Although fun in their own right, the joys of a classic cocktail bar have nothing on the feelings that arise after checking in to your local pub. Cosy to the core and unashamedly unpretentious, Scotland is a goldmine of good drinking dens. St Andrews is no different. Whether in it for the humble pint or unrivaled banter, here are the ones you can’t live without.
Adored by all, The Keys Bar is widely praised as one of Scotland’s best pubs. And that it is. Stepping in for the first time is like coming home, thanks to the personable staff, compact cosy setting and bar filled with bottles for days — think over 200 malt whiskies, local beer and all the good stuff. The flawless reputation owes everything to the Gordon family who’ve made this place tick like clockwork for 30-some years. Charming and timeless, The Keys is worth cheers-ing to.
The family-run Criterion is suited to those who appreciate a ‘proper pub’. Adorned with traditional touches and barrels of booze, this trusty staple attracts locals so loyal you can set your watches by them! Locally sourced ingredients elevate the already appealing pub menu but it’s the famous Cri Pies that do all the talking. Drinks options span the whole gamut from 30+ Scottish gins and cask ales, to over 160 whiskies. Dugs are welcome too!
Aside from having perfect nachos, Whey Pat’s is a local drinking institution with a history to rival the town itself. Housed in a building from the very early 1900s, this traditional pub is named after the establishment responsible for serving wholesome food to travelling pilgrims centuries ago. Today, Whey Pat’s is a rite of passage for post-graduates and cosy hideout for casual drinkers. Smashing food, booze, darts, quizzes, dominoes tournaments…there’s no other place.
The Central Bar is strategically placed in the heart of St Andrews, making it a popular haunt amongst students, golfers, sports fans and locals alike. The fuss-free cosy aesthetic is awash with wood and complimented by comfy leather seats to add that irreplaceable old-world charm. Between the island bar and care-free vibes, Central Bar is a prime place to savour a perfect pint or two.
The Blue Stane will leave you anything but blue. This little subterranean beauty, with its chic cavernous feel and multifaceted essence, lends itself to fun in all forms from pool table moments to failed yet funny darts sessions. Stocked to the gunwales with fine malts, incredible food, pints a plenty and everything else in between, The Blue Stane is a winner.
Drouthy Neebors is the kind of place that makes you proud to call it your local. Free from frills and finery, this traditional pub hits the spot with its quintessential selection of ales, spirits and pub grub. And, of course, the name is golden, with Drouthy translating as the Scots term for ‘thirsty’! The eternally friendly staff set the tone for the convivial atmosphere.