Let’s venture to the heart of whisky country. With the glorious Speyside region just next door, the city of Aberdeen and the lovely towns and villages of Aberdeenshire are perfect spots to base yourself in if you’re a fan of the globally-adored spirit. Stay in the city and discover some fabulous whisky bars, or venture out a little further to Aberdeenshire and book a room at an amazing traditional pub or hotel.
Read on to discover some of the best Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire whisky experiences.
1. Carmelite Hotel
What’s the dram of choice at the Carmelite Hotel? Tricky to choose as their whisky selection and menu is massive, but it might be something from Glen Garioch, one of the closest distilleries to Aberdeen. Keep an eye out for regular tasting events hosted in this chic city-centre hotel by whisky ambassador Ros Wardley-Smith or be sure to catch live piano or jazz in the bar, the perfect accompaniment to your whisky!
Visit The Carmelite.
Cigars, Ale, Scotch, Coffee – what’s not to love about this amazing bar? Just opposite the Carmelite Hotel, there are over 500 delectable drams to choose from. Stirling Street pub crawl, anyone?
3. Illicit Still
This bar is located near impressive Marischal College, offering an excellent choice of single malts, local gins, craft beers and a special ‘illicit’ brew! Whisky was made here back in the days when it needed to be created on the down low. But it is no secret now that this pub is a perfect spot for relaxing after a day admiring the unique architecture of this sparkling city.
4. St Machar Bar
With over 140 whiskies on offer, the St Machar is a cosy traditional pub on the edge of the Aberdeen’s Old Town. Serving up delicious food and drink, including stovies served in flower pots and scrummy skinny fries, this wee bar is ideal for a cosy drink and a bite to eat. You can bring your dog too!
5. Tippling House
The cocktails in this Belmont Street tavern will tempt you away from the shops on Union Street. With a speakeasy feel and bartenders who pride themselves on their creative flavour combinations, this hidden haunt is one to bookmark. Book a whisky tasting session from the bar’s Tasting Academy.
6. Garden Arms Hotel
Pootle down some winding roads and find yourself at the beautiful coastal town of Gardenstown near Banff. Discover this smashing wee pub, combining 18th century charm with lots of whisky choices. Book a room here and spend time exploring the quiet fishing villages of the Banffshire Coast, admiring seascapes and relaxing in this peaceful part of Aberdeenshire.
Visit the Garden Arms Hotel.
7. The Cave Bar, Meldrum House Hotel
The Cave Bar is part of the original manor house which dates back to 1236 and their Whisky Club is housed within the larder and store room. You can feel the history of exquisite VisitScotland 4 gold star Meldrum House all around – you might find yourself wondering what drams the Laird might have enjoyed in this beautiful manor in his day. The bar serves classic cocktails, including a whisky sour and an old fashioned, with a Scottish twist.
Visit the Meldrum House Hotel.
8. The Ship Inn, Stonehaven
This harbour-front pub in the lovely seaside town of Stonehaven is always an absolute treat. Eat the freshest seafood at the Captain’s Table and mull over the extensive whisky collection in the Lounge Bar. With a cosy fire for the chillier nights and a terrace for when the sun shines, there’s never a bad time to visit this nautical gem.
Visit The Ship Inn.
9. The Flying Stag at the Fife Arms, Braemar
Last but certainly not least, prepare to be amazed by this beautifully restored Victorian coaching inn. With incredible décor, elaborate ceilings and an impressive collection of art and design to ogle at, if you’re staying over in one of the beautiful bedrooms, , a trip to the Flying Stag public bar offers a fabulous selection of drams. And, don’t miss Elsa’s Bar if you’re looking for beautifully crafted cocktails.
If you’re looking to extend your whisky experiences in the area, don’t miss the fantastic Secrets Malts of Aberdeenshire – Ardmore, Fettercairn, GlenDronach, the aforementioned Glen Garioch, Glenglassaugh, Knockdhu and Royal Lochnagar all offer visitor experiences.