REVELLERS have left mixed reviews of the inaugural Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend – after bars taking part ran dry.
Punters were charged £6 each for a wristband which entitled them to £4 signature drinks at 50 bars across the city.
But as 7,000 drinkers converged on the city centre, sold-out signs started popping up at bars, with huge queues at others and taxis being despatched for replacement ingredients.
Gary Rodger posted on Facebook: “Maybe better having specific days to attend to reduce the number of people attending and tell all bars to have more staff as queues were horrendous.”
Busy bartenders at the SKYbar in Bread Street said they had sold more vodka before 7pm on Saturday than they usually do at Hogmanay. Nearby Monboddo had stopped serving their £4 signature cocktail by 8pm the same night – with staff offering drinkers a simple mixer drink instead.
There were similar stories at the Boozy Cow and Rabble bars, both in Frederick Street, while Dine in Cambridge Street served premixed cocktails. A server at The Refinery, St Andrew Square, was turning away customers in the middle of Saturday afternoon with 200 already inside, while other disappointed drinkers complained of being offered replacement cocktails – but at more than double the offer price.
However, there was also support for the event on social media – with praise for the lengths some bars went to for customers.
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!”
Organiser Gary Anderson hailed the event “a great success” while admitting 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.”
Mr Anderson said three of the 50 bars taking part ran out of ingredients for their signature cocktail on Friday night – before restocking for Saturday and Sunday.
“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.”