Highland venue could go global

Radio host opens crowdfunded bar in Inverness, with more in pipeline

Bruce and wife Jo De Sylva financed the venue through crowdfunding

A RADIO host and musician has used crowdfunding to finance the opening of a new bar in Inverness, with plans to open more around the world.

Bruce MacGregor, a founding member of band Blazin’ Fiddles and presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s music show Travelling Folk, said Scottish music, culture and history, as well as food and drink, will provide the focus for MacGregor’s on the Highland city’s Academy Street.

MacGregor said the idea stemmed from travelling the world with his band and noticing Irish bars in every city but very few Scottish ones.

He said: “I thought ‘wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could go somewhere that was subtly Scottish with really good food and drink?’”

The pub’s efforts to champion Scottish produce include beer from Cromarty, vodka from Montrose, organic lamb from Nairn and seafood from the Moray Firth.

Traditional Caledonian music will also have a big part to play in the venue, though MacGregor said there will be more to the bar’s music offer than stereotypical Scottish tunes.

He said: “It doesn’t have to be bagpipes or fiddles.

“We are starting up a blues session on a Saturday afternoon with Andrew Gunn, one of the finest blues musicians in the country.”

The bar officially opened last week on St. Andrew’s Day and MacGregor said he has already held preliminary talks with regard to rolling out the MacGregor’s brand to locations including New York and Singapore.

Investors include Loch Ness Gin and managing director of Spey Valley Brewing, David MacDonald.

“We’ve got a lot of phenomenal people on board, who believe in the idea and have great contacts around the world so these things will really help us as we grow,” said MacGregor.

“People have really bought into the project but they’ve also bought into the whole idea that we’re opening pubs two, three and four.

“So if they are in now, they’re in for then as well.”