Scotland is arguably home to one of the most lively and thriving pub cultures in the world. The warmth of the people, the incredibly broad drinks available in both beers and spirits, local and imported and the cultural place they hold all contribute to the strength of the pub as a Scottish institution.
With this in mind, these pubs we are about to explore are more than great places to eat and drink at, they are part of the social fabric and history of the nation. It might sound odd, but what Café’s are to the French or beaches to Australian’s, the pub is to the Scots. Like their fathers and grandfathers before them, Scots will always be drawn to pubs as a place to gather, a place to eat, drink, celebrate, commiserate and make part of their lives.
The Albert Tavern
Not far from Edinburgh in the slightly less busy and more sedate borough of Fife is the Albert Tavern. The unassuming name hides a very impressive recent history. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is a body which champions independent pubs and beers and their special place in the United Kingdom. It is an organization that has a proud 40 year history and boasts over 150,000 active members who contribute each year to the various publications and events.
And it is this body that has selected the Albert Tavern as Scottish Pub of the Year three separate times. The key features that set the Albert apart were the family friendly feel of the pub as well as the welcoming atmosphere of the local business. The pub also has a royal connection, with its rooms once used as a coaching house for generations of British royalty, who used to lodge at the nearby Falkland Palace.
The Golf Tavern
A visitor to Scotland cannot help but notice that the level of golf knowledge in the country must be the among the highest in the world. Indeed, many wives and girlfriends complain of being ‘golf widows’ when the warmer summer months arrive, being left in preference of long fairways and challenging greens as soon as the weather clears. It is only fitting then that The Golf Tavern in Edinburgh fuses the two passions of golf and a drink after the 18th hole.
The place is one of the oldest pubs you can find north of Hadrian’s wall, and is home to the undisputed largest collection of historical golfing memorabilia you could hope to find. Recent renovations have given the pub a more modern feel and improved the food facilities, but the feel of the old pub is still everywhere you look, from the unique golf themed bar fixtures to the ‘club room’ feel of the restaurant.
The Globe Inn
Located in Dumfries, the Globe has the most character of any pub you could hope to find. Robert Burns, famous for his iconic poem Auld Land Syne, sung traditionally at new years eve, penned many of his poems here. Indeed the poet wrote of the Inn that it had been more like a home than tavern. It is storied in history, having first opened its doors in 1610, still housing it’s original fire place and Burns’ chair along with more modern additions of over three dozen whiskies and craft beers and ales.
Any one of these pubs in the different regions of Scotland will give visitors a unique insight into the history of the nation and how it links with it’s famous pub culture.