The Grill

213 Union Street, Aberdeen

What is it: As you walk past The Grill you are probably right in thinking it is not the most welcoming of frontages. This is probably due to the fact that it hasn't changed much in a very long time. To me it’s beautiful and a snapshot of what a bar looked like when a pub was a pub. There has been a pub here since 1830 and the interior hasn’t changed since its refurbishment in 1925. Local architects Jenkins & Marr transformed the pub. The distinctive exterior features oxidised-bronze fascia panels and scroll work, and inside, the walls are covered with panelled mahogany veneer, with a finely-carved back gantry and clock, and beautiful oval-shaped moulded plasterwork. Pride of place is occupied by the long mahogany bar counter.

This is not a modern pub. You won't find ambient lighting and a juke box here: it’s a place for having a drink and talking to each other. I am actually surprised that mobile phones haven't been banned yet.

Interesting fact: Believe it or not, from 1925 until the mid 1970s, women were not allowed in the pub. Apparently a sign was placed on the wall outside that stated, “No Ladies Please”, with the police being called if they tried to come in. This barring of women remained until 1975 with the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act by Parliament, though even after that, the bar was distinctly male: there was no female toilet until 1998. Luckily the new owners don't feel the same and everyone is welcome at The Grill.

Verdict: It’s a bold statement but this is definitely one of my top five pubs on the planet. It ticks all the boxes I look for in a classic whisky pub.

Drink: There's a superb selection of cask ales here but it's the whisky collection that really does it for me. There are more than 600 to choose from and the staff here know their stuff so don't be scared about telling them the style you like and let them guide you to find some amazing new whiskies.

Food: In 1870, around 40 years after opening, the venue became a restaurant, which is where the name comes from. For whatever reason the name has stuck and never been changed. However there is little chance these days of getting anything warmed up, never mind grilled.

Prices: Always decent prices here to keep the regulars and travelling whisky-lovers happy. This is still a locals’ pub and the prices reflect that.

Children: Only the grown ups allowed here, which for some people is an added bonus.

Alfresco: You’ll need to make your way out to Union street for some fresh air.

Perfect for: Aberdeen has a great bar scene, especially when it comes to cocktails. I like taking folks who haven't been to the city before to bars like The Tippling House and Orchid for some cocktails before taking them to The Grill for a proper pub experience.

Avoid if: You prefer moody lighting, a seat and some light jazz playing in the background as you enjoy your single malt whisky.

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