Exciting new Shawlands cocktail and small plates spot announces opening date

Stefano Azzaro is the brains behind the new Old Fish Bar concept
Stefano Azzaro is the brains behind the new Old Fish Bar concept -Credit:Sean Murphy

The owner behind an exciting new cocktail and small plates spot coming to Shawlands has revealed he is set to open earlier than he hoped.

The Old Fish Bar, transforming the old Guido's Chippy site on Coustonholm Road, is now set to open on May 1 with a fresh new twist.

Stefano Azzaro, who gave us a glimpse behind those black shutters into the transformation of the exciting new spot last month, revealed that in a departure from the norm, they've decided to launch with a completely alcohol-free offering.

Stefan said: "This bold choice may raise eyebrows, but it's a deliberate challenge we're eager to embrace, aimed at making our venue inclusive and accessible to all."

The new tapas and cocktails bar is set to open at 74 Coustonholm Road, with signage yet to be added
The new small plates and cocktails bar is set to open at 74 Coustonholm Road, with signage yet to be added -Credit:Sean Murphy

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Stefan confirmed that the food and cocktail menus will change every six weeks, adding that the initial drink concept will embrace zero alcohol. He said: "For our launch concept, we've completely reinvented the traditional cocktail experience. Gone are the standard spirit bottles, replaced by an array of zero-percent alternatives.

"It’s important to note that our drinks will not merely be non-alcoholic versions of familiar cocktails made from simple syrups and fruit juices. Instead, we're crafting genuine cocktails that are entirely alcohol-free, focusing on sophisticated flavours and innovative ingredients."

Adding that one of the most exciting aspects of this change is the use of global non-alcoholic traditions, such as those found in Muslim cultures and North Africa.

He added: "For instance, we've incorporated Moroccan lemon—not your ordinary lemon, but one that's been lacto-fermented in an exotic mix of spices, salt, and palm sugar. This is just one example of how we're integrating unique, fermented ingredients to mimic the complexity of alcoholic beverages.

"Initially, I was sceptical about adopting a fully non-alcoholic model. However, after extensive research and experimentation, including the exploration of various non-alcoholic spirits and controlled fermentation techniques, I'm confident in our new direction.

"To my knowledge, we are pioneering as Scotland’s first (or at least among the very few) cocktail bars dedicated entirely to alcohol-free offerings.

"We are delighted to introduce an innovative ingredient from Japan, kombucha, to our repertoire. By integrating this with advanced juice extraction techniques utilising fruit peels, clarifications via gelification, and de-alcoholisation processes, we have meticulously crafted our new menu. Each beverage undergoes extensive preparation to ensure excellence in every glass, promising a worthwhile experience."

However, he confirmed that more traditional spirits would be making their own introduction to the new venue in the near future.

"While this menu is a testament to our innovative spirit," he added. "Rest assured, the traditional spirits are merely on a temporary hiatus and are eager to return."

Inviting people along to explore this exciting no alcohol concept, Stefano confirmed they've refreshed their selection of small plates, offering a vibrant array of colours and flavours "inspired by global cuisines", with guests able to expect dishes infused with Asian, African, and tropical elements.

Dishes will include the likes of panipuri filled with Greek yoghurt and lemongrass sauce, accompanied by prawns and a spicy chilli sauce, offering what he says will be a "burst of fresh and fiery flavours".

Stefano stated that they will unveil the full menu for the venue on April 27 via their Instagram account, @the_old_fish_bar.

He said: "I'm excited for you to experience our groundbreaking approach to cocktails, which promises to offer a fresh perspective and a new social experience. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and welcoming you to The Old Fish Bar.

"Due to our intimate setting, we will not utilize booking platforms. However, reservations can be made directly through WhatsApp at 07551558756 or via our social media channels. We aim to confirm bookings within 24 hours."

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