Top 10 Whisky Pubs to warm the cockles
These pubs come highly commended for stocking an amazing range of malt whiskies to help stave off the Winter chill. Bon Accord, Glasgow This traditional, often bustling bar has several linked rooms, all warmly understated with cream or terracotta walls, a mix of chairs and tables, a leather sofa and plenty of bar stools on…
These pubs come highly commended for stocking an amazing range of malt whiskies to help stave off the Winter chill.
Bon Accord, Glasgow
This traditional, often bustling bar has several linked rooms, all warmly understated with cream or terracotta walls, a mix of chairs and tables, a leather sofa and plenty of bar stools on polished bare boards or carpeting. As well as more than 500 malt whiskies, the splendid drinks choice includes real ales (over 800 sold throughout the year) sourced from breweries across Britain and served from swan-necked handpumps, including Caledonian Deuchars IPA and nine daily changing guests, continental bottled beers, a farm cider and, in a remarkable display behind the counter, 50 gins, 20 rums and lots of vodkas.
With more than 500 whiskies on their gantry, the Bon Accord in Glasgow were named our Whisky Pub of the Year, 2021
This comfortable red-brick pub has become a place of pilgrimage for connoisseurs of Britain’s brewing scene and he’s a dab hand at cooking up a curry too. As well as the 140 different whiskies, there are around 11 constantly changing real ales from all over the country, sourced and kept with love, among them the new brews from Salopian, Thornbridge and Red Willow, plus three interesting keg lagers.
Old Harkers Arms, Chester
Right on the Shropshire Union Canal, this red-brick Victorian warehouse, once run as a chandler’s by a certain Mr Harker, attracts cyclists and other towpath users, but given its central location it also buzzes with city life. Cheerful staff serve 130 malt whiskies, ten cask ales including regulars Phoenix Brunning & Price Original and Weetwood Cheshire Cat Blonde and guests such as Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Peerless Oatmeal Stout, Rudgate Ruby Mild and Salopian Oracle plus a trio of craft beers, a well described wine list with 20 or so by the glass, 45 gins and a dozen farm ciders and perries.
Red Fox, Lancashire
Set back from the road, down a long drive surrounded by lawns and pleasant country views, this sprawling former country pile features a mix of cosy nooks and large, airy rooms. Friendly, cheerful staff serve a fantastic range of drinks that includes 123 malt whiskies, Phoenix Brunning & Price Original plus guests such as Brightside Amarillo, Conwy West Coast Pale Ale, Cwrw Ial Limestone Cowboy, Hopback Crop Circle, Lancaster Black and Red and Oakham Inferno on handpump, 21 wines by the glass, more than 100 gins and ten farm ciders.
This 17th-c former coaching inn has been run by the same friendly family since 1913, they even have the original visitors’ books from 1897 to 1909. The quarry-tiled, black-beamed public bar serves Southwold and four guests from breweries such as Crouch Vale, Oakham, Orkney and Swannay on handpump, 100 malt whiskies including locally distilled St Georges, 10 wines by the glass, 50 gins and a farm cider.
Black Jug, Sussex
There’s a buoyant countrified atmosphere to this brick and tile-hung pub. To keep the mixed crowd of office workers, theatre-goers and couples happy, efficient, friendly staff offer a fine choice of drinks: 200 malt whiskies, Harveys Best and St Austell Proper Job on handpump with regularly changing guests, around 30 wines by the glass (including fizz), 60 gins, 30 rums, 30 bourbons and farm cider, and tasty, brasserie-style food.
Pack Horse, Yorkshire
Over four centuries, this whitewashed moorland inn has been a beacon of warmth and hospitality for all sorts of people, from users of the old packhorse trails to builders of the nearby Widdop and Gorple reservoirs, and today’s walkers and riders on the Pennine Way and Pennine Bridleway, which both pass nearby. Well kept Black Sheep Best and Marstons Wainwright plus a couple of changing guests on handpump, over 100 single malt whiskies along with some Irish ones, and 14 or so wines by the glass are served by friendly, accommodating staff.
Bow Bar, Edinburgh
Expect a splendid range of drinks served by knowledgeable staff from the rectangular bar with its impressive carved mahogany gantry. Eight well kept real ales are dispensed from the tall 1920s founts on the counter; these include regulars such as Stewart 80/- and Tempest Pale Armadillo and five quickly changing guests from breweries such as Black Isle, Cromarty and Swannay, plus 13 craft beers. They hold regular beer festivals. Also on offer are more than 400 malts, including five ‘malts of the moment’, a good choice of rums, 60 or so international bottled beers and 20 Scottish gins. Strong on traditional values, this is an honest pub and a bastion of simple stand-up drinking.
Sligachan Hotel, Scottish Islands
Unsurprisingly, this historic climbers’ hotel on the Isle of Skye sits close to some of the most testing walks in Britain, with stunning scenery in every direction. As well as their own-brewed Cuillin beers, including Eagle, Old Bridge and Pinnacle, they keep a guest on handpump plus an incredible display of over 400 malt whiskies at one end of the counter. It can get quite lively in here some nights, but there’s also a more sedate lounge bar with leather bucket armchairs on plush carpets and a coal fire; background highland and islands music.
Thomas Hardy may well have supped some Dorset ale in this venerable, 400-year-old inn: he certainly knew it, as he has his best-known heroine Tess Durbyfield (Tess of the d’Urbervilles) stop for breakfast next door on her mournful mission to see her errant husband’s family. It’s in some fabulous walking country for those who walk for pleasure rather than necessity. On chilly days, the log fires and low-beamed cosiness spark much joy. Dorset Jurassic is a regular among the real ales on handpump, alongside 28 wines by the glass, 30 gins (including a gin of the month) and about 70 malt whiskies.