Bartenders Sam Baxendale and Jody Buchan have opened their own bar, Kin, in Edinburgh. Photography by Till Britze
When bartenders of the calibre of Jody Buchan and Sam Baxendale open a bar, you know it will be something special. After years working in other top places, they have unveiled Kin in Edinburgh’s Broughton area through their company Buch + Bax. As well as offering great food and drink, it was designed to capture an atmosphere of warm hospitality.
Jody and Sam, who has a background in architecture, built the place themselves, transforming the basement space that was previously the Liquor Library bar for Seasons restaurant upstairs. With a little help from their friends, they fitted a parquet-effect back bar and spider lighting, scorched woodwork and re-upholstered seating, staying sympathetic to the existing features of the historic listed structure such as the original granite walls.
Their intention was to create a “modern take on a classic bar/lounge feel”, Jody explains. “Sam and I wanted to create a true air of escapism. Personally, I’m a huge fan of tiki culture which was all about transporting you to another place as soon as the door closed behind you. Although not immediately apparent to casual guests, we have tried to create that same feeling at Kin – without actually being a tiki bar. We aim to help you relax, put your mind at ease and ensure you enjoy yourself, all the while letting the outside world pass you by, if only for a few hours.”
Sam built a career at top Edinburgh bars including Bramble and The Bon Vivant while Jody has been tending bar in Aberdeen and Edinburgh since he was 18, most recently at The Voyage of Buck in Edinburgh. Drawing on this experience, and Jody’s original studies in chemical engineering, they have developed an innovative cocktail menu. Although regularly changing, it includes Beards & Blazers made with apple, tea, CO2 and Southern Comfort – voted best at Cocktails in the City in Edinburgh last year – while whiskies Monkey Shoulder and Ailsa Bay are combined with ginger root syrup and the bar’s own eggshell soda (making the most of leftovers) to create the Mammiekins.
Other highlights include the Haar’d Shake with Scottish wheat vodka Arbikie Haar, Luksusowa potato vodka, Yellow Chartreuse, crème de banane, saline solution and olive bitters. The Shinka mixes Cross Brew coffee liqueur (from the team at Bramble) with yuzu-infused sake liqueur, Bacardí Carta Blanca rum and agave syrup, while the Espresso-less Martini uses Sam and Jody’s own-recipe cold-brew coffee plus Café Borghetti coffee liqueur, Ron Abuelo rum and egg white.
Guests can also choose from a selected wine list and a rotating range of craft beers on tap and in cans. A short menu of bar snacks is available thanks to the kitchen of Seasons upstairs. With its warm atmosphere, where even dogs are welcome, the bar is about making all guests feel like they are Sam and Jody’s own “kin”. As Jody says, “We want guests to join us, relax and have fun in the space we’ve created especially for them.”
Kin, 1 Barony Street, Edinburgh EH1 3SB
Originally published in the March 2018 print edition of Bar magazine.