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From Bar To Bar: A Lawyer’s Journey To Mixing Drinks And Chasing Dreams

From Bar To Bar: A Lawyer’s Journey To Mixing Drinks And Chasing Dreams

Justin Chong, a seasoned lawyer with over six years of experience, never imagined he would find himself behind a bar, mixing drinks and creating a haven for friends to connect.

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In the heart of Taman Bukit Desa lies a hidden gem, a cocktail bar called Conti’.

The mastermind behind this establishment is Justin Chong, a man who has spent the last six years navigating the complex world of law.

But despite his success in the legal field, Chong found himself drawn to the art of mixology and the joy of creating a space where friends can gather, sit down, and engage in meaningful conversations.

Born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, Chong dedicated five years of his life to studying law, a journey that would lead him to a career as a respected lawyer.

However, as the years passed, he noticed a shift in the legal landscape.

The Fading Glamour of Being a Lawyer

The rates for lawyer services had declined in recent years, with rumors of letters of demand being offered for as low as RM15.

The once-glamorous profession seemed to lose some of its luster, and Chong found himself yearning for something more.

It was then that he decided to take a leap of faith and pursue his passion for bartending as a side hustle.

Together with a friend, Chong opened Conti’, a cocktail bar that aims to provide a unique experience for its patrons.

“We wanted to create a place where people can sit down and talk, especially for friends to meet up,” Chong explains to TRP.

Many drinking places can be noisy and not conducive for quality conversation, so we aimed to provide a space that encourages meaningful interactions and allows people to truly connect with one another. I’ve often found myself in bars where I had to shout to be heard, and the conversations felt superficial at best.

Chong on why a great cocktail bar should not only serve exceptional drinks, but also foster an environment where people can engage in heartfelt discussions and strengthen their bonds.

Little did he know that his bartending skills would soon be recognized on a larger scale.

The Magic of Bols’ Advocaat

In a surprise win, Chong’s creation, “Sunny Side Dutch,” took home a prize at the prestigious Bols Cocktail Battle in Woobar, W Hotel.

The local edition of the competition, which challenges bartenders from around the world, was hosted by Luen Heng F&B, the leading foods & beverages supplier in Malaysia.

The event took place at the stylish Woobar in W Hotel, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

Mixing It Up: Chong, the lawyer-turned-bartender, shakes things up at the Bols Cocktail Battle with his winning concoction, “Sunny Side Dutch.” (Pix: Luen Heng F&B)

Chong’s winning cocktail, which features Bols’ Advocaat, a traditional Dutch drink made with eggs, sugar and brandy, gave Chong the confidence he needed to pursue his newfound passion further.

Now, a year after its opening, Conti’ continues to thrive, with Chong and his team constantly innovating and creating new experiences for their customers.

Their latest menu features a range of special drinks, including the popular Moutai (Chinese distilled liquor) cocktails, which have become quite a hit among patrons.

Finding Fulfillment Beyond the Courtroom

For Chong, the journey from lawyer to bartender has been one of self-discovery and joy.

“Every job has its own worth, as long as the person enjoys it,” he shares.

“My advice? If you have an interest, please go ahead and do it.”

As he stands behind the bar, mixing drinks and chatting with customers, Chong serves as an inspiration to those who dare to dream beyond the confines of their current profession.

His story reminds us that life is too short to settle for anything less than what truly makes us happy and that sometimes, the most fulfilling adventures lie just beyond our comfort zones.

Raising the Bar: Chong celebrates his victory at the Bols Cocktail Battle, proudly holding his well-deserved prize alongside Bols’ finest. From left to right: Rafal Jedrzejczak, Lucas Bols and Galliano Brand Ambassador; Lim Yi Chiann, China Press alcohol writer & editor for and Bystrik Uko, Lucas Bols and Galliano Brand Ambassador. (Pix: Luen Heng F&B)

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