Scottish Bar in Brooklyn Seeks Mural From the Old Country

By Leslie Albrecht on December 14, 2012 7:54am 

PARK SLOPE — Mel Gibson in his "Braveheart" blue face paint need not apply.

A Scottish whisky bar in Park Slope wants an authentic Scottish-themed mural, and it's willing to go back to the old country to get it.

The Duke of Montrose, a watering hole slated to open early next year on Fifth Avenue and Bergen Street, is holding a contest for Scottish art students to design an 8-foot by 3-foot mural for the bar.

The competition is open to students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, at Scotland's University of Dundee. The winner will be flown from Scotland to New York to paint the mural and enjoy some sightseeing.

The contest was dreamed up by the bar's co-owners, one of which grew up in Dundee, together with the Scottish Belhaven Brewery, which will be selling stouts, ales and beers at the new bar.

"We just want to have something that's authentically Scottish," co-owner Michael Ferrie said. "We're quite open. It could be something contemporary.

"Personally I’m just excited to see what they come up with. I just want something that looks really impressive."

Ferrie and his partners are looking for a piece of wall art that combines references to Belhaven Brewery, the bar's co-owners, the Duke of Montrose, and the city of Dundee.

The artists will have plenty of material to inspire them.

The Duke of Montrose title is linked to co-owner Steven Owen's ancestral Graham clan. The most famed member of the line was the Fifth Earl of Montrose, James Graham, a "very successful Scottish soldier" who battled the English leader Oliver Cromwell, said Ferrie.

A judging panel will decide which mural conjures up the most genuinely Scottish look. Entries will be displayed on the bar's website. The competition closes on Feb. 11, 2012.

The Duke of Montrose's co-owners also run Caledonia Scottish Pub on the Upper East Side. Like its Manhattan sister, the Park Slope bar will feature high-quality single malt whisky and serve food.

They're hoping to have the new establishment open in time for Burns Night, a Scottish holiday on Jan. 25 which honors the poet Robert Burns, Ferrie said.

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