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Sporting spirit: The pub where craft beer is served with a shot of adrenalin

Raising the bar: Michael McMillan, the general manager at The Triplekirks, enjoys chatting to the characters who come into the city centre pub.
Raising the bar: Michael McMillan, the general manager at The Triplekirks, enjoys chatting to the characters who come into the city centre pub.

Unsung counsellors, therapists and expert negotiators, working behind a bar is so much more than just pulling pints.

And when the going gets tough, bar staff are usually at the coal face.

Michael McMillan is no exception.

In the same way as he pours his heart and soul into his job as the general manager at The Triplekirks – and Exodus nightclub – Michael bravely put himself on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.

For while the popular student haunt was closed – due to restrictions – Michael stepped forward to work at the Covid testing centre in Peterhead.

The glass is always half full for Michael McMillan, the general manager at The Triplekirks.

“I’m always going at 100 miles an hour so being enforced to be at zero miles an hour was tough,” said Michael.

“So it was good to go out there and get something worthwhile done.”

People person

As a “people person”, Michael is absolutely buzzing to be back in the busy Schoolhill bar, chatting to all the interesting characters who come through the door.

“I’m the type of person who needs to be on my feet and interacting with staff and customers,” said Michael.

“I really enjoy my job so I don’t think I could do a nine to five job at a desk.”

Drinks with spirit and soul are served up at The Triplekirks.

From glass collector to bar manager

It’s 20 years since Michael had his first taste of the bar industry, working as a glass collector then manager at Bex bar in Justice Mill Lane, where O’Donoghues is now.

And what initially started as a part-time job to pay his way through university, quickly turned into a career as he went on to run a string of local venues including the former Estamine bar in Littlejohn Street and the nightclub Retro Rooms in Justice Mill Lane.

But it was after managing The Cross Keys in Peterhead and Archibald Simpson in Aberdeen’s Castle Street, both Wetherspoons pubs, that Michael found his niche at The Triplekirks bar.

As a fan of sport and craft beer, Michael said The Triplekirks felt like his calling.

It’s thirsty work: The Triplekirks colourful cocktails go down a treat with customers.

“Luckily the venue I’m working in suits my taste as I enjoy craft beer and I enjoy watching sport so I set the pub up as I would want it to be as a customer,” said Michael.

Laid-back vibes

Relaxed, unpretentious and friendly to both humans and dogs, The Triplekirks is somewhere everyone is welcome.

“It’s a laid back bar, we’re not pretentious at all and we’re dog friendly,” said Michael.

“We’re directed at students and those under 25 but that doesn’t mean it’s just for them, everyone is welcome” said Michael, 40, who is a born and bred Aberdonian.

Just the tonic: A good selection of flavoured gins can be found at The Triplekirks.

Star attraction

Stars of the screen and stage have also been known to frequent the bar.

“Quite often we get the panto crew in after their shows,” said Michael.

“A couple of years ago Elaine C Smith was randomly at the bar ordering drinks which I thought was bizarre.”

From cocktails and flavoured gin to whisky and craft vodka, there’s drinks to suit all discerning palates.

But it’s The Triplekirk’s craft beer and live sport offerings which sets the bar apart from other city venues.

Full of character: The Triplekirks in Aberdeen is a bar that prides itself on its laid-back and friendly atmosphere.

“We sit in a really good place as not only have we got a strong selection of craft beer, we also show lots of live sport and those two things don’t usually go hand in hand,” said Michael.

“We always have a good range of local beer so we’ve got three BrewDog beers and three Fierce beers on permanent lines.

“We also have four taps that we have rotational beers on so these can be from local breweries such as Brew Toon based in Peterhead or nation breweries such as Magic Rock and Innis & Gunn.”

Raspberry cooler cocktail anyone?

And for those partial to a cocktail or two, the menu has a great selection.

“We do espresso martinis, pornstar martinis and pink gin martinis to name a few,” said Michael.

“We also have a cracking range of flavoured gins including six different flavours of Whitley Neill, Tanqueray Blackcurrant Royale and Beefeater Peach and Raspberry gin and Edinburgh Gin as well.”

Cocktail’ o’clock: The raspberry cooler is made with Smirnoff Raspberry Crush flavoured vodka, Archers peach schnapps and cranberry and lime juice.


Non-drinkers are also spoiled for choice.

“The no-alcohol and low-alcohol ranges are becoming increasingly popular so we’ve got half a dozen alcohol-free beers and ciders and about eight or nine different cans of soft drinks as well,” said Michael.

Live boxing

Sports fans will also be in their element as the bar shows the everything from football and boxing to wrestling and rugby.

“The council has been really good as they granted us with a late licence so we could stay open to show the recent Tyson Fury fight which was fantastic,” said Michael.
“And at the end of January we’re hoping to stay open late for the Royal Rumble and similarly for Wrestle Mania in March.

“Wrestling is niche but it’s a large niche.”

A ringside seat: Live sport can be enjoyed over a craft beer at The Triplekirks, Aberdeen.

Charity work

Apart from sport, the bar, which is owned by The Stonegate Group, also hosts weekly karaoke and pub quizzes and raises money for charity.

“Our nominated charity is the British Heart Foundation so we collect for that and we also recently supported the local foodbank too.”

After seven years behind the bar at The Triplekirks, Michael is often recognised when he’s out and about in the city.

And it will come as no surprise that when Michael’s off duty, he enjoys a few beers.

“When I’m off work, I enjoy a beer, I wouldn’t be working in this industry if I didn’t,” said Michael.

“I also enjoy going to the gym and I probably watch too much Netflix and play too many video games for my own good.”

Local celeb: After years of working in the Aberdeen bar industry, Michael is a well-know face in the Granite City.

Friendly, caring and thoughtful by nature, it’s no surprise that Michael is well respected by staff and customers alike.

“Someone described me recently as pensive and I think that was quite a good word,” said Michael.

“I won’t say 100 words when two or three will do, I’m always quite quiet and thoughtful.

“When I’m at work I’ve got to be assertive and that’s more my work personality rather than what I’m like at home.”

After such a turbulent time for the entire bar industry, Michael and the team at Triplekirks are ecstatic to be back doing what they enjoy.

“We’re just gearing up for Christmas now and next year we obviously hope Scotland will make it to the World Cup which will make next December bananas.”


A round of questions with Michael McMillan


It’s the end of the day, what do you pour yourself?

Right now a Fierce Pilsner.

If you were a drink, what would you be and why?

This is such a dad joke but an Old Fashioned – because I am!


Most unusual drink you’ve ever tried?

I had an absinth is Barcelona that was a glowing green colour and I actually felt burning in my ears as I drank it.


What’s the most under-rated drink?

Loads of craft beer drinkers turn their noses up at lagers like Tennent’s but sometimes you can’t beat a pint of big juicy.


What’s in your drinks cabinet at home?

A couple of whiskies and bourbons.


Best food and drink pairing?

An espresso martini after a big meal.


If you were stuck on a desert island, what three drinks would be there with you?

Water, Irn-Bru and a Fierce pilsner.


You have to make a drink to represent Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire. What would that be?

Probably a cosmopolitan- straight forward, full of flavour and the colour.


You have to serve your favourite superhero or celebrity a drink. Who is it and what do you serve?

Probably Tony Soprano and I’d serve him a super nice whisky.


Tell us a secret trick of the trade

I always say to staff when we’re busy “try not to get too stressed, it’s not like we work for the NHS and people’s life are depending on how quickly they get their Tennent’s or vodka and coke. Just focus on delivering great service to the customer you’re serving.”

For more information about The Triplekirks, go to their website or Facebook.