The Old Forge

Inverie, Knoydart Peninsula:


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The remotest pub in mainland Britain, only accessible by a 20 mile hike or by boat. There are roads, but they’re not connected to the main UK road network.

I was a bit dissapointed, perhaps because of high expectations: the pub’s site bigs up the real ale, but there was only one on offer (which was fine, but not one I was keen on), the wine seemed a bit duff and while the food looked good, it was a bit over the top for lunchtime, which is the easiest time to visit, so we went to a tearoom for lunch instead. Staff were fine though, and there was decent lager.

The Grog and Gruel

Fort William:


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First impressions weren’t doing it for me: I was expecting a sub-Wetherspoon pub, and inside was dark on a very bright sunny day (and no outside space, sadly- a couple of tables in the pedestrianised High St would be great) but I was very wrong: the staff were friendly, the beer was great (a choice of ale including a fine IPA whose name escapes me) and the food other customers had looked good, and this was the closest to a proper traditional pub we got to in the Highlands this week.

The Ben Nevis Bar

Fort William:


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Fronting on to the High St, this large pub has a rear terrace with a fine view of the A82 dual carriageway Loch Linnhe. Ok, it has a view of both, but look up and you can shut out the A82.

There was ale, but sadly only 1, and that a dark one, so our stay was shorty than otherwise: staff were pleasant, food was good value and, joking aside, the terrace at the back does have a good view.

The Marine

Mallaig:


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We’ve had hotels on pubblog before, and the difficulty for me is deciding if they’re sufficiently pub-like: pure hotel bars don’t get listed.

This is the reverse: It calls itself a hotel, has rooms available, and the website lists a menu, but it seems they’ve stopped doing food, and this place just feels like a local’s pub: a bit rough and ready, but pleasant and lively. No ale, but decent lager and very friendly staff.

The Steam Inn

Mallaig:


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Just down the street from The Chlachain Inn, this has a restaurant attached, but you can just eat in the bar. Again, it’s not that traditional inside- much less than you’d expect, but there was ale, great food (including curry!) and a friendly welcome. There’s a TV and jukebox but you can hear over them. Prices OK- food expensive, but that’s true everywhere in town.

The Clachain Inn

Mallaig:


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The first pub we came to in Mallaig. First impressions outside were good, inside less so: the decor is less traditional inn, more 90s cafe bar, and there were small children running about and dropping pool cues. Beer was good though.

A second visit was much better: we were expecting the decor, and no brats evident. Great beer, fantastic food, and a warm welcome (and warm coal fire) made it a pleasant visit.

The Stag Hotel

Moffat, Dumfries & Galloway:


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Actually a hotel, but the bar felt pub-like, and the distincton blurs north of the border. Deuchar’s IPA on a hand pull, and a reasonable beer garden in the sunshine made this a nice place to be at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, rather than at work. Friendly staff and locals, decent beer. There was food available in the adjoining restaurant, but we visited too early for that.

Revisits: The Royal Exchange

Original post here.

A while ago, the pub had a half-hearted makeover that made it worse: it felt even more like a clubhouse. I’m glad to say that’s been fixed: the pub looks smart and feels modern and welcoming, and there’s new outside furniture too. It’s also gained real ale, which is very welcome, and food.

…which is where I was disappointed.

At time of writing, the website says food is served 12:00-20:00, and I’m told if you view on an iPad, it says light bites available up to 14:30. The sign outside says “food every day”.

Either way, having settled down with an (to be fair, excellent) pint, it was dissapointing to be told the kitchen had closed when I tried to order food at 14:01, so we drank up and went back down to the bustling centre of Walsall Wood and the Boatman’s Rest. Shame really, we’d have been set up for the afternoon…