Sitting on the promenade at Helensburgh
Ale
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 WHERE TO FIND GOOD ALE IN HELENSBURGH'S BEST PUBS
HELENSBURGH'S PUBS ARE MOSTLY UNINSPIRING LITTLE PLACES WITH ABOUT AS MUCH CHARACTER AS A GHERKIN. THERE WILL BE A FEW OKAYISH ONES IN THERE, SOMEWHERE, AND THEY WILL GIVE LOCALS WHAT THEY WANT, AS FAR AS ALCOHOL, CAMARADERIE, AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET YOUR FALSERS AROUND A BAG OF CHEESE AND ONION CRISPS ARE CONCERNED. BUT FOR VISITORS THEY PRESENT A MOSTLY DISMAL PROSPECT WHERE THE TAKING ON OF ALCOHOL HAS BEEN STRIPPED OF ALL ITS NICETIES, RIGHT BACK TO THE VERY BLAND, UNATTRACTIVE BONE. THAT SAID ...
THE LOGIE BAIRD, 8 JAMES STREET
Sitting just off the promenade, The Logie Baird is part of a chain of pubs and exudes about as much atmosphere as a kipper (as opposed to that of a gherkin - in the NAS (National Atmosphere Scale) it is generally reckoned that kipper's are marginally better than gherkins). They have no real ale on tap, just Deuchars in bottles (it's a start guys, it's a start - next stage of your development should see you at least attempt to source local ale). Inside it is colourfully pleasing, and you may rest awhile in comfort.
RHU INN, RHU
This isn't in Helensburgh, but it's very close by, a mere two miles or so along the promenade and more than worth the short walk. (If you're standing on the promenade looking out to sea, then Rhu is to your right.) The Rhu Inn is an old 17th century inn which feels seriously snug inside, with old dark wood and what have you. And after those bracing salty sea odours there will be nothing nicer than getting stuck into some decent real ale in front of a real fire. Let's have more real stuff in life, that's what I say.
KILCREGGAN HOTEL, ARGYLL ROAD, KILCREGGAN
This isn't in Helensburgh either - are you starting to see a trend here? Kilcreggan is best reached via a short hop on a small ferry from Helensburgh. There's not a great deal to the village, but that doesn't matter, for after being bounced around on the waters of the Firth of Clyde you may take your shaky legs to this fine hotel bar and sup some splendid real ale while soaking up even splendidier (not a word, I know, but I like it and nothing is going to stop me from using it!) views over the water. Superb.
THE COMMODORE, 112-117 WEST CLYDE STREET
I missed The Commodore when previously in Helensburgh. I'm not sure why I missed it. I mean, it's quite big. I guess I maybe glanced at it and thought it looked like part of a large pub chain, and as such probably wouldn't be much cop. Sometimes appearances can be deceptive, but not too deceptive. This is part of a large pub and restaurant chain, but inside it's actually pretty good. In fact, it's better than good. Like most Vintage Inns establishments it has been made to look old inside, giving the appearance of some sort of country cottage with stone-flagged floor, couches with cushions, and lots of nice secluded corners to hide in. But the thing is, no matter how agreeable the interior of The Commodore might be, it is the real ale policy of this organisation that troubles me. I mean, they have real ale, and they even have little booklets so that you might see what ales are due to be put on, but I rarely see any ale that might be termed local. Indeed, most of their ales are English, and that's a long way for ale to travel. Moans aside, it is without question the best place in Helensburgh, and I would certainly return.
RATING
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The Logie Baird, 8 James Street, Helensburgh
At the bar in The Commodore, Helensburgh
Inside the Rhu Inn, Rhu, near Helensburgh
Looking out towards the Firth of Clyde from Helensburgh
Inside The Commodore, Helensburgh