New York has countless Irish bars and only a handful of Scottish ones, but that’s slowly changing — first there was Shoodlbred’s, and now the shuttered P*ong space is being converted into Highlands, a Scottish gastropub. The partners are a couple of Double Crown employees, Brian McGrory and Mary Wan. McGrory tells us he met his chef, fellow Scotsman Jeremy Hammond-Chambers, when they were both at Public (Hammond-Chambers has also worked under Daniel Boulud), and they plan to introduce folks to Scottish food beyond the usual fish and chips (there’ll be no emphasis on frying here) as well as showcase indigenous libations beyond Scotch. There’ll be beer from artisanal breweries as well as cocktails using brands such as Blackwood’s, a boutique gin made with handpicked Shetlands botanicals. McGrory is the bar manager at Madam Geneva, but he’s keeping the drink prices a little lower here, and plans to price entrées such as a traditional smoked haddock dish at around $12 to $18. The kitchen will close at midnight. “It’s really all about freshness,” says McGrory. “With the water being so cold in Scotland, you get a great quality of seafood.” As for the vibe, a side lounge will emulate a Scottish hunting lodge, complete with photos of Robert Burns and others as well as custom imported textiles and tartans. The main barroom will have a more industrial look, with copper distillery pots as a design element. Highlands will open in October.
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