The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2013

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Page 146 of 148

Taking Inventory with. . . Michael Ferrie Caledonia Scottish Pub, New York City W hen former bartender Michael Ferrie left Scotland on a whim, he igured he could tend bar in the Big Apple as well as back home in Dundee, a city in Scotland���s Lowlands. That turned out to be a good calculation. After barkeep stints in several Manhattan pubs, Ferrie, 29, and his partner, Englishman Alex Wade, 28, opened Caledonia Scottish Pub two years ago on Second Avenue on Manhattan���s Upper East Side. Adorned with dark paneling, swords, shields and stag and thistle trimmings, the bar carries 120 single malt scotches and about 60 other whiskies, heralding from various parts of the globe, including India, France and Japan. The backbar is divided by Scotland���s ive whisky regions, so customers can see the progression of Caledonian spirits from the Lowlands through to Speyside���considered the Holy Grail for many aicionados. Though it has a certain synchronicity with the Upper East Side���s patrician heritage, the bar is somewhat of an anomaly in a stretch known more for frat-boy watering holes than serious whisky. And though Ferrie welcomes all, he���s clear about one thing: Don���t come here for J��germeister shots and beer pong. ���Our crowd is the antithesis of the frat bars, and that���s what we wanted,��� he said. Though they���re inclusive, Ferrie said he and his partner wanted to offer a place to ���people who are dying to get away from that.��� Customers can peruse the bar���s 14-page whisky ���bible,��� or they can get personal recommendations from their barkeep���$9 for a simple scotch or up to $45 for a sublime and smoky sipper. Now, Ferrie, along with a couple of other U.K.-born Michael Ferrie (left) with business partners, are creating a full-out partner Alex Wade at Caledonia Scottish invasion, opening two Scottish Pub. more themed whisky bars in Brooklyn. Yes, that would be the Brooklyn of carefully curated hipsters, do-it-yourself craftsmen and earnest Etsy artisans. That doesn���t dissuade Ferrie. ���There���s a scotch for everyone,��� he says. The Brooklyn expansion will allow Ferrie and his partners to spread their mission of ���getting people to drink scotch without pretentions.��� Which means taking it out of the crusty Upper East Side and into the ���hip codes.��� In Williamsburg, the Isle of Skye will be a rustic, castle-chic pub three times the size of the Caledonia. Near the new Barclay Arena, the Duke of Montrose���so named after the family clan of his partner���will be more a contemporary, distillery-inspired venue with a private event space and whisky library with up to 300 whiskies. Though different in scale, all the bars will uphold Ferrie���s philosophy. ���In New York you have to have a niche,��� he says. ���You should do something unique, and do it well.��� 142 / the tasting panel / march 2013 story and photo by Lana Bortolot THE ���5��� LIST Michael Ferrie���s Top Five Faves 1 Bowmore 15 Year or Glen Grant 10 Year Single Malt. 2 Great regulars. 3 Great Yelp reviews. 4 Watching the business grow and grow. 5 The Mets. Michael Ferrie���s Five Pet Peeves 1 People asking for free drinks. 2 Cab drivers. 3 Bars that ill their bottles with cheaper liquor. 4 Doing inventory. 5 Cleaning up the mess.

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