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5 of the Best Pubs in the Highlands

Posted on Mar 23, 2015 by Ross Dempster

We Aim to Bring you The Best Pubs in Scotland

The running joke is that in one day in Scotland you can get 4 seasons of weather. A day out in the wilds can be so invigorating for the senses. But nothing beats a trip to a good pub afterwards.

Refresh with a drink, thaw out by the fire and share stories of the day. Here’s my 5 Best Pubs in the Highlands.

So where are the best pubs to head to in Rural Scotland? More importantly how do you define what a good pub is? When writing this blog I came up with several factors that should be considered – personal history, atmosphere, location, food and drink should all be taken into account. Do you prefer an open fire or a beer garden? Is food important or is a good local ale on tap the key to the perfect pub? After thinking long and hard about this (and of course doing the mandatory testing sessions), I have compiled the following list. Let us know if you agree!

The Mishnish, Tobermory

Why?: Location | Atmosphere

best pubs in the Highlands


The first time I sailed around Mull it would be safe to say the sea won. We had spent 3 hours surfing a 55 foot yacht past the Treshnish Isles, down the Sound of Mull and by the time we limped into the harbour town of Tobermory we were well ready to rest our feet in the world famous Mishnish. Some pubs just lend themselves to an activity and this bar is like a magnet to sailors, fisherman, kayakers and anybody else who spends their days on the sea. Taking up one of the berths  along Tobermory’s multi-coloured sea front street, this place will without a doubt help warm you after a cold day out.

best pubs in the Highlands

The Moulin Inn, Moulin by Pitlochry

best pubs in the Highlands

Why?: Food | Beer | Fire | Atmosphere

Sitting at the foot of Ben Vrackie, the pristine white walls of the Moulin have been a sanctuary to weary travellers since 1695. It has stuck to its guns since this time – you won’t find a pool table or a juke box but instead it has a huge stone hearth fire, good food (the seafood crepe is a must) and its own brewery attached. It is the start and end point of one of my favourite mountain bike rides of Highland Perthshire and I never miss the opportunity at the end of the ride to sit by the fire and sip on a pint of their Braveheart Ale, I suggest you do the same!

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The Boots Bar (Clachaig Inn)/ The Climbers Bar (The Kings House), Glencoe best pubs in the Highlands

Why?: Location | Beer | Atmosphere

I tried for hours to choose between these two pubs to absolutely no avail. Sitting like sentinels at either end of the notorious Glen Coe, they have kept guard for hundreds of years and will do so for many more. Both are prime locations for a post climb or hike chat and each visitor to Glen Coe will have a differing opinion on what one is better, try and make up your own mind!

The Boots Bar is a large, barn-like room. Wooden tables are surrounded by slate and stone and the fire adds heat to the already warm atmosphere. The beers are plenty and the top shelf whisky will keep any connoisseur busy for a while. Both of these cracking drinkeries are in one of the top locations out of all the best pubs in the Highlands.

The Climbers Bar is small, cosy with small snugs to hide in with your party. The walls adorned with ice axes and crampons, photos show past adventures and you can feel the history seep through walls. On a nice day a beer out the front of the Kings House treats the patron with spectacular views of Buchaille Etive Mor, worse things happen at sea.

The Stein Inn, Isle of Skye

best pubs in the Highlands

Why?: Location | Real ale | History | Fire.

The Isle of Skye is a magical place, nobody can argue with that. The island offers a plethora of different adventures, all the type that will stay with you for the rest of your life. But the Stein Inn can offer a different adventure. A winding single track coastal road winds its way to Waternish, a small fishing village in the North West of Skye. You could be forgiven for thinking that you have taken a wrong turn, but just at the end of the track when all hope is lost, a shining beacon of hospitality awaits. The Stein Inn is the oldest pub on Skye, the ale is real, the fire is roaring and there are over 99 Single malt whiskys to sample behind the bar, enjoy!

  • Hike some of Skye’s most iconic landscapes and indulge in the best of local hospitality on our Skye Walking Trip.

best pubs in the Highlands

The Applecross Inn, Applecross

Why?: Location | Beer Garden | Seafood | Fire

I have had the pleasure to have worked out of Applecross for a number of years and I can safely say the views you get from this remote North Western town are second to none, situated on a beautiful bay and looking over the sea to Raasay, Rhona and the alp like Cuillin mountains of Skye. The Gaelic name for Applecross is A Chomraich which means “the Sanctuary” and after a day of exploring the peninsula and sitting in the local inn it’s easy to realise why. A friendly atmosphere, good beer, award-winning seafood and of course a beer garden with the most spectacular views in Scotland make this place a must for any tourist.

Fancy a Foodie Tour in Scotland?

We place a really high importance on the quality of food on all our tours but some have a little bit more of a foodie theme which means you’ll have to stay active, or you’ll need to shed a few pounds when you return ;)

About the author

Ross Dempster

Ross's passion lies in exploring wild places in Scotland and around the world. He's been an outdoor enthusiast his whole life from the point his Father started dragging him up hills and grew up in Scotland learning from experiences around the lochs, hills and glens he grew to love.

Read more articles by Ross | View Ross's Profile

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