Food and Leisure

Run Rabbit Run coverts Palacio de Memoria airplane into cocktail bar

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Run Rabbit Run coverts Palacio de Memoria airplane into cocktail bar
The interior of Mosphil by RRR and several of its cocktails
Philstar.com / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines —The Palacio de Memoria, currently owned by the Lhuillier family along Roxas Boulevard, has a rich history behind it, which can now be better appreciated through an official plaque with a fresh cocktail in hand.

Recently, the pre-war mansion — one of the few that survived the 1945 Battle of Manila — was bestowed a Philippine Heritage Awards 2020 Marker by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under the Adaptive Reuse Category.

Through its rehabilitation process, Palacio de Memoria maintained and, in fact, highlighted its terrazzo flooring attributed to National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil, among other key decorative elements of the mansion.

Located on the grounds of Palacio de Memoria is a decommissioned Ukrainian Antonov 24-B aircraft, which Poblacion-based cocktail bar Run Rabbit Run (RRR) has helped transform into a makeshift bar.

Mosphil by RRR, which takes its name from the short-lived airline that operated domestic passenger and cargo services around the southern Philippines in the mid-2000s, coins itself as a "plane by day, bar by night." Yes, it also has a lavatory, but with a regular toilet, not the loud swooping kind found on airplanes.

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RRR helped convert the plane into a cocktail bar that can seat up to 20 people. It seeks to give the dining experience of being up in the air without having to take flight, but instead through specially crafted cocktails and food from the nearby The Loggia by Margarita  Forés.

The cocktail bar's co-founder Michael Hearn said the idea was to enrich customers with the Pan American World Airways or Pan Am type of flight experience that it popularized during the 1960s and 1970s.

To make the place visually appealing, RRR filled the interior with designs akin to the Poblacion site, with an array of mid-century objects like a Spanish metal lamp, a brown mink coat, and leather luggage. Also found in the aircraft are an antelope head trophy and Spanish iron-cast theater seats from the early 1900s.

Where RRR nails it best is naturally through its cocktail menus, which come in three kinds — the signatures, the classics, and the special menu.

The special menu changes monthly depending on which locations Mosphil by RRR wants to "visit" thus incorporating their drinks. The first month was Italy, which led to cocktails like Bellini, Sbagliato, and Americano.

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Hearn said it took some time to fix the themes for the special menu that has been lined up until the end of the year.

The exclusive cocktails under the signatures, as they can only be found at Mosphil by RRR, are the Antonov 59, Destination Paradise, The Red Eye, and Manila International, the latter two being quite the favorites because of their sweet and espresso flavors, respectively.

Under the classic menu are familiar cocktails like Negroni, Whiskey Sour, Aviation, Aperol Spritz, Old Fashioned, different kinds of martinis, and mocktails upon request.

Hearn told Philstar.com that instead of the regular 30 milliliters of alcohol used to mix drinks, Mosphil by RRR mixes in 45 milliliters in their cocktails for guests to get more of the flavors, enjoy the alcohol mix, and "be more in the moment."

Mosphil by RRR is open daily except Mondays, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. A "ticket" costs P1,350 and ensures a seat inside the aircraft for an hour and a half, and if maximum capacity is reached, people are moved to tables outside.

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