After launching his drinks brand Faffless around three years ago, Craig Thom has opened the doors to his own whisky and wine bar under the same name in Aberdeen.
Situated on Netherkirkgate, off Union Street, the 25-year-old began renting the space to make the vision of his dream bar a reality three months ago and officially opened it to the public last month.
Craig, who grew up in Fraserburgh, has also decided to operate the venue as a coffee shop serving up high-quality coffees and teas, home bakes, sandwiches and cheese and charcuterie boards, ensuring there is something to suit all tastes.
The whisky and wine bar is open from 8am to 11pm but alcohol can only be served from noon to close.
Spirits and coffee
Since opening, Craig has allowed the bar to grow organically and used all of his savings to bring it to life.
He is a former manager of a two Michelin star hotel and restaurant and has hosted his own spirits festivals, one of which took place in November 2019 at Tunnels, on Carnegie’s Brae, and was known as the Faffless Whisky Festival.
Craig said: “I’m not pushing the opening too much and want to let people discover us on their own.
“We focus on wine, all of which are either natural, organic or biodynamic (or a mix of all three), and whisky but we also have some really good gins, sakes, rums and beers.
“We have some spectacular rums. It’s never really a drink most people would sit and sip like a whisky, but there are a few behind the bar that are fantastic for sipping. And we are in the process of importing our own sake because of how well received it has been so far.
“Everything is specifically curated by myself.
“During the day we function as a coffee shop with local teas from Unravel Tea and really good coffee. For food we offer cakes, cheese boards, charcuterie boards and sandwiches.
“A big part of what we do is showing people they don’t have to have an educated palate to enjoy good wine, whisky, rum, and so on.”
Another offering at Faffless includes their drinks tastings, which take place every weekend and vary week by week. Tickets and more information on each tasting can be found via the Faffless Facebook page.
“I do tastings every weekend and the drink is always something different,” Craig continued.
“Last weekend it was a whisky tasting, before that it was sake, gin, wine, and so on. Some of the wines we import specifically for Faffless, while our whiskies and other spirits are from all over the world.
“This Friday is a rum tasting which has already sold out. We can also do private tastings as long as it’s for more than four people.
“Customers have liked a good mix of products, thankfully. I love when they come in and tell me what they like and I can match a drink for them, especially if it’s something they wouldn’t normally have and they come away having a new favourite drink.”
Craig has big plans looking to the future, which include producing his own drinks range under the Faffless brand, and much more.
He says: “We are working on a loyalty scheme that works between us and six other independent food businesses in Aberdeen, as well as moving into the production of our own drinks and expanding Faffless into other cities and countries.
“I’ve received so much support since starting the brand from my family and other local businesses to our regulars.
“Because everything in the space has been built by me, it’s really gratifying when people say they like how we look and the vibe from the space. It’s been an idea I’ve been working on for about six years now, so to finally having it is amazing.”