by Chris Hammond
Being the most atheist of Britain’s major cities Aberdeen has rather brilliantly thrown up a never ending supply of derelict churches to the pub industry; Soul (an eerily vapid drinking experience somehow more sinister than even the most deviant Dracula incarnation) and The Priory (just shite really) join Slains in being the most prominent of these watering holes of worship.
And on the face of it Slains is great! It’s a gorgeous silver church with a huge cavernous interior filled to the brim with suitably morbid décor. Suits of armour, bookcases for doors, chandeliers, torture implements and horror paraphernalia are liberally strewn across the bars two floors of gothic glory. It’s a real feast for the eyes . . . just not the other senses. Aurally it’s about as scary as it can get for an intelligent human being, with a hideous barrage of commercial R&B and pop destroying any atmosphere that the undoubtedly top notch surroundings might have induced. Likewise the edible wares on offer are equally unpalatable, cheap gassy lager and lurid, weak, sugary cocktails are the drinks of choice at a bar so unimpressive it almost seems as if alcoholics anonymous are in charge of the purchasing.
Clientele wise it drips with nervy first year university students finally unleashed after an eternity suckling their mothers teat – here they wander round sheepishly trying to avoid the more seasoned yet equally sozzled assortment of ruffians.
Scary stuff indeed. So much so in fact I’ll let a Bram Stoker quote summarise a Saturday night in Salins . . .
“A horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which, do what I would, I could not conceal."
Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Photo by cvander