Johnnie Walker Princes Street is sited in a 71,500 square foot, eight floor building that was formerly the Binns department store in Scotland’s longest shopping street. It will comprise a blend of bars, restaurants, shopping and space for live events.
Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Diageo’s Scotland Brand Homes and General Manager of the Johnnie Walker Princes Street Visitor Experience, says, “Johnnie Walker Princes Street will offer something unlike any other visitor experience in Scotland. It will be a venue for everyone, whether that’s visitors to Scotland or local people in Edinburgh, Scotch whisky lovers or those savouring Scotch whisky for the first time.”
A variety of bar and restaurant options
The building is topped by two bars enjoying extensive views across the city, up to Edinburgh Castle and across the old town. Open all day, the 1820 bar offers morning coffee, lunch, dinner and cocktails. Locally-sourced Scottish cuisine will be served and whisky dinners will be a special feature. The Explorers’ Bothy Whisky Bar is aimed at whisky connoisseurs. It features a sculpture and artwork by Scottish landscape artist Scott Naismith in the centre and offers over 150 whiskies, including one- of-a-kind cask editions.
The Blue Label Room is the building’s private dining option featuring Scottish specialities paired with carefully selected whiskies.
In addition, the Label Studio will host a series of live events and performances throughout the year.
Three main experiences will be on offer to visitors. Journey of Flavour is the signature experience which promises a highly immersive adventure into the history of Johnnie Walker. The tour employs multi-media, multi-sensory effects, including flashing lights. It includes three personalised drinks. Whisky Explorers is held at the Explorers’ Bothy bar and offers a curated exploration of Scottish whiskies, including single malts from the Highlands, Islay and Speyside, and an exclusive Johnnie Walker lowland grain whisky.
The Whisky Makers’ Cellar experience is designed for whisky connoisseurs and takes place in the private vaulted cask area of the building.
All experiences are limited to eight guests and tours start from £25. Bars and the retail spaces can be accessed without a ticket.
Bottle your own whisky
Spanning 320 square metres, the ground-floor is given over to retail. An experiential store allows visitors to learn about the varying whisky variants and to find their perfect match based on their individual taste preferences. The whisky collection features a large range of Scotland’s most exceptional whiskies. Meanwhile the Johnnie Walker emporium is set to sell a range of branded garments and accessories in the lifestyle boutique. Sustainably sources clothing, home accessories and cocktail kits will be featured.
Saving the high street and promoting Scotch whisky
Princes Street has seen an exodus of stores over the pandemic with stores such as Debenhams, Top Shop, Jenners and Edinburgh Woollen Mill closing for good. Next and Zara have departed the famous shopping street in favour of other city sites. The hope is that the new visitor experience will breathe fresh life into Princes Street. The Johnnie Walker Princes Street attraction is part of Diageo’s £150 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism.
“Over the past year we have faced unprecedented challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic but now we can finally start the countdown to the opening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street,” concludes Smith. “We have built an incredibly talented and diverse team who will bring the Johnnie Walker story to life, creating a world-class experience for our guests.”