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Cocktails, K-pop and rap in a parking lot: Whisky is shedding its stodgy image

By Joseph L. Garcia, Reporter

WHAT’s a pop-up bar doing in the parking lot of a club complex?

Riding the momentum of the pop-up bar that opened in Bonifacio Global City’s High Street four months ago, Chivas Regal is building a new one over at Uptown Parade, on the parking lot of the Palace nightclub complex.

“After the success of our first pop-up we couldn’t be more excited to be back and in a great new location,” said Chivas Regal Philippines Brand Ambassador Owen Roberts.

Shaped like a Fabergé egg, it’s just as bright. Downstairs, there’s a bar, a booth for mixing your own drinks (which one can capture on video through the accompanying tripod), a DJ, and a tap that dispenses Chivas Regal highballs.

Upstairs, there are chairs where one can sit and relax and maybe pose on the Chivas Regal throne. The brand does have some royal pedigree: they were awarded a Royal Warrant in 1843 to supply whisky to Queen Victoria. In 2001, it was acquired by spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard.

The pop-up opened on Oct. 21 and will stay there until the end of January. “Really, for me, this is like the perfect pregame spot for anyone who’s partying,” said Mr. Roberts, pointing out the club within sight.

Chivas Regal (and whisky in general) has a reputation for being the drink of choice for older people, but the brand is trying to change that. Earlier this year, the brand announced K-pop star Lisa as the brand ambassador for Asia (her pictures are displayed in the bar) and replaced its ornate metallic bottle with something simpler and red.

Mr. Roberts also noted the rap played by the DJ during the Oct. 21 opening. “It’s probably not conventional for what you would associate with Chivas with that other style in mind.”

The update also saw cocktails at the bar. “There’s a misconception that the only way you can drink a premium Scotch whisky is by drinking it neat or maybe on the rocks — but actually, it’s a very versatile drink,” said Mr. Roberts.

Of course, those who prefer their Chivas neat or on the rocks still have those options.

“Especially when you’re in the heat of Manila, you want something refreshing.”

Visitors to the Chivas pop-up can register via an app to redeem a free whisky highball and a chance to win exclusive Chivas merch. The Chivas pop-up bar will be located at Uptown Parade until the end of January 2023. Operating hours for October are Thursday–Sunday, 6 p.m.–11 p.m.

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