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Issue 113 - Oh Caledonia

Whisky Magazine Issue 113
July 2013


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Oh Caledonia

Meet one of New York's hardest working bartenders

Many are the bartenders who dream of owning their own bar. Few, however, are the ones who actually do. Fewer still are the ones who own three bars in New York City. Michael Ferrie is one of those rare few. The young Scot got his start years tending bars in Aberdeen. Realising his was a universal trade, he flit out to New York City in 2005. He pulled pints for six years in Irish pubs around Manhattan until he met Steve Owen, an Edinburgh native who opened a Scottish pub called Caledonia on the Upper East Side in 2009. In 2011, Ferrie joined him as a partner. At that time, the bar stocked 85 single malts. Ferrie nearly doubled the inventory and designed an engaging, user-friendly menu. Today the list features about 200 whiskies from around the world. Then, between this past April and June, he and Owen opened two more Scottish pubs. This time in Brooklyn. We sat down with this ardent whisky evangelist.

Q: Bar-goers from Berlin to Bangkok are well familiar with the classic Irish pub. But you run Scottish pubs in the US.

How do you differentiate Scottish from Irish pubs?

A: I think pretty much every bar in the city that has Guinness on draft calls itself an Irish bar, but there's nothing to distinguish one from the other. We try to focus on quality rather than the average Irish bar in the city.

And obviously, we have a single malt whisky selection.

Q: Is there anything about the bar's look or design that makes it an authentic Scottish pub?

A: Steve is a contractor and he's f...

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