Glasgow whisky bar named Scotland's Pub of the Year

A Glasgow bar that has found fame worldwide for its extensive whisky collection and knowledgeable staff has been crowned Scotland's Pub of the Year.

Published 25th Sep 2018
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

The Pot Still Bar received the prestigious prize at the AA Hospitality Awards in a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House in London.

To mark the twenty-first anniversary of the awards, this year’s event was presented by Claudia Winkleman, with the best establishments in the UK being honoured across twenty-three categories, including Chefs’ Chef, Lifetime Achievement Award and Housekeeper of the Year.

The AA Pub of the Year accolade is awarded to those pubs that successfully combine the "provision of enjoyable food, a great pub atmosphere and a warm welcome with a high standard of management".

Previous Scottish winners have included The Bow Bar in Edinburgh and The Ship Inn in Elie, Fife.

The Pot Still, which is located on Glasgow's Hope Street, was chosen due to its extensive whisky range, highly knowledgeable staff and 'traditional pies.'

A spokesperson for AA Hospitality said: “The Pot Still, like many pubs in Glasgow, offers Whisky but there aren’t many that boast over seven hundred. Add to this their range of Scottish and German ales which you can enjoy with a one of Pot Stills ‘proper pies’ they serve makes it a must to any whisky lover when in Glasgow’s theatre land.

"The team are passionate about their whiskies and gain satisfaction from matching customers to the appropriate whisky from the extensive selection.”

The Potstill

Speaking about the award win, director Geraldine Murphy said: "We are absolutely delighted to be honoured with such a prestigious award.
We would like to thank our staff for all their hard work and the AA for their support.

"There are so many amazing pubs in Scotland and to be picked ahead of them is incredible. We've been getting a lot of recognition outside of Scotland so to be awarded this by a UK wide competition is amazing."

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The typically bombastic Frank Murphy added: "To end up accepting an award in a hotel on one if the purple monopoly squares, in front of an audience of a thousand or so of your peers who until that moment may not even have heard of you, was an air punch moment.

"They announced us as the Murphy family which was a nice wee touch. I reminded my dad later that his dad had been dead set against him going into pubs and raised a glass to toast my granddad being wrong for once.

"Perhaps the greatest compliment we can be paid is that customers think it's all family that work in the pub. While that was true in the beginning there's not so many people who share DNA behind the stick now.

"But the way the team gels and works well together, to the point where it gives an impression we've known each other since birth, is a testament to the effort everyone puts in every shift."

He jokingly added: "Whether the rest of the team feels that way about being accused of sharing a family tree with me, you'd have to ask them that personally."

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Other Scottish winners of the annual hospitality awards included the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa Hotel in St. Andrews, which was crowned Hotel of the Year for Scotland; The Newport Restaurant in Newport-on-Tay, which was named Restaurant of the Year for Scotland; and the Timberyard in Edinburgh, which took home the Wine Award for Scotland.

Jamie Scott, chef patron at The Newport Restaurant commented: “This is a massive achievement for myself, my wife and our team. It is everything we could have hoped for and really confirmed for us that everyone’s hard work and determination in such a young business is paying off. A huge thank you to not only our amazing team, but also our customers for getting us to this stage with their continued support.”

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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