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The Grill Bar Oldest Aberdeen Pub Union Street

Information about The Grill Bar on Union Street in Aberdeen City which is the oldest pub in Aberdeen and stocks a wide range of Scottish malt whisky

The Grill Bar in Aberdeen is a noted Aberdonian pub for several reasons. These are chiefly that The Grill Bar is the oldest pub in Aberdeen that is still used as a pub rather than turned into a restaurant or nightclub. It is also a pub that should be visited by whisky lovers for The Grill Bar at 213 Union Street stocks and serves over 500 different Scottish malt whiskies. The Grill Bar remains a family owned traditional pub favoured by locals and City visitors alike.

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The Grill Bar on Union Street Aberdeen was established in 1870. The name The Grill comes from a time when the establishment was a restaurant run by Mr George Watson. The Grill also had a Billiard Room. The Grill restaurant and dining rooms were then converted into a bar and the name was kept in 1926. The new owner was Mr John Innes who purchased the building in 1925. He employed the architects Jenkins and Marr who included the oxidised bronze fascia panels and the interior mahogany panels. These and the carved back gantry and clock were made by Mr G Fordyce of Archibalds. This makes The Grill bar the oldest Aberdeen pub.

Traditional Long Bar Counter

The interior is an historians dream and has changed little over the years. CAMRA give The Grill bar a special mention because of its pub history. The traditional long bar counter remains. This was carefully installed and held up traffic on Crown Street because it had to be taken into The Grill pub via Windmill Brae and through the Langstane Place windows. Unfortunately the bar counter was taken in the wrong way round and the windows were removed again so that the bar counter could be installed the right way round. The building itself is of grey granite of which Aberdeen, The granite City, is famed. The building dates back to the 1830s.

Men Only Bar Aberdeen

In the early days of the newly opened The Grill women were not permitted into the bar. The Grill remained a men only bar in Aberdeen for many years. There was a sign that said No Ladies Please on the outside and when women did try and get into the men only bar the police were called to remove them. This barring of women remained until 1975 with the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 by Parliament. Several years before the Act was passed there was scandal and commotion when lady delegates to the Scottish Trades Union Congress tried to enter The Grill men only bar in Aberdeen in April 1973. Once more Grampian Police were called to remove the females from the men only bar in Aberdeen and the occurrences made national news. The Grill tolerated women after 1975 but did not install a female toilet until 1998!

Malt Whisky

The Grill bar is conveniently located in the heart of Aberdeen City just opposite The Music Hall. In additional to the hundreds of malt whisky selections The Grill serves a wide selection of draught ale, beer and lager as well as modern bottled beers, ales and lagers. Though no longer a restaurant The Grill sells a wide selection of bar food and traditional Scottish food such as stovies and oatcakes and pies. The new owner of The Grill Aberdeen is Mr Graham Watson, though no relation to the original owner. He took over management of The Grill in 1986 from his father Mr Eddie Watson. Prior to this Graham had worked in The Grill since 1974.

Whiskies from around the world are also available at The Grill on Union Street and this includes whisky from Ireland, America and Japan. These include whisky brands such as Amrut, Ardbeg, Balvenie, Bruichladdich, Cadenheads, Duncan Taylor & Co, Evan Williams, Gordon & MacPhail, Glenfarclas, Glen Grant, Glenmorangie, Glenrothes, Highland Park, Invergordon, Penderyn, Poppy Van Winkle, Macallan, Springbank, Talisker, Yamazaki and Yoichi to name just a few.

There are also historical whiskies kept in display cabinets from distilleries no longer open and these include international whisky from countries such as Canada, Wales, New Zealand and India.

Members of staff at The Grill Aberdeen hold the Certificate of Expertise in the Sales and Service of Scotch Whisky which has entitled The Grill to be a member of the Whisky Embassy which is run by Scotland Whisky.

Whisky Bar Of The Year

In November 2007 The Grill Aberdeen was named the whisky bar of the year by Whisky Magazine. This means that The Grill is entered into the international competition to be crowned the Icon of Whisky 2008.

There are old photos of The Grill pub through the years and a list of the hundreds of Scottish Malt Whiskies at the official The Grill Aberdeen website at

Contact Address and Telephone Number For The Grill Aberdeen

The Grill
213 Union Street

Tel No: (01224) 573530


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