A Visit to the Refurbished SMWS Vaults Members Room

A couple of weeks ago Nicola, her husband Scott, Jacqueline, my wife, and I decided we needed to go and see the new revamped SMWS venue in Giles Street, Leith.  As some of you might be aware I worked at the Vaults for the last few years prior to retiring. 

I have always had a real fondness for the Vaults and the very interesting eclectic customer base.   I loved that I was immersed in a sea of all things Whisky.  Not to mention that the chefs provide wonderful food.  Like many businesses, they evolve and grow and with that there is change.  I only knew a couple of the staff on duty (Dean and Miguel) and Nicola and I were duly introduced as SMWS Ambassadors to the new Manager, Kyle Gow, who was very enthusiastic about being the venue manager at the spiritual home of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. 

The first thing that struck me when arriving at the member’s room was the new and enlarged impressive bar which reached high to the ceiling displaying a phenomenal range from the SMWS stable of Whisky.  On the right-hand corner, there was a tower set of cages available for customers to rent so they could place their bottles, and then on subsequent visits, they could take nips from their bottles as they wished.  There is obviously a charge for renting a spot in the keep.

Previously they had a “shop” showing the bottles that were for sale,  unfortunately, this is a feature they have not continued with. One delightful change is, that what was the store for bottles behind the old bar has been turned into a small tasting room that could accommodate up to about 6 people.  This is a cosy intimate little room and I am sure that once tucked in it with a dram you would not want to leave.


The new gold/mustard walls made the room look larger and brighter reflecting the bright popping colour of the seating which was a mixture of bright red and blue.  Initially, I thought there was slightly less seating but actually, once I realised that the periphery of the room had banquette seating it probably now accommodates more customers.  Another feature, high on the walls was pictures of various Ambassadors and I was delighted to see that Nicola’s photo is prominent on the wall. 


Whilst we were visiting we had to have some food from the fantastic kitchen which did not disappoint and as you can imagine it was mandatory that a bottle or two were purchased.  All in all, I would recommend that anyone who has not gone to visit the re-modelled Vaults should go.  Their staff are knowledgeable, pleasant and very attentive as always.

You can join the Scotch Malt Whisky Society via this website, it is a purchase you will not be disappointed with and it makes an ideal Christmas present.


For all those living in the West of Scotland, the fantastic new venue in Bath Street Glasgow is ideal for tastings, food, cocktails, and bottle sales and is more of “a local” for the Whisky Boys.

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