The old ‘Harrods of the East’
Legendary department store
This beautifully restored building used to be British department store Rowe & Co, the most exclusive of its kind in Asia in the early days of the last century. The design by British architect Charles F. Stevens was revolutionary for those days, boosting the city’s first basement, a steel framework, electric lifts and ceiling fans. Rowe & Co was the place to go for Yangon’s elite. This is where the well-heeled liked to spend their money on ‘ladies & gentlemen’s outfitting, crockery, trunks, watches, boots and saddlery’.
New lease of life
During WWII the store was looted. Legend has it that even soldiers were seen leaving Rowe & Co carrying golf clubs…. After nationalisation it was occupied by the Department for Immigration & Manpower for many years, but remained empty since they moved to the new capital. It was the local Ayeyarwady Bank that acquired the building and restored it to its former glory. In November 2014 it reopened its doors as the main branch of AYA Bank.
The magnificent marble lobby is open to the public and has a lovely coffee shop: Rowe Café! Serving cappuccino’s, small snacks and even sushi!