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Gleneagles’ Century Bar muddles criminally understated drinks with a touch of eccentricity in Scotland’s Glorious Playground

Gleneagles’ Century Bar muddles criminally understated drinks with a touch of eccentricity in Scotland’s Glorious Playground


At Gleneagles’ Century Bar, the gorgeous gold and green-clad menu – dubbed The Great Adventure Book – may simply awaken your interior kleptomaniac.

It’s the type of thick, attractive tome – with fold-out quick-pick matrices, Inverted Jenny-style Scottish stamps, and Bruegelesque sketches of adventurers rambling beneath cerulean skies – that might beckon probably the most morally upright of residents to measurement up their satchel and think about committing petty theft.

And let’s face it – the Century Bar, with its unassuming air and refreshing candour, doubtless wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Here, in contrast to on the extra avant-garde Twenties-style American Bar a number of steps down the hall, flamboyance is forsaken for forthrightness.




A persistent and candy MacAllan Double Cask, one in every of 120 malt whiskies on supply, is infused with ginger and lemongrass and unpretentiously christened Gingery.

The Courvoisier, muddled with peanut butter and advocaat, glides down with such smoothness it earns the moniker Silky.

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No prizes for guessing the title of the seedlip spice with plum – it’s, after all, Plummy.

Then comes the Comforting – a heat hug of 18-year MacAllan Sherry cask, peach, and Demerara in a glass. Less consoling is the eager £65 price ticket, but the troubles shortly soften away after the primary sip.

The drinks fully surpass the easy descriptions. It’s like calling the Mona Lisa a ‘Smiley Lady’ – technically correct, however a prison understatement. Yet you shortly realise, with a sip, that there’s maybe a way to this seeming insanity.

Gleneagles is, in any case, the grand dame of deception – in the very best means. From the surface, wanting down the lengthy driveway, it presents as a conventional Scottish nation home, all tartan and tweeds.

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But step into the self-styled Glorious Playground and also you’re whisked right into a world that’s much less about preserving the previous and extra about celebrating the eclectic current.

This is a lodge that wears its historical past like a real Scotsman wears a kilt – with a little bit of cheek. It’s a buzzing hive of personalities, the place each nook is a possible plot twist, every cranny a subplot ready to occur.

The bar manager, a Northern Italian chap with extra character than a Fellini movie, eschews the everyday supply of champagne for what he fondly dubs ‘shampoo’.

As he units down a trio of desserts – a steal at 12 kilos, and do make a beeline for the lemon drizzle – he animates the scene with the choo-choo of a practice.

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This sprint of eccentricity feels not simply becoming, however important in a luxurious area that might simply threat falling on the mistaken facet of stuffiness.

And crucially, it’s a first-rate instance of the Gleneagles juxtaposition – an alluring mixture of idiosyncrasies wrapped in wealthy crimson velvet, deafeningly heavy carpets and oak-panelled partitions.

Yet whereas the attractive menu at Century Bar might need you wishing you’d introduced alongside an even bigger bag, it’s the cocktails, enigmatic but attractive of their simplicity, named with only a single, evocative phrase, that reign supreme.

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