Verde: The World Awaits
In 2019 well-known Irish Pub Mulligans in Poblacion, Makati received a millennial make-over by entrepreneur daughter, Nicole Anne Aurora Go Thorp.
Verde is the perfect name for the venue. Verde literally translates as ‘Green’, and green represents the color of life, renewal, regeneration, nature, and energy.
MY RANGGO chats with the engaging and energetic Nicole, Communications Associate, about the relaunch of Verde, and the challenges women entrepreneurs face.
MY RANGGO: Why did you decide to make the change from Mulligans to Verde?
Nicole: Last year my father, Jonathan Thorp, invited Heineken to be a part of the re-branding of Mulligans. He asked me to be involved in this project as he wanted Mulligans to be more millennial and current.
I conceptualized Verde as a ‘Cultural Hub’; a place where alike minds could meet and strike up a conversation. I felt we should cater to more underground music, or rather genres such as disco, techno, jazz, house, soul, Afro-funk, world music, indie soul, etc.
Since opening, 70-80% of the time we have DJ’s for our entertainment at Verde. But we have also hosted art, food, sports, fashion, gaming competitions and fundraisers for charity events. And we are planning to host more.
Our new tagline is “The World Awaits” because when you visit us here, you get a different experience, which keeps our regulars yearning for more!
MY RANGGO: What makes Verde stand out from the other establishments in Poblacion; what do you have to offer?
Nicole: One thing is we are open 24/7. So if you want a drink or a meal at any point of the day, you can come and visit us!
Our food selection is really great too. From our best sellers such as our Energizer Nachos, Nasi Goreng, Sisig with Garlic Rice, All Day English Breakfast, Spam Fries, English Chips and assorted pizza and burger options. There really is a lot of choices.
We’ve kept our alcohol prices very affordable; enough that our customers often purchase bottles when they’re at Verde.
We have a lot of buy 1 take 1 cocktail promos, and we recently launched our Top Up Unli Gin Cart, which is available daily from 5pm to 10pm. It’s either 599Php for a standard gin and tonic, or 899Php for premium gin and tonic. Apart from being very affordable, with the Premium option we offer flavored tonics by Lamb and Watt.
Events to look out for include our new Fight Nights; video game competition nights. We kicked that off in February. It started with Super Smash Bros. and our next competition will be Tekken and Street Fighters. We also have some Live jazz nights coming up, as well as more events nights.
Every night we have two vibes running; inside is more of a bar feel and this can turn into a club on DJ nights, where you’ll find guests dancing.
Then the Al Fresco area offers a more chilled setting. It has a beer garden vibe, so people can really talk, and catch up as well.
MY RANGGO: Your menu really offers a lot of choices to your customers, what are your favorite items?
Nicole: I love the All Day English Breakfast, Energizer Nachos, Nasi Goreng, Sisig with Garlic Rice, Spam Fries, and English Chips. I’m a purist when it comes to my alcohol so I’ll enjoy either Scotch or Tequila.
MY RANGGO: What upcoming attractions would you like to promote here?
Nicole: Certainly our regular events, like our Ladies’ Night, which is every Wednesday, with free Margaritas from 5-10 pm. Our Buy 1 Take 1 Cocktail Night’s. Our daily Top Up Unli Gin Cart promo. And our Wednesday to Saturday DJ Nights.
Upcoming events include our Fight Nights, with the next two taking place on the 4th and 24th March (2020). And our next Live Jazz Night on 26th February.
Verde is also the perfect events space for companies, or charities wanting to host fundraisers.
MY RANGGO: How do you train your staff at Verde to excel and stand out in their jobs?
Nicole: I deal with a lot of staff who still are in the early stages in their hospitality careers. So a lot of my individual staff training programs are done from scratch. That way I can ensure that our staff are consistent in their service standards and skills.
I try my best to go through issues one by one, starting with the Managers. I make sure they also know how to handle the rest of the staff. From the little things through to the bigger issues. I try to approach tables to make sure that they’re being handled properly. Or to see if they might have feedback, which we can use for future improvements.
MY RANGGO: What made you decide Verde should be 24/7?
Nicole: Being open 24/7 encourages the Cultural Hub vibe, that I wanted Verde to have. Different types of customers come in at different times in the day. And often there is a cross over period, so there is a real mix of people. I do notice and I get to observe the different crowds we get at Verde. Our busiest hours are still the weekends.
MY RANGGO: Verde seems like a great venue for events, and it’s great to hear that you have already hosted some Charity and Fundraising Events.
Nicole: Yes, it really is a great venue for events.
Since we opened [in October 2019], we launched our mission of trying to do one event per month that gives back in some way. To kick off, we collaborated and worked closely with Fund The Forest for their launch. Their fundraiser included four live acts and four DJ’s, who played throughout a night. It felt like a mini festival. And a portion of the money we raised, that night, contributed to a fund that is dedicated to the reforestation of the Aeta community in Yangil, Zambales.
One of the Founders of Fund the Forest is a close friend of mine, Issa Barte, so that is how I knew about it.
It took us two to three weeks of preparation together with her team and mine and we were proud to able to pull off such an event, on that scale with just a small amount of preparation. We promoted it in our social media platforms, as well as through word of mouth with our friends as well.
MY RANGGO: You are a young, female entrepreneur taking charge of not 1, but 2 restaurants; Verde and NIC’s. Was this always in your plans?
Nicole: I was honestly never expecting to be doing what I am at the moment. Both projects were just ones that direly needed my help and I took on the roles to enhance my own skills in the hospitality industry. Especially in aspects like construction, operations and hospitality.
I am a Communication Major with focus on Public Relations and my experience is mostly in that field, and Journalism as well. But both my parents are entrepreneurs, and have their own separate food and beverage businesses.
One challenge has been learning things from scratch along the way, and matching it with the knowledge and experience I have acquired through the years. Another challenge is not yet having enough help, as both companies are still very small scale. I am actually in search for permanent part-time and internship positions for both Verde and NIC’S.
MY RANGGO: What are your proudest moments or achievements?
Nicole: I have to say I am quite proud to have been able to project manage the construction for Verde. Including sorting things such as the sound system, and the various events we have staged, since we launched three months ago.
It feels great when I meet new people who really enjoy what we have to offer; from the music, to our ambiance, staff’s service, food, drinks and accessibility.
There are tons of lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn every day, as new challenges often arise. One key take away though is to always trust in my vision, and to work hard to perfect new skills. I have skills that I never imagined I could be good at doing before.
MY RANGGO: What advice can you give to women your age who want to become entrepreneurs?
Nicole: I would advise young, female entrepreneurs to manage a good balance. Strive hard to get your business running, but always remember the core reason of why you’re doing what you are doing in the first place.
It’s easy to get lost within the passion side of things, when work gets tough and projects get bigger. But take time to always keep the creative juices flowing. Always be open to learning beyond your position, and adapting to anything thrown your way. Because you will be facing a lot of new challenges every day.
MY RANGGO: Finally, Poblacion is very popular and very busy. Do you have recommendations for where to park for those visiting Verde?
Nicole: I would highly recommend taking a Grab. We would always want our customers to drink responsibly and not drink and drive. However if you have a designated driver, I would recommend trying out the street opposite to Verde, or one of public parking lots in the back streets of Poblacion.
Verde, Kalayaan Avenue corner Fermina Street, Poblacion, Makati City
MY RANGGO will be holding the 2nd Magazine Launch Event at Verde, on 5th March 2020.