The Best Pubs in Kirkcaldy, Scotland

Drinking options in Kirkcaldy range from sleek modern bars to historic haunted inns
Drinking options in Kirkcaldy range from sleek modern bars to historic haunted inns | © Mark Sunderland Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Tamarin Fountain
24 September 2020

The bustling harbour town at the heart of the Kingdom of Fife offers everything from sleek modern bars to historic haunted inns. Authentic draught ales, real ciders and Scottish distilled gins feature heavily on the locally sourced drinks menus. Here are the best pubs to visit in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

Betty Nicol's

Pub, British, $$$
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Named one of the best Fife pubs in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, Betty Nicol’s is an institution. The High Street pub is a long-term real ale venue housed in a B-listed building, with an adjoining modern bistro. The property dates back to 1741 and still has many of its original features. Often visited by psychics and the Scottish Paranormal Society, it’s said to be haunted (in particular the cellar, which was reportedly built on a monks’ cemetery). Live music is often on the bill, and there’s a regular pub quiz.

Harbour Bar

Pub, British
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Harbour Bar is another renowned pub recommended by the Campaign for Real Ale and attracts a slightly older set. Named after the waterside location on the edge of the town’s old harbour, it dates back to the 19th century. It started life as a nautical chandlery, before being renovated for use as a public house in 1924 – you can still see the grade C-listed Jug Bar at Harbour Bar’s entrance. A wide range of real ales, IPAs and ciders from nearby breweries are available, with an emphasis on hoppier flavours.

Path Tavern

Pub, British
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This friendly little local is family-run and has a strong sense of community. Serving pub grub, it has a traditional vibe and good music (including a jukebox to pick your own soundtrack). Established way back in 1750, the Path Tavern has built a long-standing reputation as a popular haunt for Kirkcaldy residents. Not least due to its playful banter and great craic – lookout for comic comments on the blackboard. It also has fruit machines and pocket-friendly pints.

Feuars Arms

Pub, British
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Housed in an A-listed building since 1859, this pub has incredible original Victorian interior. Stained-glass windows, high wooden stools, ceramic antiques, a mosaic floor and a stunning 59-foot (18m) angular horseshoe bar make it a must-see establishment. To the rear is a semi-octagonal office with a glazed-in top, the kind usually only seen in vintage London pubs and on Peaky Blinders. With an almost secretive online presence, it’s a destination venue for beer enthusiasts in the know. Real ale is its speciality.

O'Connells

Bar, Restaurant, British
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Those who prefer a more modern drinking establishment can head to O’Connells and party into the wee small hours. This bar has a sleek, modern, upscale vibe, with padded pews at the bar and a backlit drinks display. In addition to the optics and draughts, there are pitchers from £15 and cocktails from £6. A large function room makes it a good choice for bigger groups and celebrations.

Duchess of Kirkcaldy

Pub, Bar, Restaurant, British, $$$
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The Duchess, as it’s known locally, is a glitzy pub, just two streets back from the esplanade. The venue recently had a refurb, bringing it right up to date with a funky, ornate and feminine decor. This glamorous vibe makes it popular for creative cocktails, prosecco and “swaptails” (the venue’s non-alcoholic libations), all artistically presented. Try the Rose Petal Gin Serve for just £5, and look out for a revolving selection of seasonal drinks.

Novar

Pub, Restaurant, British
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With an atmosphere lying somewhere between traditional and contemporary, Novar on Nicol Street provides the best of both worlds. Watch sports on the big plasma screens, peruse the extensive gin menu and chat to the staff as they pull some pints. There’s free parking outside, free entertainment and it’s family-friendly – perfect for hanging out after watching local team Raith Rovers on a Saturday afternoon. Novar has also been in receipt of a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

These recommendations were updated on September 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.