January 2015-Another New Year!

Keeping up with the ‘standard’ (or at least that’s what it appears to be) Dowan’s form, we finally opened MBar at 5pm on the 23rd of December (about 10 minutes before our first guest was due to arrive!) to, gratefully, much praise and positive review. Although we would have loved to have had our first night in the new space with less last minute stress, we fear that this trend is one that is going to stay. After all, we arrived in the Dowans on the 18th of December, just before Christmas, so we were jinxed from the start to continue to do everything last minute! Despite the ‘last minute’ tendency, we have already noticed a significant difference in our guests wishing to not only join us ‘just’ for a drink but also return to the bar following their meal. With the smaller space of the ‘old bar’ (that will soon be the whisky snug, The Still) lacking the capacity for those who only wished to have a drink, this much larger space has already transformed our ability to provide a further and significant service to our guests and, for that, we are absolutely thrilled.

As already stated, the ‘old bar’ is now the next step and the work to transform it into an adults-only whisky snug, aptly named ‘The Still’, is under way. It is our hope that this additional space will provide us with the ability to not only increase on our whisky collection (with our previously stated focus, for those who can remember our impassioned ramblings from day one, on quality rather than quantity) but also it will give us the capacity to do various whisky themed activities such as our own tastings and to offer carefully paired whisky flights. Indeed, watch this space for news of our forthcoming ‘The Still Club’, a members only club that we will be launching once the room is fully functioning and which will offer a wide range of benefits to those who join. Furthermore, this new space will also hopefully give us the ability to branch into hosting afternoon tea gatherings for those who can’t say no to a scrumptious cake and sandwich feast! The plans are endless, just as any labour of love should be; a win at the lottery would have been helpful though, to allow us to do everything at the same time but, alas, dreaming hasn’t made it so thus far! Although, doing it in a steady manner rather than all at once has provided us with a significantly higher level of customer interaction and this, combined with the passion that we have for this ‘project’, has allowed us to provide an improved and more personable service than what would have been achieved with a ‘quick fix’.

So, another year has started and there is still more to do but beyond the continuing renovations that will restore this beautiful old building to its former glory, there are a lot of other activities that are going to keep us busy this year:

  • 2015 is Scotland’s year of Food and Drink and we could not be more excited about what this means for the hospitality and catering industries. With more recognition of the wealth of Scotland’s larder, we anticipate that this year will only improve the investment in them. We will be jumping on the bandwagon by continuing to promote our use of local produce and joining in as many events as our time allows us to highlight the diversity of Scotland’s catering potential. Watch this space for any events that you might wish to join in with;
  • Valentine’s Day is coming! If there is anything that we have learned over the past two years (quickest of our collective lives!), time flies by! We have a fantastic offer on so take a look and don’t hesitate in booking yourselves in!
  • Alongside the Valentine’s offer that we are running over the Valentine’s weekend, we also have a Romantic Weekend Break which is running from the weekend of the 23rd of January through until the end of February. If you are looking for a weekend that will not only offer you some relaxation time with your partner but also great service and fantastic food then this is the offer for you!
  • March marks the anniversary of the Aberlour orphanage and, to celebrate, we are planning on holding a dinner here with all of the proceeds of the meal going to the Aberlour Childcare Trust. Watch this space for further details of the event and how to buy tickets. It is a worthwhile event and we are hoping that alongside the meal, we will have a selection of some of the findings that we have made over the course of our time here with some ‘old boys and girls’ of the orphanage present;
  • The 30th of April marks the beginning of the 2015 Spirit of Speyside Whisky festival and we are more excited than ever. It is our third year up in Speyside and, this year, we have increased on our offer and we can say, with some confidence, that this will be our best year to date! From a Whisky Cocktail Masterclass to a Whisky and Dessert Tasting, we believe that no matter the event that you choose, we will ensure that you thoroughly enjoy your time with us. To view our events and the rest in the area, view the Spirit of Speyside website.

It has become evident that with everything that is going on in the first half of this new year, 2015 is set up to be a fantastically busy period not only for us but for the rest of the area. The above list is not exhaustive however so if you would like to keep abreast of all of our plans, including the official opening date for The Still and its member’s club then keep an eye out for us on Twitter and Facebook and right here on our Blog.