Friday, July 23, 2010

Jock Tamson's Bairns

Stopped by Jock Tamson's Bairns in the city yesterday with Tom and the kids. It's the only authentic Scottish-owned and run bar in NYC.

One word: Awesome.

The owner's name is Gavin and he's from Glasgow. He's a funny guy who was suffering from a bit of a hangover from the previous evening; the poor guy did not look like he was having a very easy time of it. And yet, he was still really friendly to my family.

The bartender (and "musician by trade") is Aiden. Aiden MACKENZIE. And he's from THE HIGHLANDS. Just above Inverness. And while in the midst of conversation, the man actually floated the S-biscuit. Wondering what that means?

That means a Highlander named MacKenzie looked me in the face and casually used the word "Sassenach" in regular conversation.

I can now die a happy woman.

Jock Tamson's Bairns is fully stocked with every whisky imaginable. They're a cozy little joint with lots of Scottish feel - lots of it exuding from the plentiful Scottish accents behind the bar.  Aiden knew his whisky inside out and backwards - and was more than happy to share that knowledge with me...right down to theorizing about its origins.  (And theorizing about the Picts. Fascinating guy... absolutely. He even made me a whisky-based concoction called " The Aiden" - and didn't make me feel a bit uncomfortable for not ordering it neat.) The place has an authentic tin ceiling... and a couple of couches at the end of the long bar.  Most likely these are for taking a load off whilst you text your friends and say "JESUS GOD, A HOT MACKENZIE FROM THE HIGHLANDS JUST SAID "SASSENACH" TO ME!"

Not that I did that from the couch or anything...

I did it from my barstool. :)


  1. WHAT??!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! Freakin awesome!!! :-) :-)

  2. That's so not fair!! Why don't we have Scotland week? Christ, I live in Scottsdale in between McKellips & McDowell off McClintock... (no stalkers please... Unless you are a Scott that looks like Jamie)

    Still, very cool! I wanna go! I like how he threw in "medicinal purposes" Claire would approve. This is totally random, but wouldn't it be funny if Claire ran into Dr. Cullen during her doctoring,,, he is over 370 years old, so it could be possible that they run in the same circles...

  3. Ok, shoulda done my research FIRST I guess it's named after a guy w/the last name Scoff, but why are most main streets Scottish names?? Confusing!!

  4. I'm still stuck on the (fascinating) concept of Carlisle helping Claire!!!

  5. Cool! I want to go there some day. I didn't know about the water thing. That is interesting. I don't drink but I think I might be able to handle a taste with the water.

  6. I used to frequent this bar when I was in college in Europe. A Scottish bar that is. All the bartenders always wore kilts, and for some reason me and all my girlfriends thought they were just too hot. I wonder why??? They were also very nice, and didn't mind one bit when people asked them for the 50th time what a Scotsman wore under his kilt. LOL

    Carol, so how did he say "Sassenach"? Like Davina Porter? Ohhh, I think I would have just died and gone to heaven had it been me...

  7. Yes Jeanie - like Davina. Soss-eh-nocks. I was dying. And the WORST part was trying to come off like I wasn't dying over it. I knew I must have been obvious - and I fessed up to him that I've read the Outlander series (doubt he'd heard of it, he didn't say he had) and then I even told him I have "sassenach" on my car and on a t-shirt. At that point, it was time to go because Carol was gushing. LOL!!!!! He was so nice though - I bet they get that all the time. Like you were saying about asking them what is under their kilt. Although they weren't wearing kilts. He was in plaid shorts though!

    Here's something interesting - my hub went into a Scottish bar in NYC years ago.. and wasn't impressed. They wore kilts and had Scottish stuff all over the walls and lots of tartan - but he thought they came off as gimicky - and not authentic. He LOVED Jock Tamson's Bairns - and even called his brothers to tell them to go. I think Scots have some kind of radar where they can tell a real Scot from imitation. LOL! (Anyone who is Scottish and reading this - please weigh in on that theory.) ;)

  8. The place I used to go to, and forgive me because I have forgotten the name, but it seemed very authentic to me. All the bartenders there wore the kilts and white shirts, unbuttoned halfway down, I really remember that. I remember a few of them had red hair, but most of them were actually more Roger look-a-likes.

    And the best part? They ALL had a Scottish accent. The owner was Scottish, married to a Danish girl, which is where this was, and he only hired bartenders from Scotland. So I am assuming that it was as authentic as it could be...
    It really is a great place, and I have been back there a few times since then, whenever I visit...