The Vintner’s Rooms. What a shame

Occasionally, you see a business and idea that you really want to do well, but has the tiniest chance of doing well. The problem is, that with every day that passes, you see the chance of success fading. The small glint of hope you saw at the start being slowly extinguished. You hope that, against all the odds, against the market forces, against the cold world that is capitalism, that it will succeed. It deserved to succeed. But it failed.

A bar with over 1500 different whisky’s. A vintage whisky bar (if you will). One where, if you wanted, you could try a 1965 Talisker, a 1940′s Glenlivet, a 1970′s Longrow, a Highland Park 1902. Super old aged Whisky, Young Whisky, Port, Cognac, Wine. A museum of whisky, and drinks in general. Not just to look at, but to taste. Yes there were expensive whiskies, but there were reasonably priced drams as well.


Whisky Luminaries tried to come down, but at the last minute couldn’t make it. Sean Connery was supposed to come down (they got a 1930 port for his birth year in specially) but was taken ill. Magazines were supposed to profile it, books were supposed to review it. Some did, but many marketing opportunities fell through.

You make your own luck in life. Maybe there wasn’t enough money invested in marketing. . Maybe the pricing needed adjusting. Maybe the concept wasn’t right (Italian fine dining, fine scotch, fine wine). But even after all this, I am still gutted. It would have been a great place to drink, if the atmosphere had been right. Tasting history. Feeling like I was in The Godfather. Thinking “if I want to wow someone of a certain age, I’ll take them to the the Vintner’s and buy them a whisky from their birth year”. It’s a shame that the best Whisky Bar in the UK has gone (was there a better selection in the UK?) not with a bang, but with a wimper. Angry that this kind of place didn’t seem to be able succeed in Leith. Angry at myself for not promoting the place better. Angry that selection isn’t enough, people need atmosphere to drink, and this never happened. Angry that I don’t have enough money to set up my own bar, and do it at a more central location.

If anyone has a million quid, let’s do it. Let’s setup The Vintage Whisky Bar on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. 500 different Whiskies (there are 500 open bottles that need to be sold at the Vintner’s), Venison burgers, handcut chips. A small room where sports could be shown (the Vintage Sports lounge), cask lagers, cask ales. We would make a killing. Just a thought.

Andreas (one of our guest blogger’s) will post something soon about the Vintner’s and probably rant more on this subject.

Some of the Whisky’s we tasted at the Vintner’s:

Auld Alliance, Macallan 1946, Scapa 25, Port Ellen 26

Old Pulteney 18 and Old Pulteney 20

Compass Box


  1. A real shame that, but as Phil and Kirsty say (or so I’m told) – Location, Location, Location.

    It was always going to be ambitious opening a high end whisky bar: 1) a taxi-ride away from the city centre, and 2) directly underneath a pre-existing high-end whisky bar.

    Like I said – a real shame, as the selection in there was truly unbelievable.

  2. whats going to happen to the whisky bottles that are open? perhaps another bar could take them on. What about sharing them among some of the brewdog bars.

  3. A bloody shame. Glad that I had a chance to share it with you in August.

    I’ve got five quid to donate to your million quid bar idea…

  4. a real shame and a great loss to Edinburgh. We had a great night at the Vintners earlier this year trying lots of wee gems. Alas I didn’t try the food but the bar had great potential even speaking as a bar owner.

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