Highland spirit comes to Falkirk

Inverness bars group opens first venue in the central belt

Scott Murray
Cru MD Scott Murray is expanding bar brands into central Scotland

The multiple operator behind a string of Inverness venues has made its first move out of the Highland capital and into the central belt with a new cocktail bar.

High Spirits, on Vicar Street in Falkirk town centre, is the latest outlet from Cru Holdings, and is modelled on the firm’s Bar One venue in Inverness, which has focused on a premium food and drinks offer, majoring in cocktails, since opening in 2009.

The bar’s cocktail menu will mirror Bar One’s closely, including its Drumstick and Bubblegum Daiquiri serves, and Scott Murray, managing director of Cru, is confident the casual dining and cocktail concept can be carried to the central belt.

He said: “Having been growing our portfolio of bars and restaurants in the Highlands for a number of years, I’m delighted that High Spirits is our first venue outside the region.

“We have identified a gap in the market to offer a stylish environment with fun but good quality cocktails with premium spirits, while keeping the price point realistic as well.”

All the staff at the new venue have been recruited locally with Scott, multi-site manager Grant Murray and director of operations Kenneth Loades spending a fortnight in the town to bring their new charges up to speed.

“We spent two weeks in Falkirk to make sure the guys were supported, training them in our systems and the way we do things like customer service and recruitment,” said Murray.

The venue’s drinks offer will be led by bar manager Lewis Rae, who believes customers in the town will take to the proposition.

Rae said: “I’m really excited for the launch of High Spirits.

“Having the support of a team as experienced as Cru Holdings will allow us to create a cocktail bar that I’m sure people will love.

“Having worked in the drinks industry in Falkirk for a number of years, I can’t wait to welcome locals and visitors to High Spirits.”

The group isn’t slowing down anytime soon, said Murray.

He said Cru Holdings will bring its prohibition-inspired bar brand Scotch & Rye to Glasgow in the spring, with more Scottish outlets in the pipeline, including in Edinburgh.

He said: “It’s good to test the water out with High Spirits; we’ve identified Scotch & Rye and Bar One both as brands that we think will work in other cities.

“We’ve had feasibility studies carried out by a couple of universities, which have given us the confidence that this is the right thing to do.

“We reckon that each city could support one of each.”