I@G Events invests in revamp of two Edinburgh bars

Spiders Web Iain Pert

Pub and bar operator I@G Events is refurbishing two of its sites in Edinburgh in partnership with Star Pubs & Bars.

Work has begun on revamping The Spider’s Web into a bar specialising in gin called The Jolly Botanist and converting The Volunteer Arms into a beer and whisky destination called The Cask & Still.

I@G Events is run by Iain Pert (pictured), a former director of Festival Inns, and Gordon Gilhooley who previously owned the Castle Night Club in Edinburgh’s West End. The two sites are leased from Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars.

They are spending £500,000 on creating The Jolly Botanist in Morrison Street, planning to re-open it after the Edinburgh International Festival has come to an end in September. It is close to Haymarket station where a £200million redevelopment is under way to create new shops, offices and a hotel.

A new kitchen is being installed to enable the former Spider’s Web to serve food for the first time, and the interior has been reconfigured to increase the upstairs bar’s capacity by 40%.

It will have a light, airy and theatrical décor to complement the outlet’s theme which is inspired by botanicals used to make gin. It will be possible to open the whole new glass frontage of the building to allow alfresco dining in a partitioned-off pavement area. It will have capacity for 300.

Iain said: “We wanted to create a sophisticated yet fun environment with a mysterious and intoxicating atmosphere which harks back to a golden age of exploration and discovery reminiscent of Jules Verne.

“We’ll stock over 100 gins and as well as offering casual dining with a twist, with a special liquid gin tasting menu and a three-course dining menu to include gins for each course.

“With the pub’s fantastic location and the financial support of Star Pubs & Bars, we’re well placed to capitalise on the new Haymarket development and give the area an exciting venue.”

I@G Events and Star Pubs & Bars are investing £70,000 to create The Cask & Still in Leith Walk which is due to open at the end of July.

“We’re working closely with the Caledonian Brewery on this venture and will have a special whisky and beer tasting room,” Iain said. “We’re going to serve pork pies with different pickles and ponies of beer.”

I@G Events runs other Edinburgh bars and clubs including No 1 Grange Road, Scott’s of Rose Street and the Standard in Howe Street. It worked with Star Pubs & Bars on the £155,000 project to transform the former William McEwans Alehouse into live music venue McSorleys.

Chris Jowsey, director at Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Iain and Gordon have done a fantastic job with McSorleys and now are investing with us in a further two pubs in prime Edinburgh locations.

“Each of the pubs that I@G Events is leasing from us has a distinct offer – music with great drinks and food at McSorleys, a gin specialism along with other premium drinks and food at The Jolly Botanist and a marriage of beer and whisky at The Cask & Still.

“What they have in common is quality. As Heineken is passionate about beer and cider quality and the service provided by pubs, it is an ideal partnership. We wish them well with these two new exciting ventures which will appeal to both tourists and locals.”

Both bars will have the Heineken Smart Dispense system, which maintains the quality of the beer and allows them to serve Heineken Extra Cold.

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