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‘Bucket list’ whisky bar reopens after £500k refurb

An Edinburgh whisky bar housing one of the world’s biggest collections of rare single malts has opened its doors to customers once again following extensive work.

The Vaults whiskey bar in Leith is home to more than 2,000 limited-edition bottles, making it one of the most impressive line-ups of single malts across the globe.

Described as “the spiritual home” of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, the bar has installed as part of its recent £500,000 refurbishment a new 15ft-high bar to showcase its treasures. The impressive new bar, which stretches 30ft across the room, is made entirely from oak and was designed by the interior design studio Surface-ID and built by BJM Design Ltd.

The cherry on the top of the cake is the inscription which sits in the middle of the bar, which reads: ‘The people who said it couldn’t be done were so dull’.

The words echo a quote from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s founder Pip Hills, who said he was warned by many people that a club dedicated to single cask single malt whisky would never work.

40 years on, the Society has amassed almost 40,000 members in 20+ countries across the world.

Housed in a 12th Century building, which was once a former wine merchant’s business, The Vaults is widely considered to be a “bucket list” destination for whisky afficionados.

Further additions following the revamp include a new retail space, new seating, and an ‘intimate whisky snug’.

A specially commissioned large artwork by Leith-based painter Shona Hardie features on the wall, inspired by almost 50 of the Society’s bottle names and flavour profiles.

Andrew Dane, CEO of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said: “The Vaults has been our spiritual home since 1983 and our 40th anniversary provided the perfect opportunity to give it a new lease of life.

“From its long history and association with wine and spirits, to becoming a home for our members and somewhere whisky fans from all over the world dream of visiting, it really is a special place.

“While history oozes from every pore of the building, and we’ve kept our original features, The Vaults now offers an even greater whisky experience.

“Sharing whisky and exploring flavours is at the heart of everything we do and our striking new bar captures that spirit perfectly. We look forward to welcoming everyone back and raising a glass to the next 40 years.”

The Vaults is open from 11am to midnight most days of the week.

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