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Aceo Ltd aims to convert former Bank of Scotland on Forres High Street into a bar, restaurant and whisky club

By Garry McCartney

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The former bank at 102 High Street decorated by Forres In Bloom this summer.
The former bank at 102 High Street decorated by Forres In Bloom this summer.

A SCOTCH whisky company is looking to revive one of the town’s most prominent buildings.

Aceo Ltd plans to convert the former Bank of Scotland building at 102 High Street into a bar, restaurant and whisky club, and use the upstairs for offices.

The Victorian four-storey structure was opened in 1852, providing banking services in the centre of Forres until it closed for good in July 2022.

An Aceo spokesperson said: “We have exciting and ambitious plans for ‘The Old Bank’. Our investment will bring significant employment and commercial activity to the town, thereby helping the local community and giving a boost to the local economy.”

Aceo’s plans, subject to the necessary planning permissions, include: opening a bar selling rare and interesting whiskies; housing a restaurant offering fine food; and establishing a members club with high class surroundings.

Aceo has been in the whisky industry for 25 years. The company, whose headquarters is near Edinburgh, owns and operates whisky maturation warehouses in Moray, supporting its large range of bottled brands. Customers include distilleries and leading independent bottlers in the UK and overseas.

“We want to make The Old Bank the best watering hole in Speyside,” said the spokesperson, “a must-see for any whisky-lovers visiting the region. We want people from all over the world to visit what will very quickly become a famous regional whisky emporium. The members’ club will be vibrant and inclusive as we strive to attract clients who are both new to whisky, as well as connoisseurs, to our whisky lounge.”

The planned whisky shop will specialise in selling rare and hard-to-find whiskies. Aceo also hopes to open a specially licensed cigar room with humidors and a shop selling fine cigars.

The Old Bank’s car park at the rear of the property has space for up to 20 cars.

Club members will enjoy invitations to whisky events and tastings, and have access to own label bottlings, and cask investment opportunities, along with VIP access to Aceo’s close-by traditional Victorian whisky warehouses.

They will also be offered accommodation at Aceo’s brand properties in the area – Dallas Dhu House on St Leonard’s Road (formally Newbold House), Tides Edge cottage in Findhorn, Parkmore Distillery Manager’s House near Dufftown as well as its old stone ruined bothy and camping ground in the Glenrinnes hills.

The spokesperson finished: “There is a local Forres business initiative, encouraging investment in the town, which we want to be part of.”

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