Good places to enjoy a dram…

Good places to enjoy a dram…

As the ‘Mash Tunners’ seem to be ‘on-tour’ a fair bit we created a page to let people know some of our favourite places to enjoy a dram. Whisky is great drink to enjoy, but some places do it better than others. From the right glasses, to a wide variety of drams, and having the right atmosphere, every place does it different. We have now added a few more places and in our opinion each of them is a great place to enjoy a dram!



The Grill bar – Located on Union Street the grill bar looks quite unassuming from the outside, and is a very much a ‘traditional’ Scottish pub on the inside. Forget all that though! The bar staff are fantastic and really know their whiskies. They also have a fantastic range of drams, every whisky comes in a Glencairn glass, and it has a good atmosphere – what more can we say! This is a great place to enjoy a dram!



SMWS (Vaults – Leith) – Where do we start with this one. I think we (The Mash Tun) all agree that this is one of our favourite places to enjoy a dram. It looks very much like a ‘gentleman’s club’ but has none of the pretention that goes along with that. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) bottles all its own whiskies from over 130 distilleries, and they do it better than most. The drams are fantastic and varied, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the environment is second to none. On top of all that the bar staff are very well versed in whisky and extremely helpful. In short, if you want to enjoy a dram visit the Vaults, you won’t be disappointed.

Note: SMWS venues are members only.


SMWS (Queen Street) – The SMWS at Queen Street is a more central location for the Whisky Society in Edinburgh. It’s not as traditional or ‘old worldly’ as the Vaults (see above) but definitely has its place. It’s modern, contemporary, grand, and stylish. They have a fantastic range of SMWS whiskies, and like all of the society venues, the bar staff are extremely well versed in whisky and always happy to help. It is a great place to enjoy a dram in central Edinburgh.

Note: SMWS venues are members only.,_Street_Edinburgh


Balmoral Whisky Bar – When we first heard that the Balmoral Hotel had opened its own whisky bar we weren’t sure what to expect. It’s elegant, classy, and everything else you would expect from the Balmoral. The greatest thing about it though is the fact it’s the whisky that shines through. Michal and Fraser (along with the rest of the guys there) really know their whiskies, and they have a fantastic range to offer you. It’s very welcoming and every dram comes in a Glencairn glass. On top of that the dram is usually accompanied with nibbles and chocolate that’s designed to complement the whisky. It’s certainly a great place to enjoy a whisky in the East End of Edinburgh!



The Imperial Bar – A short walk from Central Station this is a hidden ‘whisky gem’. We stumbled upon this pub by accident and are very glad we did! It’s a ‘traditional Scottish Pub’ and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s welcoming, friendly, reasonably priced, and Yvonne and the guys have a great selection of whisky for you to try – and all in quarter gill (35ml) measures! It’s one of these pubs you could just sit in all night and work your way through the drams. Great whiskies, good atmosphere, and friendly staff and clientele – what more can we say!


The Pot Still – This may be one of the more famous whisky bars in Glasgow but there is a good reason for that! Its whisky range defies belief and the Murphy family are always on hand to welcome you in and suggest a nice dram if the choice is too much for you! It has a homely feel and provides cracking Scottish grub too. The whiskies always come in Glencairn glasses, and that combined with the atmosphere and whisky selection makes this is a fantastic place to enjoy a dram!


The Ben Nevis – This is another one of those bars you could just sit in all night and work your way along the back shelf from left to right! All the whiskies are quarter gill (35ml) measures and are served in Glencairn glasses. They also have a fantastic range to offer and always have a ‘special’ dram as their malt of the month. Elaine and the rest of the staff are very welcoming and more than happy to recommend you a dram too. It’s yet another great place to enjoy a dram!



SMWS (Greville Street) – The SMWS in London reminds us of a much smaller version of Queens Street in Edinburgh. It’s compact, modern, stylish, and although by far the smallest of the 3 society venues it has the added ‘boast’ of having the widest selection of SMWS whiskies. The bar staff are all excellent and really do know their stuff. We definitely recommend this place for a dram in London.

Note: SMWS venues are members only.,_London


New York

The St. Andrews bar in New York is probably New York’s biggest and best known Scottish bar; don’t let that put you off though! This is a fantastic place to enjoy a whisky. They have a fantastic selection and are always happy to advise you on what to try. This is a friendly and welcoming bar with a good selection of whiskies and beers. We were most impressed to find Innes and Gunn (Edinburgh based beer) in there too the last time we visited – superb!


Las Vegas

The Double Helix in Las Vegas is a couple of miles off the strip in a place called Town Square. Town Square is has mini-parks, palm trees, retail outlets, restaurants, and cool little bars. None of these bars is better than the Double Helix. Famed for wine it actually has a fantastic selection of whiskies too. It also has excellent food and a great outdoor area where you can sit and enjoy a dram and one of their fine cigars if the feeling takes you. Jessica and the guys behind the bar have great knowledge of wine, bourbon, and whisky, and are always happy to suggest a dram and answer questions. If you are in Las Vegas and fancy a whisky, jump in a cab and visit the Double Helix – you won’t regret it!