Oscar’s, Stirling’s first wine and cocktail bar, has breathed new life into the city’s historic Arcade.
The bar, which has proved popular since it opened last month, is a family business run by Nicky O’Neill and her husband David. They specialise in serving a wide range of wines and cocktails and also offer delicious home-baked cakes and pastries, coffees, teas, mocktails and soft drinks.
Meanwhile, the tempting food menu features soup, small plates, platters, classics like fish and chips, hot dogs, breakfasts and ice cream. Nicky is delighted with the welcome the family has received since opening the bar on June 5.
She says: “Our expectations of opening were completely surpassed – the feedback has been fantastic so far and the support we’ve had has been brilliant. I’m a great believer that if you have the passion to put into a business then it will be a success.
Oscar’s has been a real labour of love for us and we have put a lot of thought into every aspect of it – the plates, cutlery, the lights, the décor and so on have all been chosen with love and that seems to be paying off.
We’ve had good support locally with so many people coming in and saying how much Stirling needs a place like this and then telling their friends to come.
It’s all been very much word of mouth and we’re also pleased to have had lots of positive reviews and nice comments on our social media pages.”
Nicky has worked in retail and hospitality throughout her career even working in the same unit as Oscar’s many years ago when it was an Italian deli. She and her business partners took over the property in February this year and gave it a complete overhaul prior to launching.
The bar – which is named after Nicky’s youngest child three-year-old Oscar – also makes the most of the Arcade’s atrium which has been transformed into a fantastic ‘outdoor’ seating area featuring tables with large umbrellas and surrounded by foliage.
Nicky says: “My mum had a bar when we were growing up and I’ve worked in hospitality on and off most of my life. This is the first hospitality business of my own and I actually worked in this unit 12 years ago when it was an Italian deli – I always thought that with some work it could be an amazing and successful venue.
It’s a gorgeous building and the Arcade is a brilliant location and prior to opening, we gutted and completely refurbished the unit as well as re-utilising the Atrium. I would describe our style as vintage with a contemporary twist and we were really aiming for somewhere which feels quite high end and stylish but is also comfortable and relaxing.”
Oscars certainly offers something for everyone – whether you want a Sunday morning breakfast, coffee and a cake, lunch and a glass of wine, a romantic sharing meal for two or a night out with friends. The cocktails menu – which includes classic Martinis and a signature range featuring Eden Mill Fizz, Coconut Daiquiri and more – is popular with customers as is the extensive wine and champagne list.
Unusually, Oscar’s offers a huge range of wines, champagnes and proseccos by the glass (as well as the bottle) including a Cellar Collection of more expensive wines. Nicky says: “Our philosophy is all about creating a place where people can come and try new things and we have a Wine Preservation system which means we can offer lots of different wines and bubbles by the glass. The system means the wine remains preserved once opened so we are able to offer an extensive wine range. It means we don’t have to worry about opening an expensive bottle so someone can just try one glass of it. It’s unusual to find this and is something we’re pleased to be able to offer.”
And if you are not a fan of wine or cocktails, there are plenty of beers and ciders to choose from plus various drams, soft drinks, hot drinks and more.
While Walk-ins are available during weekdays, it’s advisable to book in advance if you are planning to visit Oscar’s at the weekend and this can be done online via a link on the Facebook page – bit.ly/BookOscarsBar
The bar has live music during Friday nights and Saturdays and serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Meanwhile, future plans for Oscar’s include Wine Pairing Nights, Cocktail Classes, Margarita Brunches and Champagne and Hot Dog Nights.
Nicky says: “We’ve been having live music Fridays and Saturdays which has gone down well and are planning to launch various events as we move forward. We just want to do something a bit different so people can start to have fun again and have somewhere to come out and enjoy nice, relaxed surroundings with friends and family.”
Oscar’s is based in the middle of Stirling Arcade and is open six days a week – Tuesday to Friday between 10am and 10.30pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 10.30pm.
And the opening times will be extended once Covid restrictions allow the bar to remain open later.
The Oscar’s website is currently under construction and will be coming soon. Meanwhile, more details about the bar can be found on the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/oscarswinebarstirling – and on Instagram – www.instagram.com/oscarswinetime