After 17 great years of operations as Merchant Pub, the familiar watering hole in Petaling Jaya has since undergone a major makeover and it’s new interior décor was revealed to guests and media during it’s grand launch on Wednesday, 29th July 2015 as The Merchant. The Merchant at The Armada Hotel Petaling Jaya opened to a lively packed crowd of around 300 guests who enjoyed the free-flowing canapes, cocktails, wine, whisky and beer throughout the evening.
Guests were welcomed by General Manager of The Armada Hotel, Mr Hoon Tai Chee and his team at the entrance that was in frenzy with the presence of a pop up photobooth as guests posed and the cameras flashed. Receiving their instant photos a minute later, guests sealed their memories of #themerchant opening.
Now, restyled and rebranded to The Merchant, the bar offers a swanky comfort akin to a hybrid of cosmopolitan New York bar and an updated London gentlemen’s club. Exuding elegance and style, The Merchant is well designed with a stunning long illuminated copper and wood bar that immediately commands full attention.
In attendance were the hotel’s top corporate clients from Volvo, Opensys, Dutch Lady, Expedia to name a few, a bevy of models, air stewardesses and members of the media. Also present was the hotel’s owning company, Lien Hoe Corporation’s Executive Director, Allen Cheong and the design team behind the The Merchant’s transformation, ChinPakLoong Architect.
Showcasing some of The Merchant’s culinary specialties, guests were treated to a variety of stylish and elegantly prepared canapés which included smoked duck with orange, grilled beef with asparagus, pandan chicken served in shot glasses, otak-otak on toast, assorted sushi balls, mini lemon and raspberry tarts as well as the star of the evening, chocolate cigar rolls served in whisky glasses that even came complete with crushed oreos disguised as cigar ashes.
While guests mingled throughout the evening, a 3-piece band lead by powerful vocalist Claire Rozells entertained guests with her own soft soothing and rearranged renditions of Thinking out Loud by Ed Sheeran, In My Place by Cold Play, I’m Not The Only One by Sam Smith, Love Never Felt So Good by Michael Jackson and many more.
At The Merchant, different spaces were created, catering to the various guests’ preferences. One such addition is ‘The Balcony’ an outdoor seating space with curious views overlooking the busy Federal Highway and the PJ skyline.
Another feature of the bar is the illuminated long and high Onyx Table and barstools perfect to cater to large groups, communal tastings or wine dinner events. Different types of high seating arrangements can also be found at the “Beer Barrel” and “Chess” tables. For those with a more sophisticated preference, a Cigar Lounge, where retro glamour meets contemporary style is chic yet relaxed.
A dedicated games area with bricked walls offers up a more rustic atmosphere. Here, guests were seen enjoying a game of pool and loud cheers were heard when someone scored a bullseye on the Electronic Darts Machines.
As the night grew, guests were encouraged to experience The Merchant Live, a more upbeat venue which is an extension of The Merchant that can be accessed directly from within the The Merchant through a see through glass walkway. The Merchant Live was also packed as guests were dancing to retro classics and one hit wonders from the 80’s and 90’s before Hydra, hailed as the leading cover band in Malaysia, took centre stage and performed a diverse mélange of the hottest music mixing and blending, contrasting and highlighting the different genres of music weaving a web of music that had the crowd singing and dancing along the whole night.
Also at The Merchant Live, some guests escaped into the three private suites to become their own superstars as the suites were equipped with touch screen karaoke entertainment (with up to 30 pax capacity). Themed red, gold and silver respectively, they revelled in plush and roomy comfort, and sung their hearts out in style and privacy. For those who took a break from singing took the opportunity to test their aiming skills at the Phoenix Darts Machine available in each suite while the biggest suite even had it’s very own American Pool Table.
The Merchant makes for a perfect pre-dinner venue, business discussion meetings, a meeting place for after work drinks or work off the excess partying at the adjoining The Merchant Live, and end with an indulgent nightcap back at The Merchant.
The Merchant and The Merchant Live, a new paradigm in bar experience.