Famous Edinburgh pub houses one of the largest collections of whisky in the Capital with over 400 bottles

A famous Edinburgh pub has increased its storage space to accommodate one of the biggest whisky collections in Edinburgh.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 5:00 pm
The Athletic Arms whisky collection.

The Athletic Arms of Angle Park terrace announced yesterday that it has finished work to extend the pub’s gantry to house 408 different types of whisky.

“I’ve got a bit of an addiction to buying whisky,” said Kevin McGhee, manager of the Gorgie pub more commonly known as The Diggers.

“I’ll really have to curtail it soon,” he added.

Manager Kevin McGee receiving his award from BT Sport in 2018.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I’m not sure where we can make any more space for more whisky - we might have to start buying gin or something.”

Mr McGhee has steadily increased the pub’s single malt collection from 250 over the past few years.

He has purchased over 100 new brands just this year.

“I might have to buy a bigger pub…” he mused.

Having such a large collection allows Mr McGhee to guarantee that he will almost certainly find something to the taste of every customer.

“It’s especially good for people who think they don’t like whisky,” said Mr McGhee.

“99 times out of 100 we will be able to find them something they like.

Mr McGhee says many people come to the pub believing they don’t like whisky, but this is just because they have only tried one or two brands which don’t suit their taste.

“Customers come in wanting a guiding hand to find the flavours they like,” he said.

Founded in 1897, the pub is known as The Diggers because it was a regular watering hole for workers in Dalry Cemetery after they came off shift.

Having run the Hearts pub for eight years, Hibs fan McGhee was awarded BT Sport Manager of the Month in January 2018.

The pub runs a permanent ‘whisky festival’ whereby it offers 42 whiskies at £2.50 for a 35ml measure.

What originated as one-time festival offer to coincide with the Fringe proved so popular the pub has retained it on a permanent basis with ever-changing whiskies on offer.

“The idea is to get people out of the city centre and give them a really good value drink,” Mr McGee said.

“Getting a taxi and drinking £2.50 whisky can be cheaper than staying in the city centre and going to the bar of an expensive hotel.”

While the pub’s gantry is now at capacity for storing whisky, Mr McGhee says he will probably not stop expanding the collection any time soon.

“I’m sure I’ll find somewhere else to store it,” he said.

He is currently in the process of getting all 408 whiskies listed on an app, so that customers can easily browse the huge collection.

Other notable whisky collections in the city include that of the Balmoral Hotel, which offers 500, and the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian.