a friend who ran Feeling +, a cafe at The Five, wasn't using it at night. We piggybacked on that and did a takeover on weekends. The six months with a more permanent space was a game-changer. It gave us the chance to take the business to the next level," the couple shared.

However, the place at The Five came with its limitations.

"It allowed us a little bit more leeway to experiment but because the space we moved into was no longer an open space, we no longer did yakitori as it was a bit hazardous to do that indoors," May explained.

At the same time, it also allowed May and Jo to experiment with more complex food items, such as beef quesadillas and Spanish clams, for Kura's Krafts' steadily growing customer base.

As Kura's Krafts gained momentum, the couple had Junyu, one of their friends, join them as their business partner, who is now managing Kura's Krafts' day-to-day operations.

They also hired a new chef, Mao, along with a few part-time and full-time staff members.

Kura's Krafts during their weekend takeover of the Feeling + at The Five.

Image via @kuras.krafts (Instagram)

While the couple now had a semi-permanent space due to their unique weekend takeover plan, the place presented a new set of challenges

"Foot traffic at The Five wasn't what we hoped for," they explained.

"Craft beer caters to a niche market, and the location itself wasn't ideal for attracting new customers. So it was kind of a double whammy for us. On top of that, piggybacking on the cafe meant we didn't have our own space — no storage, no kitchen, not even our own fridges.

"Just imagine! Every single day, the four of us, Jo, Mao, Junyu, and myself, had to lug everything in and out. It was incredibly tough to sustain in the long run, but a necessary hurdle to overcome," May shared.

"Looking back, though, those challenges were valuable lessons," Jo admitted.

"If we had just jumped straight into opening this new cafe in Plaza Batai without the experience from The Five, things would have been way harder," he said, adding that The Five was a stepping stone that showed the couple and their partners the ropes and prepared them for the next level.

Building an unpretentious café, like your go-to "third place"

"Imagine a place so relaxed, you don't even need to make plans," Jo said, describing their dream café. "Just a chill vibe for people after work. Good food, good drinks, good times – that's what we're aiming for."

May elaborated on the welcoming atmosphere: "It's a reflection of both of us — fuss-free and neighbourly. Like your local bar, but where comfy clothes, like PJs and slippers, are the dress code. We want people to think, 'Hey, I wanna hang out in a space with good craft beer', and Kura's Krafts pops into their mind."

"And these days, it feels like we've lost those special 'third places,'" May lamented.

"Remember when we were kids? There was home, school, and then this magical in-between space — a place that felt like a second home. That's the vibe we're going for with Kura's Krafts."

However, what's even more incredible about the idea behind creating Kura's Krafts as this "third place" is that the couple also welcomes people who have pets and want to bring their pets along to hang out.

"So, if you're a person who wants to hang out with your dog all the time, just like us, you can bring them here. They're allowed outside and inside as well. But inside, the pets should be either in a carrier or pram and leashed at all times for the safety of other patrons," May explained while pointing out that people can also spend time with their dog, Kura, who is usually present there and is quite friendly with patrons.

Head over to Kura's Krafts' Instagram page for a heckin' good time

Opening Hours:
Wednesday to Saturday: 5pm to 12am
Sundays: 5pm to 11pm

Book a table here.

8-3, Jalan Batai,
Plaza Batai, Bukit Damansara, 50490
Kuala Lumpur

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