At L’Epicerie, bar patrons will choose unique herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables to form the base of their whisky drinks.
Bars are great for a number of occasions; watching sports events, meeting a date, getting to know a new co-worker, and of course, happy hour. People who frequent bars generally have a few favorites they visit most often, but the reasons they prefer one bar over another can be very different. One thing that is imperative in any bar-goers decision making process is the quality of the cocktails being offered, and if a person were allowed to make their own dream bar, the drink selection would naturally be an essential part of the concept. Scotch whisky company Ballantine’s allowed all of France to explore these possibilities when they began The Bar Project in March- a challenge that offered customers the opportunity to propose their own dream bar.
Between said month and June 2014, the French population was allowed to submit bar concept ideas and vote on their favorites via Ballantine’s Facebook page. This month, they announced that the winner was ‘L’Epicerie,’ a grocery-themed bar designed by Abderrahim El Afsar. ‘L’Epicerie’ is a Moroccan-inspired bar reminiscent of a Moroccan night food market. Customers at the bar will be able to browse the bar shelves and collect ingridients in shopping baskets. They will choose from an array or herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables that will form the base of the cocktail, then an expert mixologist will choose the Ballantine whisky that will best accompany the ingredients.
El Afsar was born in Morocco and worked as a bartender in several well-known bars around the country, before moving to France in 2013. He has long dreamed of creating his own bar, and after obtaining almost 50% of all casted votes, his dream bar, ‘L’Epicerie,’ will open this Fall ‘L’Epicerie’ is set to open on September 4th on the first floor of Parisian club Le Chacha. In a press release, Peter Moore, global brand director for Ballantine’s said, ‘L’Epicerie is a hugely innovative concept and one that reflects [El Afsar's] own Moroccan heritage and back-story.’ Moore goes on to say that he hopes other Ballantine’s markets will launch The Bar Project in their own countries, allowing customers everywhere an opportunity to participate.