6 of the best Highland pubs in Scotland - including Clachaig Inn and The Drovers Inn

They're famed for their Highland hospitality and warm Scottish welcome.

Published 12th Jun 2023
Updated 31 st Oct 2023

From the most remote pub to historic inns, here we take a look at some of the best pubs in the Highlands.

The Applecross Inn

(Shore St, Applecross, Strathcarron IV54 8LR, 01520 744262)

Highland pubs

With more awards than the number of pints we can sink in an all day session, and set in the heart of some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer – the Applecross Peninsula – the Applecross Inn has become something of an institution for anyone visiting the area and it’s easy to see why.

The pub not only offers a perfect escape from the rigours of urban life and a true highland welcome, it also has some utterly breathtaking views.

The Inn has amazing seafood, great beers and even the occasional barbecue (when the weather is good).

The Old Forge

(Inverie, Mallaig, Inverness-Shire, PH41 4PL, 01687 462267)

Highland pubs Picture: Geograph
Picture: Subarite\Geograph

The Old Forge, located on the Knoydart peninsula, is a record-breaking bar that is recognised as the most remote pub in mainland Britain. It has recently been taken over by the community.

If you pass through its doors you’ve probably gone to some effort to get there.

Unless you take a boat from Mallaig, the Inverie pub is only accessible by foot – the shortest route there is an 18-mile hike over munros.

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Despite being so secluded, the traditional vibe and lively atmosphere make it a hit with its regular stream of visitors and almost guarantee a fun visit, however exhausted you might be from getting there.

Enjoy an impromptu ceilidh, grab a refreshing pint from the well stocked bar, or chow down on a delicious seafood platter all while enjoying the stunning views of Loch Nevis.

Clachaig Inn

(Glencoe, Argyll, PH49 4HX, 01855 811252)

Picture: Flickr
Picture: Andrew Bowden\Flickr

If you’re only staying in the north of Scotland for a day or two, the Clachaig Inn seems like one of the safest bets for an authentic slice of Highland hospitality.

The Glencoe pub is circled by weather-scarred cliffs and postcard-baiting hills that dominate the landscape, but inside the pub couldn’t be cosier.

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In the main bar – there are three in total – there’s a fireplace set against a wall with exposed stone and log-lined walls, and it serves an extensive range of real ales and whiskies. Another bar, The Snug, is located where the cellar used to be, and the quieter Bidean Lounge offers a spectacular sight of the West Face of Aonach Dubh.

The Drovers Inn

(Inverarnan By Ardlui, North Loch Lomond, G83 7DX, 01301 704 234)

Highland pubs
Picture: Shutterstock

Arguably one of the most famous pubs in Scotland, the Drovers was established in 1705. Named for the Highland drovers who used to drive their cattle down the side of Loch Lomond to the markets in the south, entering the Inn feels like a trip to the past.

Warm, welcoming and with its own full grown, stuffed grizzly bear the bar has an selection of beer, wine and whisky and plenty of excellent Scottish fare should you need to refuel.

Fiddler’s Bar & Restaurant

(The Village Green, Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness, Inverness-shire, Scotland IV63 6TX)

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Picture: Trip Advisor Traveler

The Fiddler’s Bar and Restaurant is a multiple award-winning family-run business operated by the Beach family since 1996.

Serving salmon, beef or game as well as award-winning haggis, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to great food (they even have a whisky lover’s menu).

However, it’s the whisky selection and service that will really get your attention. Check out their Top Ten Desert Island Drams list for a choice of great whiskies that the staff will happily recommend or kick back and enjoy their famous whisky library which includes nearly all the named Scottish single malts.

For those of you who are just starting out on the journey to whisky enlightenment, the bar offers triple tastings and whisky flights to help advise you on where to begin.

The Dores Inn 

(B862, Dores, Inverness IV2 6TR, 01463 751203)

Picture: Youtube.com

Located on the southern shores of arguably Scotland’s most famous loch, the Dores Inn gives guests the chance to take in unrivalled views of this most beautiful stretch of water.

In warmer weather, head outside to eat your lunch on the shore, scanning the horizon for a glimpse of the loch’s famous resident or head inside on colder days to cosy up by the log fire.

Be warned though, locals and tourists alike are well wise to this little treasure and regularly take advantage of the inn’s specialised shuttle bus, so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Inn serves a small menu that perfectly exploits the surrounding countryside, with pan seared scallops and Highland steak sitting alongside more traditional pub fare like fish and chips.


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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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