On January 31, the Fairmont opened the doors of Zephyr: Scotland’s first and only vegetarian/vegan sports bar. Dozens of guests spilled over the hotel’s glittering bridge, gathering around high tables in the bar to sample tiny pots of spicy babaganoush, chilled buckwheat noodles, and hirata buns stuffed with chili-miso seitan. The guest list included Olympic curling medallists Team Muirhead, rugby players, as well as Red Sky Management, a company that oversees a variety of competitive swimmers, skiers, and cyclists. With Zephyr’s focus on providing healthier food, it’s no surprise that the sports bar draws such a crowd of elite athletes. You can’t exactly win a marathon eating only deep-fried fish, chips, and cartons of Ben and Jerry’s (unless it’s a marathon to finish your dissertation, which in that case, I recommend the Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavour — it’s delish). Athletes have to fuel their bodies with healthy foods, which seems to be the Fairmont’s inspiration for Zephyr. So what does food at a vegan sports bar look like, exactly?
Well. As it turns out, it looks amazing.
Zephyr’s menu includes updated pub classics like sweetcorn & pepper sliders, chili chips, and mushroom sourdough with hazelnuts. Feeling adventurous? Try the Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as the spiced falafel with tahini Greek yoghurt, cheese-stuffed vine leaves, or flatbread and hummus. You can also try Japanese Agedashi tofu in a miso sauce, or Indian spiced tempura cauliflower with pomegranate. The hit of the night was the hirata buns. These fluffy white rolls stuffed with chewy miso seitan and chili had even the most sceptical carnivores asking for seconds. One guest actually pulled a waitress aside to ask if his bun really was vegan because it tasted so meaty. If that’s not a compliment, then I don’t know what is.
Is my bun actually vegan?
Of course, no menu would be complete without the drinks. Ditch your regular Pablo for the evening and try Zephyr’s signature Pilsner, or St Andrews Brewing Company’s IPA. Beer-lovers will also find Belhaven, Innis and Gunn, and Harviestoun on offer. Not a beer fan? Try Zephyr’s selection of wine, or one of the bar’s eight classic cocktails (e.g. Black Russian, Negroni, Dark n Stormy). At £10 a drink, the cocktails are Adamson-level pricey, but the budget-conscious student will be pleased to know that the beer and wine runs closer to £5. Also, Zephyr offers a deal where you can buy any three plates of food for £13, which means that you’ll still have money to buy those textbooks that you didn’t think you would need at the start of this semester (or, more accurately, to spend on tickets for fashion shows or the DRAFP ball).
Students get a 20 per cent discount
Although the Fairmont seems like a trek, it’s totally worth the £10 taxi ride for a night of pool, darts, and watching Sky and BT Sport on Zephyr’s six large screen TV’s. The bar is open until 12am every night of the week, and students get a 20 per cent discount (!) on all food and drinks. Whether you’re a vegan looking to try some new food, or a golf-aficionado looking for a new place to watch the Masters in April, Zephyr is the perfect place for you. Plus, it’s ideal for those Friday nights when you want to go out, but the idea of standing in an hour-long queue for the Bop feels about as pleasant as crawling over broken glass. Seriously. If you’re looking for a way to escape the Bubble for an evening, then the Zephyr Sports Bar is the way to go. With hearty and healthy food, plush faux-leather seating, and a cozy atmosphere, there’s no better way to relax and enjoy some sport.
For more information on Zephyr’s opening hours, please see this page here.