DRINK CLUB: Jock Tamsons Bairns

Jock Tamsons Bairns
1609 Second Avenue
(Btwn 83rd & 84th Sts)
New York, New York, 10028
Phone: (212) 879-0402

With plenty of Gaelic bars in NYC, there’s actually only two or three Scottish bars around town, with Jock Tamsons Bairns being the newest addition. This small neighborhood bar located on the Upper East Side is owned by Ray Master, Steve Owen, and Gavin Ward who boast being the only truly Scottish bar owned and ran. Plus Steve Owen designed the place after a traditional Scottish pub. With it’s dark wood interior, the place gives off a warm and cozy feel.

If you’re wondering what the story behind the name is, Jock Tamson’s Bairns was a vicar (church pastor/advocate) in 18th century Scotland who called his congregation “ma bairns” or his children, giving rise to Jock Tamson’s Bairns “We’re all god’s children,” and according to bartender, Aiden McKenzie, There’s no place better to whet your pipes then at a bar!” I had the chance to try the bartender’s silky smooth mixed drink The Aiden (Johnny Walker Red, ginger, fresh lime and some secret ingredients) $8 that is sweet with a smokey aftertaste showing a bartender who knows his scotch.

They offer a selection of over 60 Scotches, and above the bar, the spirits are separated by columns, designed to show the selection from the five regions of Scotland. The Scotch menu offers a dram of whiskey anywhere from $14 to $45 but the bartenders make it a point to talk to you, helping you decide, making this far easier than haphazardly choosing. Each Scotch is served in a snifter glass along with a small glass of water allowing you to dilute your scotch to your hearts content.

For those who appreciate a fine Scotch, the owners have a Whiskey Club with a monthly fee of $30 where members (in a party of 10) share their own bottle from a unique region. For those just wanting an authentic Scottish beer, they offer Bellhaven and Tennent. Don’t forget a Happy Hour from 4 PM – 8 PM with selected draft for $4, bottles for $4, and well drinks for $5. If you’re hungry, the bar will soon feature light fare from a chef specializing in American, South American, and Scottish food, which sounds as intriguing as the Scotch!

While Gossip Girl has already been filmed there, this small Scottish bar is a welcome addition to an area with few choices for those who want more than cheap booze and a college crowd.

DaVe Lipp

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