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Illicit Still shuts down: are Aberdeen businesses at risk?

The pub was a common meeting spot for students and societies before the pandemic.


By: Mireia Jimenez


"Illicit Still"by STVphotos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



Illicit Still announced the final closure of its doors on March 25th after being shut down since Christmas.

Their website shared the message: “Thank you & Goodbye. Illicit Still is now closed, thank you for your support and custom over the years.”

The pub was commonly used by several student societies as a place of gathering for quizzes, stopping off during pub crawls, or just going in for a pint and some live music.

Places such as the Illicit Still, and the retailer John Lewis are examples of how Aberdeen businesses have been heavily affected by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will have a clear impact on Aberdeen’s job market.

Third-year student Heather Thompson said: “I think it’s really sad that the business [Illicit Still] is closing because I used to go to society events quite often. I guess a lot of businesses in Aberdeen are closing one after the other right now. I used to be a bartender so I was hoping to apply to other bars in Aberdeen once restrictions loosen up, however, the fact that they are closing worries me.”

However, she added: “Then again, many places are getting refurbished! Pretty excited about that! I suppose the only thing we can do is wait and see what is open or not once restrictions allow, it is just frustrating that we can do nothing about it. ”

Indeed, other pubs and bars are already planning their reopening for next month, since restrictions are planning to be lifted.

For instance, pubs such as The Red Lion in Spital have announced their refurbishment plans and many others are on the way of taking similar steps.

Another third-year student, Elise Gourmelon also added: “I’m concerned about people losing their jobs and access to the Furlough Scheme. There will be a very high demand for jobs when things open again and probably not enough places to work at. The fact that independent bars like Illicit Still have to close it’s quite sad.”

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