Aikman’s has returned, and aided by the buzz of another new semester, it has already achieved legendary status in a town that is rumored to have the most pubs per capita than any other town in Britain. Upon entering the student-revered establishment, one is immediately overcome with a pleasant sense of surprise given the faded sign and easy-to-miss entryway. To any that have visited Aikman’s since its victorious re-opening, it is clear that the place is not only popular – it’s packed. Finding a place to stand is hard enough, let alone managing to locate a seat alongside a proper surface on which to put your drink. While the original pub had two floors, the basement has yet to open its doors (which likely explains the lack of space) but it is still immensely clear that the pub has re-opened it’s doors to an enthusiastic and thirsty crowd.
After declaring bankruptcy and shutting down business in 2009, Aikman’s became a cause in and of itself for its crestfallen patrons, who spearheaded a Facebook campaign to gather support for their beloved bar. To those who arrived at the University after its closure, Aikman’s became the type of local legend that small towns such as St Andrews are so attached to. Freshers, on their first tour of the local pubs, were lectured at length about the greatness that was Aikman’s and the “better times” of days gone by. It was therefore with a considerable sigh of relief that the pub announced its re-opening to the public at the start of semester two of this year, and a cause for huge celebration on behalf of those who had fought so earnestly for victory over the current economy.
Aikman’s attracts a very specific clientele, as do most pubs in St Andrews – it’s not the kind of place to see someone drunkenly put the lit end of a cigarette in their mouth (everyone’s been to the Lizard). Rather, Aikman’s is the perfect place to go for a casual drink with friends, a place where the music won’t drown out conversation and where the staff are always ready to greet you with a smile. The pub itself feels like a relic of the 70s, lending itself largely to the clientele – the place can ultimately be described as a ‘hipster’s paradise,’ with an atmosphere so strangely familiar it’s almost as if having a drink in the living room of one of the older flats in town. One is likely to overhear snippets of conversation regarding the cons of mainstream media and the pros of vintage sunglasses.
In terms of drinks, the prices are appropriate for a student demographic, with the bar offering a solid selection of spirits and basically any drink that would meet the demands of the easily placated masses. The selection of beers is likely one of the best in town, with a large number of foreign labels to choose from at reasonable prices. It is clear that once the basement opens up again and the flow is restored to the pub, it will only become more popular among those students looking for a place to either start their night or to join their friends for a cheeky pint. Overall, the future is looking bright for Aikman’s – here’s a toast to you.