The Duchess of Kirkcaldy takes its name from a line in a Beatles song, and giving great music to the people of the town was a main reason behind its opening.
That, coupled with a desire to rekindle the brilliant atmosphere of the orginal Nicol’s Bar, and provide quality food and drink in a homely setting was what prompted Dallas Mackay Campbell to take on the mammoth task of gutting the Nicol Street premises and, with help from partners Caledonian Heritable, transforming it into Kirkcaldy’s newest bar/restaurant.
This is Dallas’ first solo venture, but she’s not short on experience in the licensed trade.
As the daughter of acclaimed Kirkcaldy publican George Mackay, she was brought up in the industry and studied for an HNC in hospitality management at Fife College.
Since then she has worked with her dad, managing Top O’ The Toun, running a private club in Aberdeen and gaining valuable experience at other pubs and hostelries in and around the town.
“Dad has been great in advising me and I know I can call on his experience any time, but he’s given me free reign on this project and I’ve been hands-on from day one,” said the 37-year-old mum-of-three.
That involved working with the interior designer behind the likes of Tiger Lily and other top Edinburgh establishments and Paul Campbell and his team for the building works, both of whom Dallas describes as being “fantastic”.
The Duchess maintains a few original features from when it was a linen mill, including Douglas fir beams. A purpose-built Douglas fir bar and booths have been installed to complement them.
“It has only taken us around 20 weeks from obtaining the premises in April to where we are now and I’m delighted with the way it looks,” said Dallas.
“We’re on the final stretch now. There have been a few bumps along the way, but generally things have gone well.”
The Duchess will open to the public on August 29 at 9.00 p.m. and will feature live DJ sessions on Friday nights with live music on Saturdays.
The quality home-made comfort food with a modern twist will come courtesy of head chef Lynn Clarke who has worked with the Mackays in the past and has an enviable reputation. Saturdays will feature afternoon tea and Sundays high tea. There are plans for open mic nights and film shows, and on October 6, 50 years on from the Beatles’ appearance at the Carton in Kirkcaldy, Dallas has booked tribute band Them Beatles.
“Great food, great music and a great atmosphere is what it is all about. I can’t wait to open and give Kirkcaldy a bit of a boost,” said Dallas.
(The Beatles song in question is Cry Baby Cry, from the White Album. It features the line, “The duchess of Kircaldy always smiling and arriving late for tea”).