Food & Drink: Vladimir McTavish's whisky haunts

Some of the best places in town to enjoy a dram

Review by Vladimir McTavish | 30 Jul 2010
  • Vladimir McTavish

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a private members’ club, but not at all up its own arse. They have two branches: one in Leith and one on Queen Street, a few minutes’ walk from The Stand Comedy Club. Quite simply, they offer the best selection of single malts in the world, all of which are cask strength (i.e. get you blootered quicker).

The Star Bar is one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets, hidden away in a mews in the New Town, just off Northumberland Street. Great beer, a great range of malts, a great beer garden and 3D TV. The screen is situated above the main door as you enter the pub, so when they are showing a football game in 3D the first thing you see as you go in the door is a whole load of people wearing dark glasses looking straight at you.

Spier’s Bar on Ferry Road may appear to be a theme pub, but in reality nothing has changed since 1974 – not the décor, nor the clientele. If you are a fan of combover haircuts, this is the place to drink. I was once in here on a Sunday afternoon at around 5pm, and a guy had fallen asleep right beneath the dartboard. However, this didn’t stop people the pub darts team from continuing their match, in the course of which he never woke up.

Vladimir McTavish in Whisky: An Idiot's Guide
The Stand Comedy Club III & IV
4-29 August, (not 5, 16, 23), 6:50pm, £8-£9