Jo Golding heads down to The Old Granary Bar for a personalised cocktail experience
“Where was he, where was Del Boy?” customers excitedly asked the bar staff as they took their seats inside The Old Granary Bar. An odd question to ask a bartender, but this was no ordinary bar.
The Granary is not only famous for its previous life as a music venue (think Motorhead, Slash and Def Leppard), it is also where the iconic ‘falling through the bar’ scene in Only Fools and Horses was filmed. While the countertop remains fully locked in place now (to avoid any more failed flirting attempts, I assume), the TV trivia is still a big pull.
As we sat down at a cosy, candlelit table, the bartender told us to “forget the menu”. Slightly surprised at this ‘off-menu’ approach, he informed us that their specialty was creating cocktails based on customers’ favourite flavours and spirits.
I asked for something sweet and fruity with vodka, whilst my companion opted for a stronger-tasting beverage made with whisky. Unfazed by the challenge, he brought us back two perfectly presented drinks. The first was a deliciously light, long cocktail made with vodka, Chambord, raspberry and apple syrup and blackberry jam – garnished with mint, blueberries and raspberries. It was smooth and sweet, without being overpowering.
For the whisky cocktail, Angostura bitters, plum, blackberry jam and a pinch of black pepper were mixed together and squeezed down into a concentrate. A traditional old-fashioned was added on top, making it a refreshing take on a
It’s worth noting that the bar makes its own syrups. We tried six, including spiced pineapple, lemon and mint, raspberry and apple, grapefruit and pomegranate, green tea, and rosemary and orange. I’d recommend asking which ones they have on the night and going for a cocktail based around your favourite.
That’s what I did next, choosing the lemon and mint syrup. What came back was a truly unique take on a tequila shot.
A shot glass containing hibiscus extract was placed upside down in a glass of tequila and lemon and mint syrup, with a lemon wedge sat on top. The bartender removed the shot glass, allowing the drink to swirl together and turn a deep shade of purple. A squeeze of lemon added sourness and turned the drink pinker with each drop. Reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie, it was delicious.
Or you could try their infusions, which change weekly. We were treated to gin infused with rosemary, pear and pomegranate, which was fruity yet herbal and a delight even for someone who doesn’t normally enjoy the bitter taste of gin.
Located directly beneath Loch Fyne, the bar is dimly lit and intimate, with limited phone signal – perfect for escaping from the busy city. But if you’re after an alfresco pint in the sun, you’re better off on close by King Street or Welsh Back.
It’s suitable for both a quick pit stop, as it also stocks a range of wine, cider and beer, and something more memorable, with its inventive cocktails the star of the show.
“You take one sip and think ‘oh, it’s like this’, then take another and completely change your mind. Instead of just necking a few drinks, here it’s all about having an experience,” the bartender told me.
So, for a purely personalised cocktail experience or a city retreat, The Old Granary Bar delivers.
The Old Granary Bar
51 Queen Charlotte Street
07889 634 824