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The Lowdown Hub

Is this the best whisky bar in the world? Bertie’s Bar at the Fife Arms in the Highlands is a dram.

The world is full of luxury hotel bars with big-ticket whisky lists – lists created, all too often, with an eye on the bottom line, rather than any real heart. So when one of my favourite whisky writers, World Atlas of Whisky author Dave Broom, mentioned he was working on a new hotel bar in Braemar, my ears pricked up.

When he added that it was in gallerists Hauser & Wirth’s hotel The Fife Arms, and designed by Russell Sage, my ears pricked up even more: it sounded like a dream team. And Bertie’s is a gem. Furnished in the style of a sumptuous Edwardian library, and lined floor-to-ceiling with 365 back-lit whiskies that suffuse the room with an amber glow, this 15-seater lounge looks more like a liquid installation than a bar – a place to hole up on dark nights when the Highland rain is lashing down outside.

The whiskies at Bertie’s Bar at The Fife Arms, in Braemar The real theatre is in the bottles – all close enough to touch The whisky list Broom has created is naturally dominated by Scotland – but it features drams from all over the world, grouped by style rather than place of origin, to make the whole thing more navigable.

“Doing it like this allows you to show commonalities and differences between different