A BAR where everyone knows your name, in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston, Massachusetts. A thriving whisky bar and restaurant in the northern Dutch city of Alkmaar. A popular pub in Chicago, a few minutes' drive from Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs baseball team. A convivial whisky pub in the centre of Paris. What links them?

All, it turns out, are owned by enterprising Scots expats. They come from diverse backgrounds, but all of them have made a success of bringing the distinctive pleasures of Scottish food and drink to the natives as well as tourists.


THE Haven occupies a site in Perkins Street, in Jamaica Plain's Hyde Square. The locals know the neighbourhood as 'J.P.' As to its name, one theory, according to the local TV station WBZ-TV, is that it came about because local people benefited from the 'Triangle trade of sugar, rum and slaves'.

The Haven is owned by Jason Waddleton, 50. He attended school in Stonehaven, then went to Glasgow University. His kitchen career had begun in Stonehaven's Tolbooth restaurant; in Glasgow he worked in Blackfriar's, in the Merchant City, and Jinty McGinty's, on Ashton Lane. He moved to Boston in 1998, was named Best Bartender in Boston 2006, and started The Haven in 2010, naming it after the Stonehaven fish and chip shop that created the Deep Fried Mars Bar.

The idea behind the new operation was, he says, to bring authentic Scottish cuisine to the United States. "We make our own haggis, black pudding and Lorne sausage, and we serve tattie scones, Scotch eggs, bridies, oatcakes instead of bread; we serve haddock for fish and chips. We do cranachan – and, of course, deep-fried Mars bars."

Funny thing, the haggis. Before opening The Haven, he was asked repeatedly, "You're not going to sell haggis, are you?" And suddenly he knew that, yes, he had to serve it. "Because people have a strong opinion about it," he told the Eater Boston food magazine a couple of years ago. "There's this interplay over a dish, which is hilarious. I don't know many dishes that can create that level of interest or harmony or disharmony at the same moment."

"We serve exclusively Scottish beer," he tells us. "Last year we were the biggest seller of Belhaven in the US. Harviestoun, Orkney Brewery, Thistly Cross Cider, Traquair House and Innis and Gunn all feature on the menu as well as Tennent's." Whisky? "Only single malt," he says firmly. "No bourbon, rye or Irish whiskey. No rum or vodka. We do sell Scottish gins, though: Rock Rose, Edinburgh Gin, Caorunn, Hendricks."

In common with many bars, The Haven stages regular events, including some with local purveyors. The Spurs-Newcastle English Premier game was screened recently. It partners with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for monthly Scotch nights. Its annual Burns Night runs to five nights a week. Waddleton says his pub was integral to the upcoming moving of the Burns Statue to its original location in the Fenway area after being in the wrong place for 45 years. “At Hogmanay in 2011 and 2012 we replicated the famed Stonehaven Hogmanay fireballs – on a much smaller scale, of course – to local fascination and it become the first time the Fireballs were displayed outside Scotland."

He remembers the crowds that surged into The Haven on the night of Scotland's independence referendum, to watch the unfolding coverage on television when the bar became the "de facto media centre for US TV coverage".

What are the joys and challenges of running a busy pub in a city like Boston? "I love the hustle and bustle where every day is different and there are always new challenges and another event just round the corner," he says. "Being in a tourist-centric city like Boston affords the opportunity to meet people from all over the world throughout the year whilst keeping a connection to home."

The Haven, it turns out, is a home-from-home for touring Scottish musicians when they play in Boston. Frightened Rabbit once watched a Scotland football game there. And Glasgow indie-rock band Honeyblood recently had lunch there, too.



THE Duke of Perth was established in 1989. As it says on its website, it brings the "true essence of pub culture" to the Windy City. Its pedigree is illustrated by the fact that it holds a certificate, awarded by Whisky Magazine, as A Great Whisky Bar of the World.

There's an unmistakeable Scottish flavour to its extensive menu: Christine MacLeod's smoked mackerel pate ('named for Scotland's greatest chef'); tattie skins, a Robert the Bruce burger, the James Watt sandwich, Hebridean leek pie.

The pub, on North Clark Street, is run by Colin Cameron, who was born and raised in Broughty Ferry. "I was a police officer in Forfar, leaving in 1989 after becoming disillusioned after seeing so many of my friends growing moustaches and buying Ford Fiestas – not that there's anything wrong with either, but I was looking for something different," Cameron says.

"I came to Chicago to visit a cousin who was living here and after a few months of vacation we were talking and decided Chicago needed a Scottish pub. He owned a building that had an old closed restaurant space that had been proving difficult to rent and we decided to give it a go. Our joint restaurant experience was I worked for a couple of months as a bartender in the railway workers' social club in Dundee before I joined the police."

He spent the next two months repurposing the space to resemble what he and his cousin thought a pub should be. It was all done on a shoestring budget, using the equipment from the closed restaurant, and antique furniture. Most of the antiques, it turns out, came from Loves Auctions in Perth.

"We finally opened the doors in July of 1989 on a wing and a prayer. I stumbled along learning lessons every day and gradually turned the Duke of Perth into a thriving business. We concentrated on having the best Scottish beer and whisky we could get our hands on.

"Very few people had any knowledge of single malt at this time but we went out and procured every malt we could get our hands on starting with about a dozen which gradually grew to over 100. We also started selling McEwan’s export, which we were able to get in draught.

"At this time there were no micro-brews available and most beer sold in the States was American-style lagers. We found ourselves in a great situation with great products we were passionate about. Very quickly we became McEwan’s number one seller in the States – we might have been one of only a few places selling it, though.

"We also set out wanting to have good-quality, home-made comfort food. We decided to have a few traditional pub items like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie but also to have the American staples like first-class burgers that we gave names to, such as the Sean Connery burger – 'broiled, not shhhhtirrred'.

"After a few months we decided to Americanise our fish and chips by making it All You Can Eat, which really started things moving for us. After a few years McEwan’s became unavailable in Chicago but Belhaven stepped in, filling the void."

The Duke of Perth has just marked its 30th anniversary and is now one of the older establishments in the city.

It has been a "wonderful" experience, reflects Cameron. "Over the years I've tried to do what feels right, putting the essence of the 'pub' before short-term commercial gratification. The most obvious example of this is the absence of televisions: we lose considerable business when the sports teams are playing but our customers over the years love that you actually can have a conversation without your attention being constantly dragged away.

"Our customer base has been primarily neighbourhood with the occasional Scottish or UK visitor. The Scottish/UK expats I know in the States all share a common trait in that they truly assimilate with the American culture. They don’t tend to flock together, trying to create a home from home. This is a characteristic I'm very proud of in our expats. This is what a pub should be: a place for the neighborhood to gather to eat and have a drink."



IN the fourth arrondissement in the City of Light is The Pure Malt, as Scottish a name as you could hope for. It says with pride that it is Paris's "only Scottish-owned, Scottish-run Scottish pub." Its excellent range of whiskies is from Islay, the Highlands, Speyside and the Lowlands.

It is owned by Colin Shepherd, 53, an Aberdeen-born former IT project manager with a degree in computing, who moved to Paris in 2001. “The Malt is a great wee pub and I'm proud to be carrying that torch,” he says. The photographs on the pub website show a brilliantly convivial sort of place.

"After the company I worked for was bought out," 'Shep' says, recalling his earlier career, "I was a victim of 'restructuring' and lost my job. This coincided with a global downturn and this, coupled with a fairly high salary, meant I was unable to find another position.

"After a year of unemployment I heard that The Pure Malt was available for sale. It was the very first bar I ever drank in in Paris so I had a bit of a Victor Kiam moment – I’m showing my age there – and bought the bar in March, 2009.”

The bar went relatively well for its first seven years, turnover increasing every year, but things changed drastically for Colin on the night of November 13, 2015. He was at the city’s Bataclan venue when terrorists attacked and killed 90 people.

“Leaving my own post-traumatic stress disorder aside, the impact on the business was catastrophic and long lasting. Tourism, in particular the British and American market, dropped by around 80 per cent. When the dust settled a new and more worrying change had occurred. The fourth arrondissement is very centrally located and was the most popular arrondissement in Paris. Suddenly locals didn’t want to socialise in the centre of town anymore.

“What we saw is that areas that were previously ‘undesirable’ were quickly gentrified and became the new hot areas – 10th, 19th, 20th arrondissements. This change caused a massive downturn in trade at, not only the bar, but the neighbourhood businesses in general.”

The Pure Malt began to lose money. Colin received some post-Bataclan compensation from the French government, every penny of which he put into the bar. Additionally, the recent “Gillet jaunes” protests in the city have had an adverse impact on his Saturday takings.

“But it’s not all doom and gloom,” he is at pains to emphasise. “Thanks to the terrible events of four years ago I now have a new, large 'family' of fellow survivors who pop in to the bar from time to time.”

Most of The Pure Malt’s clientele is, in order, passing local trade, tourists and expats. “Whisky is very popular in France and the French do love the Scots, still”, he says. “I work the bar on my own with the exception of Sundays when a good friend works to allow me to rest up.”

The Pure Malt has attracted many numerous postive reviews on Trip Advisor. “Bartender was effing awesome,” reads one review. “it was nice to see a bartender older than me.”

“I love this place so much,” says another. “I can't begin to describe how much it has felt like a second home when I've been. The staff and owner are amazing and the crowd is FUN. I can't wait to go back!”



THERE is very little that Wullie Macmorald does not know about whisky. His Hielander restaurant and whisky bar in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, has won numerous awards, and Wullie himself has been inaugurated into the Order of Keeper of the Quaich, in Scotland. He launched the annual Hielander Whisky Festival, and, together with some friends, began one of Holland’s oldest whisky clubs.

Wullie, a professional, French-trained chef for many years, started working for the Caledonian Hotel company in Ayr, in the early 1970s. At the end of the decade he decided to go abroad, and worked in the catering trade in France, Amsterdam, Spain and Greece.

“When you’re young and single and living in places like Paris, or Barcelona, or on a little Greek island for a year and a half, your outlook on life changes considerably", he says.

“Eventually I decided to stop travelling and go back to Scotland. I stopped back in Amsterdam to look up all my old mates; I was there for three days and was offered a job, and that was that. That was nearly 40 years ago and I’ve been here ever since.”

He and his wife Gerie first opened a French bistro in Alkmaar, but it did not do well in its first six months. In 1989 the city marked the 50th anniversary of its twinning with Bath with an English Week: the organisers said to him, ‘You’ll be taking part because you’re English, aren’t you?’ This happened several times, and it understandably grated with Wullie.

On the spur of the moment he and Grete opted to have their own Scottish Week, advertising some Scottish dishes, such as Cullen Skink, on a blackboard. It paid off. “That week was probably the busiest we had had,” says Wullie, “and we extended the week into a month, to see how it would turn out, and it kept getting busier.”

The result, eventually, was a new, distinctively Scottish restaurant and whisky bar, Hielander. “We’ve never looked back,” says Wullie. “We’ve been the best restaurant in the city on Trip Advisor for the last 12 years. We were Businessman of the Year, in 2014, and since 2007 we've won the title of best restaurant in North Holland award nine times, and second place twice."

"We’re doing really well, offering traditional Scottish with a modern twist. We produce every single thing ourselves – we smoke our own salmon, we make our own pates, we bone the meat and fillet the chicken, we make fresh bread every morning.”

The Hielander is open five days a week and is fully booked two or three weeks in advance. Its starters include Hebridean salmon and Scotch eggs, while mains range from Speyside venison to Highland chicken. Ribeye steaks are a popular option, and the strong seasonal menu includes Deeside salmon, and Ayrshire veal.

Wullie is also delighted with the success he’s enjoyed as a respected whisky connoisseur. It all sounds like a fantastic way of life. “It’s great,” says Wullie. “Holland has been absolutely brilliant to me.”