Tag Archives: ale

The Village Inn

Fairlie, Near Largs:

Very first impressions weren’t so good, but we soon found out how wrong we were.

The first impressions weren’t helped by a bus driver not stopping when requeseted, so we ended up walking about 1/2 mile back. When we got in, there were a large group of people stood around the bar, blocking access. The landlord was keen to help, but a bit /too/ keen for my annoyed state of mind at that point. However, this was just me being grumpy.

We got settled, got a beer, and relaxed. Beer was great, the landlord turned out to be really friendly, really keen to do well, and a generally nice bloke. He’d taken over a few weeks ago- the pub has had a chequered history of late, open, shut, open again, shut again. Food excellant, and good value. Inside to the left is aimed towards dining, to the right is a traditional bar, both clean and tidy, but not devoid of atmosphere. Deserves to do well.

The Black Bull Inn

Rothesay, Isle of Bute:

Not terribly inspiring from outside- it looks like a shop frontage, and the sign is a plaing black and white full-width job, but inside is lovely; traditonal. The front half of the pub has a notice that you may be asked to move to the back of the pub at busy food times if not eating, but when we visited (for food and drink) a chap was just sat reading the paper, and a couple of older ladies dropped in for coffee. Moving to the back wouldn’t be a hardship anyway, unless all the seats were full.

Great food, great beer, and very friendly staff.

Blackfriars Bar

Merchant City, Glasgow:

In a street of bars and eateries, this is a big ,modern, open plan bar/pub, all stripped wood floors, but it had one of the better selections of cask ale, had outside space, and was en route to other pubs on our hit list, and it was actually quite nice, if a bit modern and trendy for the likes of me: staff were pleasant, beer was fine.

Frasers Bar

Millport, Isle of Cumbrae:

Ayrshire & Wigtownshire CAMRA‘s 2018 pub of the year 2018, and well deserved. We missed the presentation of the award by one day.

Inside is smart and clean without deing devoid of atmosphere. The front part is bar, the back part family area and restaurant, and we saw that being enforced, so the front is adult space. 2 cask ales on when we visited, one being Jaw Spinnaker, which was frankly wonderful. Friendly, helpful staff, and good food too. Probably the best pub of our trip; definitely the best outside Glasgow. If it hadn’t required a ferry trip, we’d have been in more.

J G Sharps


Our first pub in Largs, our first drink being in a hotel bar, so not counting.

Had quite high hopes for this; it’s just away from the seafront, and was listed in our Good Beer Guide (even if our GBG is a little out-of-date). As it was, it didn’t impress; not awful by any means, but walking in, the only cask ale was Doom Bar (shudder), and the place was packed with people watching the kicksphere: it was dark and noisy. Half of Glasgow was in Largs, and many of them were in here.

A subsequent visit made it a bit better- still no drinkable cask, but Shipyard keg, and we found the beer garden. Staff were OK, and it was one of very few pubs with an actual beer garden in town, but it wasn’t what we hoped for.

The Spotted Dog

Digbeth, Birmingham:

Lovely, traditional Birmingham pub. Multi-roomed, so the entertainment at times needed disturb people after a quite pint. Lovely friendly staff, great beer (Fixed Wheel No Brakes when we visited), good bar snacks, and a nice vibe. Benches out front with a (urban!) view to the city. About the only problem is the limited hours in the week (no lunchtime opening Mon-fri).