Amazon to launch pop-up bar in Tokyo

For 10 days, the web retailer will run a bar in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district to promote alcoholic products sold on its website in Japan.

While Amazon has opened physical bookstores, bought Whole Foods and is testing a food market without cash registers at its Seattle headquarters, this is the first time the e-commerce giant will operate an actual bar. It is part of a bigger push by Amazon to boost its physical presence to promote the array of merchandise sold on its website and branch into new markets.

“Amazon Bar will offer a wide variety of drinks procured from across the globe, and offer exclusive products as well as samples of products not yet on store shelves,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

Instead of a menu, Amazon’s 78-seat bar will feature an ordering system that will suggest drinks, and also hire sommeliers to dispense wine advice. Nikka whisky, Yebisu beer and other drinks will cost 500 to 1,500 yen ($4.43 to $13.30), and some food will be offered. The pop-up bar will be open in the evenings starting from 20 October.

The new bar is located a stone’s throw from the Emporio Armani store in Ginza, Tokyo’s prestige shopping district where Apple and Louis Vuitton have flagship outlets.

Since buying Whole Foods, Amazon has slashed prices at the chain, which saw a boost in US shopper numbers.

US branches of the food retailer enjoyed a 25 percent jump in foot traffic on 4 and 5 September following the price cuts.

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