A couple will reopen the doors of a west end Aberdeen institution tomorrow as The Albyn welcomes back customers for the first time since its closure in 2018.
Taken over by Simon Cruickshank and his wife, Christie, the couple have invested a seven-figure sum into resurrecting the iconic restaurant, bar and nightclub.
The building is set across four floors, however, it is just the main floor that will be opened to the public initially, with plans to open the further spaces at a later date.
Located on Albyn Place, the couple had been living abroad with their two young children when the opportunity to own the former Albyn Place office building turned adult-only bar, came up.
Simon, who was raised working in the various Granite City pubs his father, also Simon, operated, says it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
Hiring 40 staff members initially, the couple plan to hire an additional 20 as the business continues to grow.
Open from noon to midnight on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and 2am Friday and Saturday, food will be served all day until 10pm.
The venue will open five days a week for the next two weeks and will open on Tuesdays thereafter.
Around 60 guests will be able to be seated in the bar while around 100 can dine in the restaurant. There will also be a private dining room for 10 people as well.
“It is a long space and building so we really wanted to differentiate the areas from one another,” Simon said.
“The front area is the bar space with a few snugs at the front window – we’re not taking reservations there yet and you can enjoy food and drinks there, it is very relaxed.
“The garden room is part of the restaurant but is a fusion between the bar and restaurant.
“Then there’s the restaurant at the far end of the building.”
Bringing the outside in
Influenced by their travels, the venue features a contemporary Scottish look and also has a new “conservatory” area which the duo have created by unveiling a hidden glass ceiling.
He said: “The main thing for us was bringing the light in as it was a dark space. We wanted to bring the outside in and that influence really came from us living abroad.
“When we lived overseas the outdoors was a huge part of our life, but we wanted to keep it traditional with a contemporary Scottish influence.
“There’s a central room where we found a glass roof so we’ve created this hub which we call the garden room. It is the heart of the restaurant and has a conservatory feel.
“We also opened up the front window where the disabled toilets were so that has helped increase the bar space.”
What’s on the food and drink menu?
Offering an a la carte menu with a Scottish influence with a twist, local produce has been used to showcase the best of the north-east and there will also be a bar snacks menu, sharing platters and more.
A brunch menu will be available from noon to 5pm every day the venue is open and a Sunday roast will be available on Sundays, too.
Afternoon tea will launch in January.
Simon said: “There’s everything from minute steak and garlic langoustine surf and turf sharing fries, haggis bon bons, baked camembert, from the land and sea sharing platters, haggis wrapped Scotch egg, Highland beef and bone marrow pie, posh scampi, beer battered Peterhead haddock, mac and cheese – it is quite traditional with a bit of a twist.
“For brunch there’s hot buttermilk pancakes, bacon and maple syrup, full Scottish breakfast skillets and more.
“The cocktail menu has all the classics but we’ve added some The Albyn creations too.
“There will be a fresh juice and milkshake menu during the day and we’re using Figment for our locally roasted coffee. There’s beer, spirits, wine and more.”
The garden terrace
Looking to the outside of the building, Simon and Christie plan on transforming the front area into a garden terrace for spring next year.
He added: “The next step is going to be the terrace. We want to make it feel like an external garden, so we’ll have an internal garden and an external one. We’ll do that for spring.
“We’d have loved to have done it all at once, but with the weather we decided end of March beginning of April would be a good time.”
Will the nightclub return?
Known back in the day for its nightclub, Simon and Christie haven’t decided if the iconic space will be reopened as a nightclub, or if they will do something else.
“We don’t know yet. We haven’t made any decisions about that space yet. When we took over the building there were a lot of restrictions in place, and now they have eased, so we’ll focus on the main floor then take a step back and think about what we want to do with it.
“It is still uncertain for now.
“We’re going to walk before we can run and take our time with opening so we get everything right. We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone to The Albyn and we really hope everyone enjoys it.”
Mr Cruickhank’s father currently runs the Ploughman in Culter and has reassured the couple they will not be short of custom once the doors open.