The Secret Drinker recommends some of the best beer gardens in the Highlands
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Let’s get down to business. This is not a list of the best beer gardens, this is just some of them. But throughout the summer I will engage in an extensive odyssey around the Highlands replete with expenses.
The publishing director will be proud that I am able to wrack several thousands of pounds just touring out-of-the-way beer gardens. Bosses like paying expenses, right?
You want the info not my chat, so I will make this as much to the point as I can possibly tolerate.
Do you have any idea how ominous it is to get on a train and your friend who is a deerstalker presents you with the supplies for a two and bit hour journey to Plockton that includes over a litre of Highland Park? Do you know how ominous it is on the way back when it finally runs dry?
Easily a day trip to Plockton for seafood, drams and langoustines on the West Highland line is one of the very best trips that can be made anywhere in Scotland or the whole island of Britain. No argument.
And there you will find this beer garden with this view:
The Clachnaharry Inn may have the best beer garden in Inverness but the best beer garden in the Great Glen looks out over Loch Ness and is simply unmatchable by any other place to my knowledge (always happy to be corrected incidentally).
The Inn is primarily a food joint – booo! – and the food is excellent on each and every occasion that I have been there though it does have a very cute and warm wee bar area just as you go in from the front.
But if it is a nice day take a walk outside and sit on the benches and just look at Loch Ness. You are looking at one of the most iconic places on planet earth and you get to do with a pint.
The drawback is that it is quite far out so if you were driving like me you were restricted to a half bottle of whisky (jokes, jokes, jokes – I never drive to a pub) but if you know a designated driver then give them a call, you won’t regret it.
See for yourself:
The Dundonnell Hotel
I was on a job a few years ago, and it wasn’t pleasant. On the way back I stopped here for a while and fell a little in love with the place. It comes at you out of nowhere after a not too long and winding road (no pun) having turned off the A835.
And just sitting out there as the sun went down gave me such a peaceful feeling that belongs in people exclusively on the west coast of Scotland – though perhaps it doesn’t happen in Campbelltown too often or maybe it does.
There are two beer gardens, one right next to the bar and one slightly across the road – that one I preferred because it was not on the road, which in any case wasn’t busy, and anyway had better views over Little Loch Broom.
The Clachan and The Dornie Hotel
In years past I have discovered that I enjoyed consuming alcohol in both these places – and because they are adjacent they make for an excellent two for the price of one deal.
Both seem to have had face lifts recently and perhaps they are the better for it but what matters is what goes in the glass and where you can drink and these pair of gems sit on Dornie’s main street.
But this is a very quiet main street and there are few nicer places to sip a dram on a warm summer's days or night.
First The Clachan:
And now The Dornie Hotel:
Finally how could I mention beer gardens without reference the best in Inverness – the Clachnaharry Inn.
Followers of the Secret Drinker will know my love of the place as being one of the best boozers in the north.
But the main reason for this romance is the view from the beer garden which has to be one of the best that can be found in any city: