Conversations with Sam – the poetic mixologist

The message of Labyrinth is that “we are one person”, so we should not focus on differences such as skin colour. Those are just things that create distraction.

– Sam Kingue Ebelle
An insightful conversation between Naomi Ariga and Sam Kingue Ebelle.

Naomi Ariga and Josephine Frans spent a Monday evening conversing with Sam Kingue Ebelle, the owner and barkeeper of Labyrinth, to gain insights on his thoughts as a creative entrepreneur in Amsterdam. The conversation continued long after the podcast ended and they learned more than they could ever ask for that day.

As you enter Labyrinth you are immediately hit with a sense of belonging. Even though it was our first time there, everyone around us made us feel welcome. Sam talked a lot about all Labyrinth being like a living room for everyone, free from judgment and discrimination. That was the exact vibe we picked up.

Labyrinth hosts open mics on Mondays and we felt like we had to stay and see what it was all about. As people started dropping in Sam had to tend to his customers and so we went on and ordered food and drinks. The menu has flavors from all over the world with the main focus on soul food and African cuisine. The drinks tasted of the passion that Sam puts into his job as a mixologist, they were really good!

The vibe of the place got better and better as more people came and we moved closer to the scene. A scene that is consciously not elevated, as a part of the philosophy. Sam told us that at Labyrinth “we are one person”. Everything we got to know from Sam proved to be true, not the least when the open mic started. Labyrinth is a meeting space for people to share not only food and drinks but feelings, thoughts, secrets, and laughter.

We both declined to sign up for the open mic at first but this turned out to end with a twist in Josephine’s case. After hearing the beautiful and sharp poetry and seeing the warming audience, something woke in her. So she decided to perform for the first time in her life, reading poetry she never thought she would share with the world. Then there was a break where we started talking to strangers and got to hear some of the funny stories that the different events in the bar had generated over the years. This simple school project made us meet people that gave us moments we will cherish for a long long time. 

This is the power of Labyrinth. You might find yourself lost in it, but you will never be alone.

“I’m not a writer, but I have a voice.”

– Sam Kingue Ebelle
Close up on the wall visitors can hang their messages on.

Everyone has a story and it is all beauty

– Sam Kingue Ebelle
“No one has a monopoly of knowledge, so create room for acquiring more.” – Sam Kingue Ebelle

We all have dreams, the difference between each other’s dreams is whether you believe in them.

– Sam Kingue Ebelle
The African influenced menu is share-friendly and the cocktails are both tasty and beautiful.

Read more about Labyrinth here!

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