RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

New digital initiative toasts finest Scottish pub & bar stories for the first time

1st May 2014 Print
Scotland's Pubs and Bars: A Story to Tell


Scotland’s Pubs and Bars – A Story to Tell, delivered in partnership by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, VisitScotland, Diageo and Tennent Caledonian Breweries.

From ghostly goings on and tributes to local heroes, to the national bard’s nightly antics and the discovery of the next big band, the campaign tells visitors to Scotland about a wide range of intriguing and sometimes surprising stories that pubs and bars have to tell.

The project, which includes a website and app, will encourage UK and international visitors to Scotland to discover the stories behind public houses across the country. The app allows users to access information even when in some of the country’s most remote areas: whether at the top of Scotland’s highest mountain or (for those who have a waterproof phone) at the bottom of the sea.

120 of the country’s most fascinating licensed premises from almost every area of Scotland feature on the website and app, which will be publicised online, in press, through social media and in other marketing material.

Each pub or bar has nominated a resident storyteller among their staff, someone who can delight customers by sharing details of establishment’s exciting and often awe-inspiring history. For example:

The Globe Inn in Dumfries – a favoured watering hole of Robert Burns during his years in Dumfriesshire. The national bard spent many a night in the Inn, even taking a shine to the landlady’s niece. Both the room and chair Burns occupied are still in use today, while a last reminder of his custom - six different verses of his work - can still be seen inscribed in his former bedroom window.

The White Hart Inn in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket – previous patrons includes Robert Burns and his lover Nancy Macklebone, as well as notorious body snatchers Burke and Hare. The infamous pair enticed several of their fellow drinkers back to their nearby lodgings only to murder them and sell their corpses.

The Bankfoot Inn – this Perthshire pub is home to spirits – and not just the alcoholic ones! With a history dating back to the times of the Jacobites, the Bankfoot Inn’s past residents include the “old wifey” and the “wee girl”.

The Belsair on Orkney – a tribute to the island’s girl power, the Bel Sair is named after Bella Sinclair, the first woman telephone exchange operator in the UK. Bella worked in the popular premises, which was once the only exchange for all of the North Isles.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – The legendary Glasgow venue booked its place in the modern music hall of fame after Oasis were famously signed there in 1993. Since 1990, it has showcased new and emerging live music acts such as Radiohead, the Killers, Paolo Nutini and Biffy Clyro to name a few. It also been named the UK’s Best Live Venue’ three years in a row by Radio 1 and ranked seventh in New York Magazine’s top fifty euphoria inducing destinations to visit before you die.

Speaking on the launch of the campaign Paul Waterson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: “The SLTA is delighted that our Pub and Bar Stories campaign, the biggest Scottish pub and bar promotion ever, is now up and running. Every area of the country is represented from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to Argyll and the Borders. The 120 pubs and bars involved can now share their unique stories, not only with their Scottish audience, but through various marketing opportunities, the international visitor. Scottish pubs and bars are an integral part of the communities they serve and have a vital role to play in the success of our tourism business.

“We are proud of our trade, our people and our heritage and are determined to make sure our stories help to make 2014 a special year.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, added: “A visit to a Scottish pub or bar is a great way to experience our country’s famous hospitality and that’s what this campaign is all about - finding, celebrating and sharing the finest Scottish stories from our finest pubs and bars.”

For the latest information, visit, follow @ScotlandsPubs or like on Facebook.

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

Scotland's pubs and bars have a story to tell Scotland's Pubs and Bars: A Story to Tell King Tuts Wah Wah Hut has a story to tell