Cheers to the easing of lockdown that is seeing Aberdeen’s pubs letting people through their doors again.
Hopefully, it won’t be long until the Granite City is once again one of the unrivalled places in the country for nightspots and great evenings on the town.
Even Scotty in Star Trek referred to himself as “an old Aberdeen pub-crawler”.
But instead of travelling into the future, let’s go back in time. We’ve had a dive through our archives to find some of those famous places from yesteryear where you might have had some nights you can’t forget – or possibly can’t remember.
Radar’s on Belmont Street was a cool hangout in the 1980s, with its American-style diner downstairs and biker bar upstairs. There are plenty of married couples in Aberdeen who had their first date at this place, now Siberia.
The Balmoral Bar and Bells Lounge, known to generations of Aberdonians as simply The Bells was a huge part of the city’s pub landscape. With its heady mix of regulars and party-goers it was an essential stop on any night in town – and the launchpad for many an unforgettable Friday night. Today the iconic Union Street pub, which closed in 2014 has been replaced by the Silver Fin building.
Crown & Anchor
A harbour institution – it even starred in a BBC documentary – the Crown & Anchor pub on Regent Quay closed in 2015. In the picture is barmaid, Val Morrison with the customers on the day they called last orders for the last time.
No look back at nights out in Aberdeen would be complete without Amadeus – once one of the most cutting edge clubs in Scotland and a huge draw for all of the north-east. Today it is The Range home store and not a dancer in a cage to be seen.
The Earl’s Court Hotel, on the corner of Anderson Drive and Queen’s Road was a popular eating and drinking spot, especially for office workers in the area. There was always a regular Friday five 0’clock club crowd in its bar, the Egg and Dart. The impressive building was converted into flats in 2002.
Sweepers on Hadden Street was one of the classy places to be, opened by Dons legend Willie Miller and John Dawson, pictured welcoming people to the venue.
The Tappit Hen on Back Wynd was a great little boozer where an after-work pint could easily become a sesh. These days it is better known as O’Neills.
Back in the day, Oh Henry’s was the place to go if you wanted dancing with your lunchtime pint, back in the day when go-go’s were actually a thing. It last hit the headlines when a hotel applied to turn it into a launderette. Talk about cleaning up your act.
The Schooner Bar is the stuff of Aberdeen legend – not least for its enthusiastic embracing of early opening hours. Here, one of the first customers of the day at the pub orders a pint from owner Jim Duguid just after the 7am opening time was allowed for the first time in 1998. Today the Schooner has become The Craftsman Company.
Gabriel’s was a hugely popular draw on Dee Street and was a popular draw for a girls’ night out. In this picture from the mid-80s, the evening rush clearly hasn’t yet kicked in.
Cousins Lounge Bar on Union Street was the epitome of 80s style and sophistication. Given that curved seating is making a comeback, it was clearly ahead of its time.
Henry J Bean’s
If you never went to Henry J Bean’s on Windmill Brae in the 80s, you weren’t doing it right. The US style bar and grill opened on America’s Thanksgiving Day and staff dressed up to mark the occasion.
Outside Jumpin’ Jaks on Union Street on a Saturday night in 2008 and you can bet that inside the place was, well, jumpin’. This was the last hurrah for the old Capitol Theatre as an entertainment venue before it morphed into the swish offices we see today.
Today, only the wall remains of Sir Laffalots. But at it’s height it was billed as a “knight club” and Aberdeen’s top disco lounge. It’s prior incarnation was as the Red Friar Chicken House.
This is the Belmont Lounge after it was refurbished to have a glossy and luxurious look in the early 80s. Today the Belmont Street hostelry has been transformed into the chic and elegant The Tippling House.