Heads and Tales bar opens in Edinburgh’s Rutland hotel

By Lauren Houghton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nightclub, Gin, Cocktail

Customers in Heads and Tales will be able to see the Flora and Caledonia stills in action behind glass panels in the wall
Customers in Heads and Tales will be able to see the Flora and Caledonia stills in action behind glass panels in the wall
New Scottish gin focused lounge bar Heads and Tails has opened in the basement of Edinburgh’s Rutland hotel on Rutland Place. 

The bar is also the new home of The Edinburgh Gin Distillery and customers in the venue will be able to see the Flora and Caledonia stills in action behind glass panels in the wall. The site will be able to sit 70 people.

BigHospitality talked to Heads and Tales’ owner and manager Bruce Hamilton about the new opening and unique location inside a working gin distillery.

“I was previously looking at the venue for a lease for a bar, and by happy coincidence the distillery was looking there too,” said Hamilton. “We now have the stills from Edinburgh Gin that are visible through the glass, so customers can sit less than a metre away from then while they’re producing.

“Because the gin was onsite we decided it’d be quite nice to do a Scottish gin focused bar, though we’re not a gin bar as such. We serve different spirits, cocktails, beers and wine too.”

Lounge atmosphere

The basement venue where Heads and Tales is located had been sitting empty for two years, having previously been a night club. The site has been reworked and redecorated into a lounge bar, with a focus on the working stills.

Hamilton said: “Parts of the site we had to do a lot of work to, we took plaster off the walls to release bare brickwork. The physical bar was there already from when it was a club, and we used some of the hardwood that was already in place to give a nice textural and visual effect for the bar. A lot of the work we had done went into preparing the space for the stills and putting those in of course.

“Everything’s wooden, copper, tan leather and barrel cut tables,  and the atmosphere is more that of a cocktail lounge. It’s a place to come and chat with friends, and we have background music rather than louder, in-your-face music.”

Head and Tales also has a food offering, with tapas-style dishes offering Scottish charcuterie, fresh breads, locally sourced smoked fish and cheeses. It has a cocktail menu with 20 original choices, though customers are welcome to order old classics too. Those visiting will also be able to take a tour of the distillery and see Edinburgh Gin in production. 

Related topics: Business, Venues, Pubs & Bars

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