Visitor experience

Johnnie Walker opening confirmed for next month

The facility will open early next month (pic:Terry Murden)

Diageo has confirmed that it will open its Johnnie Walker Princes Street facility in Edinburgh next month, as forecast by Daily Business, in what the city hopes will give a late summer lift to the tourism season.

Housed in the former House of Fraser building – originally Binn’s – at the west end of Scotland’s longest shopping street, the venue is part of a £185 million investment by the global drinks group in whisky tourism. It is scheduled to welcome its first visitors on 6 September.

Eight floors of the corner building have been redeveloped into bars, tasting and meeting rooms, with live performance areas and tours adding to the visitor experience.

In time it is hoped that the venue will be a catalyst for revitalising the west end of Princes Street after a number of shops relocated to the new St James Quarter at the east end.

While the pandemic continues to affect all aspects of life, visitors to the Johnnie Walker experience will have to contend with a one-way system, extra cleaning and hygiene routines, physical distancing, and hand sanitiser stations.

Visitors will also be required to wear masks and will be encouraged to make payments using contactless methods.

Hopes resting on the striding man…

There is some hope in the shape of the striding man – Johnnie Walker – whose ‘visitor experience is due to inject new purpose into the west end of Scotland’s longest shopping street. The collection of bars, restaurants, meeting places and a retail outlet that will occupy the former Binns (lately Frasers) department store is just what this part of the city needs. I hear that it is due to open in September, a year late because of the pandemic, but just in time (hopefully) for the end of restrictions and the start of the Christmas and New Year season.

Daily Business Comment, 22 July, on the hopes that the venue will help revitalise Princes Street

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