Readers react to ‘shambolic’ Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend

Bar Supervisor Angelo Franchi makes a Violet Beauregarde which is a Willy Wonka inspired cocktail at The Refinery in St Andrew Square. Picture: Greg Macvean
Bar Supervisor Angelo Franchi makes a Violet Beauregarde which is a Willy Wonka inspired cocktail at The Refinery in St Andrew Square. Picture: Greg Macvean
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ITS organisers hailed it a ‘great success’ but public reaction was mixed following Edinburgh’s inaugural Cocktail Weekend with one punter describing it as ‘shambolic’.

Fifty bars across the city welcomed around 7,000 revellers, each paying £6 for special wristbands entitling them to cocktails at £4 each.

But some attendees were upset at the event’s organisers, complaining their experience had been marred by long queues and a severe shortage of alcohol.

READ MORE: Alcohol ran out at Edinburgh’s Cocktail Weekend

Hundreds of readers took to the Evening News Facebook page last night to vent their frustrations.

Michelle Yeoman wrote: “This was the biggest waste of time ever... Waiting for 35 mins in queues for drinks to then get cocktails that tasted of soda water.”

Diane Johnston labelled the event ‘shambolic’ and said she and her friends would not be attending again: “It was shambolic myself and my 5 friends never even had one cocktail everywhere we went had ran out of ingredients and were not offering alternatives.

“The only people we met that had received cocktails had been out from lunchtime. We were out at 5 o’clock what a waste of money.

“We met a lot of disgruntled girls along the way no next year for us I’m afraid.”

And Gill Young said her group ended the night feeling rather short-changed: “Spent £80 on wristbands for me and my group and didn’t even get one cocktail between us, it appears the whole of George street was sold out by 8.30 Sat night.”

In an email earlier today, an unhappy Neil Bankhurst fumed: “We found huge queues in each bar, fair enough, but then (there were) cocktails that were nothing like those pictured.

“The cocktails were pre-made and not made right there in front of you by a mixologist like stated they would be.”

Mr Bankhurst added: “Some bars refused entry. This happened at numerous bars, all weekend. I feel we got nothing for our £6.

“They even had a code you could use to get £10 off a UBER taxi ride, which didn’t work!”

However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, with some punters full of praise for the hotly-anticipated drinks bash.

Janet Byrne posted: “Had a great time. Most cocktails were fab and fresh made in front of us.

“Two bars ran out of ingredients, one got them delivered within 10 mins by taxi (good service) and the other improvised, we enjoyed 3 different cocktails in there (nice result).”

Gillian Thomson said: “We had a great time visiting some bars for the first time where we’ll definitely go back. Can’t wait till next year!”

Others experienced no problems whatsoever.

Nathan Mckenzie wrote: “Had a great time and got drunk in process... Life is what you make it eh...”

Elyse Mercedes King agreed, but admitted sympathy for those left feeling unsatisfied: “Fortunately I was there on the first day and no problems.

“I feel really bad for all the people who were let down.”

Meanwhile, some mused over why anyone was surprised that the event was so busy.

Stuart Rance posted: “Are people actually shocked George Street/West End was mobbed on a Saturday for a well publicized cocktail event?”

And Kirsty Greig quipped: “Alcohol runs out at a bar in Scotland... Now that is news.”

Organiser Gary Anderson defended the event, hailing it “a great success”, but admitted there had been ‘teething problems’ and that some bars were “really, really busy.”

He added: “The bars couldn’t have had stock enough to meet that demand. They were very, very popular and they did their best to accommodate as many people as possible.

“There are definitely lessons to be learned this year – it was the first event of its kind to take place in Scotland so there were teething problems.

“But I really don’t want to focus on the negatives. Customers have e-mailed in saying they loved the event and are looking forward to coming again next year – the majority have been positive.”