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Pubs and Restaurants

Pubs and Restaurants

For a very long time, the food offering in Europe had an abysmal reputation. However, if any area of life has improved more than another, it is undoubtedly the quality and standard of cuisine. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a bad meal anywhere across the Continent, with a little guidance. The British and Irish in particular have always done traditional fish and chips very, very well and we produce Guinness and Whisk(e)y better than anywhere else in the world. But, it is the growth of indigenous ales and lagers, micro-brewery’s and home-produced gin’s that have taken over in these parts in the last ten years in particular. There are more Michelin star restaurants in Belfast for example, per head of population, than anywhere else in Europe, and the food scene across the island of Ireland and the UK is flourishing. One of the great experiences in that part of the world is to indulge in the local delicacies and not just the oysters, potted herring and jellied eels. We are talking about ‘dulce’ in Portrush and traditional black pudding in Killarney, Haggis, neeps, and tatties in Scotland and Periwinkles in England.

Please take a look at our ‘Restaurant and Pub’ section to find a selection of our favorites and the most iconic bars and restaurants that you could and should encounter on your golf trip.

• Pubs and Restaurants

Where do you start? Yes, this one could be a very long section indeed, so we have decided to divide it down into two sub-sections: The Pro’s Favourites and The Icons. Let’s face it, the UK & Ireland do pubs very well. Some of the most iconic bars and pubs in the world can also be found very close to some of the most famous courses in the world, and the list could be a very long one indeed. So, in this section, we are going to focus on the ‘must-sees,’ those pubs and restaurants that you simply cannot miss when you are on a golf vacation, and we’re going to do this in large geographical regions. So . . . Here goes, starting in Ireland!


The Icons: O’Donoghues, The Palace Bar, The Brazen Head, and The Long Hall
The Pro’s Favourites: Kehoe’s, McDaid’s and Doheny & Nesbitt’s

Arguably the most famous pub in Ireland, and once home to the legendary ‘Dubliners’ and Christy Moore. This is a pub where you can breathe the history, and that serves up one of the best pints of Guinness anywhere. (www.odonoghues.ie.)

The Palace Bar
Located on the fringes of Temple Bar, the ornate gaslights and wood paneling of ‘The Palace’ beacon you in from the street. It always has a great atmosphere and is one of those pubs where you can lose yourself in a corner with a good book for hours on end. (www.thepalacebardublin.com)

The Brazen Head
A short walk from Christchurch Cathedral is ‘officially’ Ireland’s oldest pub, opened in 1198. A refuge to many over the years it is known that the famous rebel Michael Collins and his band of men planned some of the Easter Rising of 1916 from this location. History is dripping from the walls in this labyrinth of a pub that is always alive with song and the spoken word. (www.brazenhead.com)

The Long Hall
This South Great Georges Street hostelry is considered one of the most beautiful of all Dublin pubs and has been a firm favorite of celebs from Bruce Springsteen to playwright Brendan Behan and musician Phil Lynott. If you are looking for significant screen sports or a cocktail list, you’re in the wrong place!

Midway down St. Anne Street, is the Dublin institution, Kehoe’s pub. This fabulous Victorian pub has all of the spit and sawdust character you’d expect of a traditional Irish bar that incorporates intimate snugs, sheltering drinkers away from the world outside with a great homely feel. Simply a great pub. (www.louisfitzgerald.com/kehoes)

A stone’s throw from the Westbury Hotel at the top of Grafton Street, McDaid’s is a unique single roomed pub that was effectively home to the famous Irish writer Brendan Behan, the man who declared “I am a drinker with a writing problem.” Haunt of many literary types down the generations, it serves one of the best pints of Guinness in the city. (www.mcdaidspub.com)

Doheny & Nesbitt’s
A short stroll from O’Donoghues on Merrion Row, Doheny & Nesbitt’s is a relative newcomer to the scene in Dublin having only been opened in 1896! Many of the original features are still intact, and it is a listed structure. A fabulous place to converse or eavesdrop, it is frequented often by politicians from the nearby Parliament, the Dáil, writers, architects, and lawyers from nearby Merrion Square. (www.dohenyandnesbitts.ie)

The Icons: The Crown Liquor Saloon, The Duke of York, White’s Tavern and Kelly’s Cellars
The Pro’s Favourites: The Dirty Onion, Babble, The Garrick and Bittles,

The Crown Liquor Saloon
A stunning Victorian public house and gin palace, has been on this site since the 1880s. It’s extraordinary ornate carvings, exquisite tiling, gas lighting, and fabulous enclosed snugs make this a must see in the city. Enjoy a real ale or local pint and soak up the best of the Belfast atmosphere. (www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk)

The Duke of York
Situated in the vibrant Cathedral Quarter, the Duke has been in operation for over 240 years and is as much a Belfast institution as the owner, Willie Jack. A haven of live music, the pub often spills out onto the adjoining alleyway creating a fabulous atmosphere in the area. The pub’s motto is “Come in Soberly, Drink Moderately, Depart Quietly and Call Again.” (www.dukeofyorkbelfast.com)

White’s Tavern
Located down Winecellar Entry, one of the many that dissect this part of the city, Whites could possibly have been in existence since the 1600s. The sparse nature of the interior in many ways reflects this and is done in the typical style of the times. A roaring turf fire welcomes patron year-round, and the whiskeys are aplenty. (www.whitesbelfast.com)

Kelly’s Cellars
Arguably Belfast’s oldest pub and certainly its most traditional in feel, with its uneven stone floors, open fires, and whitewashed walls all add to the ambiance and authenticity. Traditional music sessions and ceilis are a regular occurrence, and you can regularly hear the Irish language spoken by the bar staff and owners. (www.kellyscellars.com)

The Dirty Onion
This recent addition to the Belfast scene boasts open of the best outdoor beer gardens in the city and is a regular location for great live music and atmosphere. Located in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, you are guaranteed a great night out here. (www.thedirtyonion.com)

The stylish rooftop bar of the Bullitt Hotel, this expansive bar has some of the best views of the city and has a relaxed vibe especially at weekends when live music is played on the decks. In conjunction with the courtyard bar downstairs, a great location to start or end the evening. (www.bullitthotel.com)

The Garrick
This Chichester street pub is as much a favorite with the nearby judiciary and barristers plying their trade in the Law Courts, as it is the local man on the street. The beautifully paneled interior draws you in from the hustle and bustle of the road outside to a haven of calm where animated discourse is the order of the day. (www.thegarrickbar.com)

Bittles Bar
You simply can’t miss this red bricked ‘flatiron’ shaped pub adjacent to the Victoria Square Shopping Mall. Opened in 1868 and originally called the ‘Shakespeare,’ it is one of the cities quirkiest bars. Famous for its eclectic range of guest beers, ales, and ciders, the walls are adorned with images of the cities sporting and cultural icons. The craic is also fantastic! (www.visitbelfast.com)

The Icon’s: The Harbour Bar
The Pro’s Favourites: The Harbour Bar!

The Harbour Bar
So, this one was an easy choice. The Harbour Bar in Portrush is as much an institution as Willie Gregg, the operator. Located at the water’s edge in the center of the town it is also surrounded by some of the area’s best restaurants, all trading under the ‘Ramore’ family brand that includes The Wine Bar, The Mermaid, Neptune & Prawn, The Tourist, and The Harbour Bistro. The Harbour Bar itself is as you would expect, full of locals and full of craic, a great place to enjoy a post-round pint or pre-dinner drink. The Harbour Bar epitomizes ‘iconic,’ don’t look anywhere else in the town for a nights fun. (www.ramorerestaurant.com)

The Icon’s: Murphy’s, The Laurels, O’Connors
The Pro’s Favourites: John M. Reidy’s, Courtney’s

A family business for over 60 years encompassing bedrooms and also Lord Kenmare’s Restaurant, Murphy’s is a Killarney favorite. Renowned for its traditional Irish music sessions, owner Sean is never far from the hustle and bustle. Murphy’s also features some of the best bar food in the town. (www.murphysofkillarney.com)

The Laurels
Located on Main Street in Killarney, the Laurels is a homely pub with quiet corners and a tremendous time-honored feel about it. Original tiled floors, mahogany layered walls and an air of confidence fill this fabulous pub. As popular with locals as tourists, you are guaranteed a warm welcome and some superb pub grub. (www.thelaurelspub.com)

If you want to really experience the Irish pub culture, then O’Connors is the place for you. Try your hand at pulling your own pint of Guinness, or try some whiskey or gin tasting. O’Connors is also famous for its traditional Irish music seven nights a week. (www.oconnorstraditionalpub.ie)

John M. Reidy’s
While Reidy’s has been extended and developed in recent years from what was a series of individual units, it hasn’t lost any of its character or traditional feel. The bar, a series of unique ‘houses’ is now one of the biggest in the town and is always packed with atmosphere. The outdoor courtyard regularly hosts live music and is a great place in the summer to enjoy a few pints. During the day, the front ‘bar’ serves some of the best coffee in town. A great place to enjoy the craic! A must visit.

Located down the narrow Plunkett Street in the center of the town, this is a fabulous pub, frequented by the locals. The low ceilings and exposed stone walls give it a cavern type feel and is just the sort of place to hide away for some quiet conversation and great Guinness. In the Courtney family since the late 1800s, this is also a great live music venue. (www.courtneysbar.com)


St. Andrew’s:
The Icon’s: The Dunvegan, The Jigger Inn,
The Pro’s Favourites: The Key’s Bar, The Criterion

The Dunvegan
Probably the most famous golf pub in the world. No visit to the town of St. Andrews is complete without a visit to the Dunvegan. A mere hundred yards from the 18th green of The Old Course, the Dunvegan has welcomed practically every modern Open champion through its doors. The ‘Golfer’s Corner’ is a great place to recount the days’ exploits over a pint and some excellent bar food and the Claret Jug restaurant serves up more substantial dishes. The photographic history that adorns the walls is, and even if you don’t have time for a beer, it is still well worth a visit. (www.dunvegan-hotel.com)

The Jigger Inn
Situated in the grounds of the Old Course Hotel, the Jigger overlooks the famous 17th ‘Road Hole’ on the Old Course. This whitewashed stone cottage is a great place to enjoy a beer or a whiskey whether playing golf or not. The tartan interior, stone walls, and cozy booths make for a very warm and welcoming atmosphere, and the food is excellent. (www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk)

The Key’s Bar
Situated on Market Street, the Key’s is an excellent traditional pub with a fantastic array of whiskey to choose from. As much a favorite with the locals as it is the visiting golfer, there is always a warm welcome from Claire and her team. The Key’s offer an excellent whiskey tasting menu where you can sample up to six flights for a very reasonable price to help you narrow down your favorites; not a bad way to spend an afternoon. (www.keysbar.co.uk)

The Criterion.
Located on the bustling South Street, the Criterion has been a great place for pub grub and a quiet pint since it received a license in 1889, having once been a bootmaker. Specializing in Cask Ales and with over 160 whiskeys on offer, this family-run establishment is a great place to spend a few hours, mainly if you can acquire the snug next to the front windows! (www.criterionstandrews.co.uk)

The Icons: The Bow Bar, Sandy Bells, The Doric
The Pro’s Favourites: The Dome and The Café Royal

The Bow Bar
Probably the most classic whiskey pub in the city and a favorite of local law company employees, situated in the Old Town close to the Grassmarket. There are over 300 whiskey’s on offer from the rare to every day and an array of cask ales and craft kegs that rotate on what seems like a weekly basis. Even if you think you don’t like beer or whiskey, this is the pace to set you right! (www.thebowbar.co.uk)

Sandy Bell’s
If you are looking for traditional folk music, Sandy’s is the place to visit in Edinburgh. Situated a short stroll from Princes Street in the heart of Edinburgh University’s myriad of streets, Sandy’s has been serving the local population since the 1920s. There is a multitude of Malt Whiskies from around Scotland on offer as well as local and guest ales, but it is the music that makes Sandy’s the place to visit. (www.sandybells.co.uk)

The Doric
Dating back to the 17th century this small “gastro-pub” is within a stone’s throw of Waverley Station in the heart of Edinburgh. It is probably one of the smallest pubs in the city, but that only adds to the aura. They serve food all day at the Doric, some of the best pub food we have experienced and well worth the trip for that alone, but it also has a beautiful array of beverages for every taste. Don’t be surprised if a bunch of traditional musicians simply walk in and take up residence. (www.the-doric.com)

The Dome
Opened in 1996, The Dome is an Edinburgh institution. Located on George Street in the center of the city in the New Town, it is simply impossible to miss this Graeco-Roman building adorned with marble everywhere and palms. The interior of the Front Bar is as ornate as its exterior would suggest with high leather chairs, wood, and stunning crystal chandeliers. Not the place to turn up in your spikes, but is the perfect place to start or end a fantastic night with a wee dram. (www.thedomeedinburgh.com)

The Café Royal
One of Edinburgh’s longest established bars having opened its doors on the 18th of July 1826, the Café Royal is also believed to be Scotland’s oldest oyster bar, which is divided from its drinking neighbor by a stunning carved walnut screen midway through the space. It retains its Victorian aura and air of opulence through its white marble floors, ornate gold leaf dressed ceilings and polished brass footrests. Definitely worth visiting when staying in Edinburgh. (www.caferoyal.org.uk)

Dornoch & Inverness:
The Icon’s: The Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch Whisky Bar, The Dores Inn
The Pro’s Favourites: Scotch & Rye and McNabb’s

The Royal Golf Hotel
While hotel bars are not the first that golfers usually levitate towards post-round, the bar of the Royal is an exception, if only for the fact that it is situated 50 yards from the 18th hole of Royal Dornoch. Floor to ceiling windows provides a fabulous vista across the links, while an array of comfortable sofas dotted around the bar, beckon patrons to sit and relax while tasting the variety of whiskey on offer from around the Highlands. (www.royalgolfhoteldornoch.co.uk)

Dornoch Whisky Bar
Located in the Dornoch Castle Hotel and operated by brothers Phil and Simon Thompson, this establishment does precisely what you would expect, serves fabulous (and rare) whiskey. Tastings, including a bespoke ‘blind tasting challenge’ can be arranged by appointment and is an incredible way to get hands-on experience and knowledge from the experts. The guys have recently opened a micro-distillery in the grounds that you can visit to gain first-hand knowledge of the distilling process. (www.dornochcastlehotel.com)

The Dores Inn
The only pub situated on the shores of Loch Ness, the Dores is located just 8 miles from Inverness on the slightly less busy eastern coast. Stunning views across Loch Ness, some of the most iconic in all of Scotland, await visitors to this family run Inn, which also has a fabulous food offering and huge beer garden that runs all the way down to the shores of the Loch. The pub has a very laid back vibe and attracts locals, walkers, bikers and all kinds of activity enthusiasts. (www.thedoresinn.co.uk)