THE TAM O' SHANTER INN, 230 HIGH STREET
Just the place to recover after a
frenetic bout of sandcastle building. It has the feel of a truly
old pub, being established, apparently, in 1749. Beneath its
thatched hat is a rustic stone and wooden interior with ancient
wizened beams and walls covered in various bits of verse by you
know who. Some say it was the first pub in Ayr to be granted a license, where ale
was brewed and served, and became the Tam O' Shanter Inn in
the nineteenth century. In more recent years it was a museum full of
stuff relating to
, and only reverted to an inn not
long ago. Not much in the way of ale, but the
atmosphere, although a little contrived, more than makes up for this.
GEORDIE'S BYRE, 103 MAIN STREET
This small one-roomed bar is absolutely delightful. Its walls
are crammed with so much stuff that it's not so much a pub as a
bric-a-brac emporium. It is the kind of pub that you instantly
feel relaxed in, and one that is so very hard to leave. The fact
that they also have real ale in good condition is a bonus worthy
of loud cheers. Hip Hip!
THE TWA DUGS, KILLOCH PLACE
Not too far from the railway station, and another excellent
public house. The interior is fairly recent, but decked out in
lots of varnished wood, dusty wooden casks, and little booths
where one may discuss the problems of the world over a pint or
two of real ale. The name comes from a poem Burns wrote in 1789,
and the owners reckon, 'If Burns were alive... he'd drink here!'
And, you know, I think I'd tend to concur with that.
GLENPARK HOTEL, 5 RACECOURSE ROAD, AYR
This small hotel is situated in a leafy area not far from Low
Green and the Esplanade. It is a very special hotel. So special
that if I had room for four hippos I would give it four. One,
it's good at being a hotel, and two, they brew their own ale.
You know, I've said this before, and I make no apologies for
repeating myself, but you can wander into the bar of some of the
top-notch hotels in this country and find an insipid array of
foreign lager, maybe with a token British beer that will have
about as much taste and character as a cup of flat weak tea.
When tourists come to Scotland they do not want to drink the
sort of stuff they can get back home. They want to taste
something special, something that has a connection with the area
in which it is consumed. In short, they want to taste local food
and drink. It's what travelling and being a tourist is all
about, and the sooner some of the idiots who own far too many of
our country's four and five star hotels realise that, the
Goodness, I almost wore myself out there.
But I think you can sense the passion here, and I am very
passionate about Glenpark Hotel and its brewery: the Ayr Brewing
Company. Put quite simply, you cannot get more local than
something that is brewed next door. As well as seasonal ales,
you can slurp 'Leezie Lundie Pale Ale', 'Jolly Beggars
Best Bitter', 'Towzie
Tyke Premium Ale' or 'Rabbies Porter'. You can even take
home 5-litre mini-casks for slurping later.
I am unable to rate the Glenpark Hotel highly enough. It is just
wonderful, and very much makes all of Ayr worthwhile.