Listed in CAMRA’s historic pub interiors, this little pub keeps a timewarp feel. No real ale when we visited, sadly, but pleasant staff and locals, and the lager was bearable.
The only place in town with parking, it seemed, so we stopped for lunch as a break from the drive. It’s a pleasant enough place- a locals pub as well as hotel- and the staff were very pleasant. No real ale, but a good selection of other stuff. Lunch, however, was not so good: I have a thing with sandwiches drowned in mayonnaise, and this, literally, dripped. Shame really, there was lots to like.
Just over the Caledonian Canal from our holiday cottage, this is a friendly, traditional pub that serves both locals and tourists: it can get very busy with the latter at times.
One hand pump with a localish beer, and a good choice of others. Decent, if not cheap, food, and nice staff, and a cracking view of the locks.
This looks like it might be a bit rough from outside: enough to cause a colleague to comment. However, Stymistress and my good self are of sterner stuff. We went in.
It was actually quite pleasant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a Glasgow drinker’s pub, not a trendy bar or family-friendly carbon-copy pub, but it’s really quite nice. No cask, but Belhaven keg was OK and the staff were friendly (unless you were fool enough to be rude to them, as one local was), as were the people at the bar, even though I couldn’t understand a word (heavy Glaswegian accent, plus a bit pissed).
A nice pub with food, superb staff, and a huge whisky collection. It looks a bit chainy inside, with quotations painted on the walls, but I reckon it’s independent. There didn’t seem to be cask beer, but Belhaven keg was OK, and the food was excellent and good value- but the staff really shone.
What a pleasant pub. Friendly staff, decent beer (some nice weissebier and actual ale), outside seating (OK, it was on the pavement of Argyll St, but still welcome) and a nice atmosphere. No food evident, and it’s pretty small, but worth a visit.
Menstrie, near Stirling:
Our overnight stop southbound from holiday was up the road, so we called in for a pint or two. Outside, it’s an unusual, 30s styled building, inside, a typical locals boozer with a friendly landlord and locals, limited beer choice, but pleasant enough.
The second hotel in the village, but just outside the centre.
Location doesn’t help this in terms of locals in the bar, but there’s other attractions: Whisky Hotel of the year a few years ago, there’s a bewildering array of whisky, including some made in Scotland’s smallest legal still, out the back, which you can take tours of. The owner’s a real character.
Food is similar, but I think the Aultbea Hotel has the edge.
After our drive over Bealach na Ba it was time for a drink, but no alcohol for me, as we had to drive back too. A very pleasant pub, with good choice of beer and, by the looks of it, good food. Can get very crowded though.
Aultbea, near Loch Ewe:
This became our ‘local’ for a week. It’s a hotel, but as with many Scottish hotels, there’s a public bar, plus as the only establishment serving alcohol in the village centre, it becomes the village pub (and takeaway and off-licence).
There’s 3 distinct public areas: a Bistro area that is what it says, a lounge, and a public bar. The bar is mostly used by locals and is a bit rough-and-ready, as usual, but it’s pleasant enough (the locals are friendly) and serves a cheaper food menu than elsewhere.
Beer choice was a bit limited, but it was all OK, and the prices reasonable. Food in the Bistro/Lounge seems expensive, but you have to remember the overheads are higher up here- it seemed on a par with the other hotel nearby. The food itself was mostly standard pub-food like menu, but it was decently cooked, and the staff were pleasant.