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The Best Bars To Wet Your Whistle In Aberdeen
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The Best Bars To Wet Your Whistle In Aberdeen

Picture of Alex MacKay
Updated: 9 February 2017
It’s famous for its granite architecture, proximity to the North Sea oil fields and being steamrolled over by Donald Trump to make way for another one of his golf-courses, but where do the good folk of Aberdeen go for a wee dram? Here is our definitive guide to the best bars in Aberdeen.
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The Grill

The Grill is one of Aberdeen’s oldest and most famous pubs, having originally opened in 1870 and remaining virtually unchanged since 1926. As such, the unique mahogany veneer panelling and oxidised-bronze frontage befitting The Grill’s period have ensured that CAMRA placed it in their directory of Historic Pub interiors. The pub is synonymous with quality dram; not content with a decent range of cask ales and draught and bottled lagers, The Grill takes pride in its 600 malt whiskies lining the gantry, including Scottish and global offerings. Whisky ‘flights’ are available to the hesitant drinker wherein four whiskies are lined up by distillery, age and region to offer a wide range of flavours to compare and contrast. The pub also serves as an ideal pit-stop location on the way to a gig at the adjacent Aberdeen Musical Hall.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am – 12am

Watch out for: The historic pub interior

213 Union St, Aberdeen, Aberdeen City AB11 6BA, +44 1224 573530

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The Tippling House

Describing itself as a ‘subterranean late-night tavern serving boutique spirits, hand-crafted cocktails, fine Scottish ales and inspired casual dining’, The Tippling House captures a 1930s speakeasy vibe to result in a cocktail lover’s dream. The whole venture came about via cocktail catering company 10 Dollar Shake with this, its first bar/restaurant that opened in 2012, aiming to deliver the company’s goal of a high-end imbibing experience. Tipples include the ‘Dufftown Boilermaker’ (Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch, Amaro Montenegro, Orgeat, fresh lemon and Drygate Gladeye IPA), the ‘Charlie Brown’s Pumpkin Patch’ (Rittenhouse rye whiskey, Cynar and seasonal pumpkin consommé) and ‘A Shadow Over Innsmouth’ (Ketel One Genever, Caol Ila peated single malt, Lapsang Souchong tea & kelp syrup, squid ink). Some of the delectable culinary offerings, available every-day from 5pm – 10pm, range from white crab mac and cheese to slow-cooked beef shin and blue cheese croquettes.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 4pm – 2am; Friday and Saturday: 4pm – 3am

Watch out for: The ‘Dufftown Boilermaker’

4 Belmont St, Aberdeen, Aberdeen City AB10 1JE

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Brewdog

The founding member (and now flagship bar) of the Brewdog craft beer pub empire, Brewdog Aberdeen still remains one of the Granite City’s finest watering holes, in spite of moves to commercialise the brand with t-shirts and placards decorating the pub. In 2010, the former Marischal pub was thoroughly sledgehammered and given a fresh lick of paint to make way for this pioneering on-premise brewery, which still features a healthy selection of its own draught beers on tap, not to mention a rotation of one hundred or so Brewdog favourites and guest beers from the likes of European and international brewers such as Mikkeller, Stone, Nonge O and Three Floyds.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 12pm – 12am; Friday and Saturday: 12pm – 1am

Watch out for: A UK craft beer pioneer

17 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, Aberdeen City AB25 1EB, +44 1224 631223

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Bos’n

Bos’n is variously a tapas bar, social club and dive bar with an overall Latin-American theme. The concept adheres to the popular bar decor style of upcycled and repurposed furniture, with its palette boards and coffee sacks lining the floors, but manages to steer clear of pretentiousness with playful touches such as mini umbrellas in the cocktails. Those cocktails are indeed the real stars of the show, reflecting the bar’s love of sugarcane and agave-based spirits, Red Stripe lager and slushy drinks. Try out the ‘Bos’n Michelada’ (Arette Blanco Tequila, tomato juice and a house blend of mixed spices topped up with beer) and the classic Mai Tai. The Latin American tapas plates include lamb quesadillas, pressed pork cheek and mango, and Shetland blue mussel, fiesta veg and wasabi mayo. Bos’n is situated within The Aberdeen Academy, an upscale retail mall in a converted school replete with designer brand stores and additional fine dining, so Bos’n patrons can satisfy their retail therapy cravings after drinks, or alternately refuel after a shopping session.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 10am – 6pm; Saturday: 9am – 6pm; Sunday: 12pm – 5pm

Watch out for: The Bos’n Michelada

Belmont St, Aberdeen AB10 1LB, +44 1224 633009