5 Great Whisky Bars to Visit in Aberdeen

Glencairn Whisky Glass
Glencairn Whisky Glass | © Sascha Wenninger/Flickr

It should come as no great surprise to find that the Granite City, Scotland‘s third largest, has a number of excellent bars in which to sample the nation’s internationally-loved spirit. If you are visiting Aberdeen you will find a range of single malt whiskies in most pubs you enter, but some places are truly magical, with a vast selection to sample. Here are five that deserve special attention.

1. C.A.S.C.

Bar, Pub Grub

Cigars, Ale, Scotch, Coffee. This is what C.A.S.C. stands for, and this is what this bar delivers. With many single cask whiskies to choose from, limited releases and a total of over 500 different bottles, it is fair to say your biggest problem here will be deciding which to sample (fortunately you can order whisky tasting menus too). The staff have a reputation for being able to make great suggestions based on what you ask for and, as an added bonus, they also serve a small but refined selection of tasty nibbles.

2. The Tippling House

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails

The Tippling House offers a wide menu of food, an even wider menu of cocktails, and a whisky list that is outstanding. As well as extensive tasting notes and helpful bar staff, whisky tastings and also food pairings can be booked. If you enjoy whisky cocktails then this is definitely the place to come, just make sure you know where you are going as, like many good things, it is a wee bit hidden.

3. The Illicit Still

Gastropub, Pub Grub

In the heart of Aberdeen, The Illicit Still is named after the days when whisky manufacture was underground (sometimes literally), hidden away in remote glens and cellars to avoid the payment of the tax imposed by the English parliament. The selection of malts here is good, and flights are available to sample different flavours. The bar is cosy and conversation is easy, with booths and a real fire, and the food menu draws heavily on Aberdeen’s history and local flavours of sea, river, and glen.

4. St. Machar Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

To those who drink here, it’s simply The Machar, a traditional pub in the beautiful and photogenic surroundings of Old Aberdeen. Being so close to the university, this is a favourite of some students (and, it is rumoured, also some professors, sneaking out between lectures and seminars), as well as an eclectic mixture of locals and visitors. With over 100 years of history, a range of tasty food, real ales, and over 140 malt whiskies, this is a traditional pub not to be missed if you are visiting Aberdeen.

5. The Grill

Pub, Pub Grub

Said to be one of the best whisky bars in Scotland and, therefore, the world. The whiskies on offer in The Grill number around 600, from every corner of the nation (and further afield). If you only have time to visit one bar when in Aberdeen, this has to be it. Situated in the centre of the city and originally (in 1870) a restaurant, the bar has barely altered since it was converted in 1926. Mahogany, exquisite plasterwork and beautiful fixtures, this is more than a pub, it is living history. All whiskies are served in a Glencairn glass, and there are flights available to try new flavours. Do not hesitate to talk to the staff, who will be more than happy to suggest drinks or show you the thick list so you can choose yourself. This really is a bar experience that the whisky lover will not forget.

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