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Appreciate Omakase for soon it will be too late.

Publication: 
Nigel Morris-Co...
chiefofficersnet

It's incredible - a tiny bar that has no nameplate, that is hidden behind a door bearing the sign "no admittance" and holding only 25 people in an unfashionable district of Kuala Lumpur's city centre is famous. It's such a cool, almost magical, place that it's the kind of place you keep for special occasions. It's regularly featured in "Best Bars" in all kinds of magazines and, even, seat-back glossies in airlines.

And, sadly, in just a few days, it will be gone.

Just three weeks ago, Omakase + Appreciate produced, for this writer, a novel cocktail. We called it The Mrs Smith, because it needed a name. All remarkable things need a name. And because it isn't my friend's name but it's easy to remember and to say, like the bar, and hers, isn't. The order was poorly communicated: meaning "something that isn't iced," it came out as "warm with gin." It was warmer than warm, it had kahlúa, gin and jasmine tea. It probably had other things, too. It's worth going back for.

This is typical of a visit there: yes, you can have a perfect classic Martini but that's not why one would go to this place with a minute staff that seem to have only the best time. And who thoroughly enjoy being original. One of the best stocked back bars anywhere, their bottom shelf starts where other bars' top shelf leaves off and goes up from there. It's a playground for them and, if you want, you.

It's the very fact that it's almost never packed, that you can chat without shouting over crowds or loud music, that is a big part of its cachet.

But, it's about to disappear. It's a haven in an area where it's difficult to find a bar at all, and to find one that isn't a purveyor of, primarily, the awful local beers, bearing the brand but not the quality of international mass market beers, is impossible.

It's cute in a can't-be-arsed kind of way. It's absolutely not Instagrammable. The irony is that now word is out and this wondrous place will soon close, it will no doubt be packed with people that have heard of it but never been there - perhaps could never find it - and they will be posting it on Instagram so that it lives on as a pastiche of the memories that so many of us will have.

Here is the announcement. Before it, here's the thanks from someone who is part of the problem not part of the solution. It is such a special place that I kept it for special times even though it is, almost literally, just at the end of my road. Sorry. I wish I'd come more often but I can salve my conscience because I have told many people about it.

Good luck with whatever comes next.

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Dear friends,

In 3 weeks time from today, this sign will hold true permanently from 6th April 2020.

The past few years have not been the easiest and we feel that the business has run its course. After 7 years of memories behind this door, we have come to the difficult decision to close Omakase + Appreciate for good. We made this decision a while back but it is unfortunate that the closure comes at a time where the Covid-19 pandemic is escalating nationally and globally.

We would love to see you again but amidst this outbreak, we would like all parties to keep vigilant and practice good hygiene and safety. At the bar, we have hand sanitizer and we do what is necessary to keep surfaces clean. Should you be hesitant to go out, do not worry, we will meet again at some point in the year. We will make our Final Call when the clock strikes 12 midnight on the 6th of April 2020 (5th night, 6th morning).

It is without regret that we make this announcement. We would like to believe that we were the catalyst that started the cocktail bar movement to grow. And now that we have an industry that has spread from KL to Penang and even Johor, we are happy to see that it continues to thrive. Keep it up guys!

The biggest validation of our work to date will still have to be when we were announced as the 10th Best Bar in Asia's 50 Best Bar awards in 2016. And to boot, we were the first Food & Beverage establishment to achieve such a listing. Priceless. Something to be cherished and could not have been possible without the love, loyalty and support of all our friends and guests that came from far and wide.

7 years is a long time for any restaurant or bar to be running. Thousands of guests bewildered by the journey of getting to the bar and eventually arrive in front of an inconspicuous door. Once in the "cave of wonders" they have been further enthralled by the cocktail experience they receive. Tens of thousands of cocktails have been served and tens of thousands of smiles on the receiving end have proven this journey to be worthwhile. These instances are the reason we are making this announcement less than a month in advance.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the memories.

Cheers!

Karl & Shawn

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