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A Sense of Harris

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The Isle of Harris Gin bar, opening soon in Glasgow.

Sharing our island spirit and story is what we love to do, we are after all The Social Distillery.

But, in a time where being a socially-distanced distillery is the new normal, we know many of our customers will be missing the simple pleasures of island life.

So, with connection to our Outer Hebridean home in mind, we hope to bring a piece of Harris to the heart of Glasgow later this autumn.

The legendary Café Gandolfi in Glasgow.

In the east of this 'Dear Green Place' is the Merchant City, named the cultural heart of Glasgow. Here lies Café Gandolfi, a warm and intimate space which has been serving the best of Scottish produce since 1979.

Owner Seumas MacInnes, a Glasgow Gael with strong family connections to the Outer Hebrides, has been with the company since completing catering college as he tells us…

"After college, I needed some extra income, so I got a part-time job in Gandolfi, not as a manager or chef but as the kitchen porter."

Owner Seumas MacInnes.

From peeling potatoes and chopping carrots to owning and managing the restaurant, Seumas lives by one Gaelic proverb as he explains…

"Deagh Bhiadh. Deagh Bheannachd. Well Fed, Well Blessed. The Gaelic proverb displayed on the wall of Café Gandolfi is my aspiration for everybody who eats here."

Above the legendary café is one of the city’s best-kept secrets, a hidden attic bar where our new endeavour, the Isle of Harris Gin Bar aims to provide an intimate Isle of Harris experience.

Some of the great seafood served in the restaurant downstairs.

From sharing stories to simple seafood bites and specially paired Harris serves, over the last week our distillery brand ambassadors Iona and Calum have been putting on the finishing touches for the opening night.

They expand on their plans…

‘Our new bar’s motto “A Sense of Place” hints at the journey our guests will be taken on with the help of our specially crafted cocktails and our brand ambassador hosts.’

Alongside them and heading up the preparation, our brand development manager Rachel MacDonald tells us…

Great island ingredients on the menu each week.

"We’ve been cleaning, unpacking goods from Harris, making final tweaks to drinks, beautifying the bar, building tweed walls, putting up signs, cleaning. All to ensure our first guests could enjoy our very first dedicated Isle of Harris Gin Bar in a safe environment."

But on Wednesday afternoon came the news from the Scottish Government that all bars and restaurants in the central belt are to close until the 26th October as Rachel continues…

"It was difficult news to hear especially as we were getting excited about the opening week, just a week away. Rest assured though, we will still be opening the bar. It will just be slightly delayed."

Our Isle of Harris Gin served in the attic bar upstairs.

Thankfully, all good islanders know that life takes time, so we’ll just have to wait a little longer to launch.

And, while we can’t bring the golden sands of Luskentyre or the tranquility of the Harris hills, we can encourage you to ‘Be Here’ and enjoy the simple pleasures in life in a similar spirit when the time is right.

We look forward to sharing our famous Hebridean hospitality and giving you a sense of Harris in a safe and relaxing way just as soon as restrictions allow.

Meantime, please go to and make plans to do just that…

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