Ladies, imagine yourselves drinking frozen margaritas 5 o’clock in the afternoon, just right about sunset. Only instead of wearing your favorite bikini and Havaianas, you’ll be clad in you’re everyday corporate get-up and your God-awful pinchy high heels.

Since working professionals can’t just leave the rat race and take the next flight out to Bora, the people behind Freshbar are looking to bring some of that beach comfort right in the top floor of posh Greenbelt.

But cocktails aside, Freshbar also serves salads and shakes to satisfy even the most health-conscious beachcomber. It was patterned after salad bars that have become popular in places like New York and Miami, says Cheese Ledesma, who co-owns Freshbar which opened only last December.

“Locally, the concept (of a salad bar) is relatively new. If you feel like eating some salad, you can think of various restaurants to go to but not really a place that serves salads,” says Cheese, who also manages a resort in Boracay, which is no wonder why she envisions as some sort of an oasis in the middle of theme restaurants and coffee shops.

In fact, Freshbar looks the part – white tables and chairs, banana leaves peeking from around and a juice bar right in the middle. Its owners know only too well what constitutes “fresh”. That’s because Cheese and Christine Laman, a lawyer by profession, were responsible for putting up The Big Chill, which, surprisingly, has been around for more than ten years already.

Fresh from finishing college in Georgetown University, the two friends returned home and simply thought of a place that would serve something healthy. Juice bars then weren’t really popular then like they are now, recalls Cheese. She adds: “We were always trying to add food in our stalls, like cookies and muffins. With Freshbar, we wanted to evolve into a lifestyle brand.”

After at least 30 Big Chills around (none of them franchised but under joint ventures), it was proper timing to extend the concept and cater to the South Beach-crazy crowd. But the owners have a caveat about marketing Freshbar for the uber-health conscious, because the greater majority of people may find the place less appealing. Or tawdry, since organic, for some, might equate to boring.

“We want to be recognized as a place that’s fun and serves good food. The healthy aspect should come next,” says Cheese. Aside from fruit shakes of course, Freshbar serves salads that reincarnate readily as sandwiches. Meaning, everybody’s chicken Caesar salad can also be ordered as a sandwich, stuffed in between wheat bread. Or try the California Maki sandwich, which has the tangy mix of mangoes, crab stick, shredded nori (seaweed), dressed in wasabi mayo. It tastes as fun as it sounds.

But where’s the fun in ordering something as common as Caesar salad, right? Cheese says they try to encourage customers to come up with their own salad concoctions by choosing the ingredients and dressing. Similar to fruit shakes, although Cheese says it’s usually foreigners who are more adventurous in mixing and matching fruits that end up the blender.

And to add to the fun, you can put a whiff of spirulina. Which I was told comes from “deer sea algae”. Interesting. Or wheatgrass, which is even more interesting. When “juiced”, a jiggerful, according to Cheese, has the nutritional equivalent of a kilo of greens. Apparently, ordering something at Freshbar can be an educational experience in the realm of the health-conscious. You can even see how it’s done right there at the bar.

And speaking of fun, Cheese, who looks more Bora than corporate Makati with the tan lines and drawstring trousers, is thinking of adding some beach beds and chill out music soon to go along with the planned cocktails-while-sunset ambiance at Freshbar. With summer fast approaching, a little oasis right in the heart of yuppie-land won’t hurt.

Freshbar is located at Level 3 Greenbelt 3, beside National Sports Grill.