Saturday 13th October 2012
The Castle is a beautiful pub and I think that, because of its ambience and decor, it would be worth going to, even if it only sold one cask beer. The fact that it is also a beer destination in its own right makes a visit here mandatory should you be in Inverness.
The pub has a lovely terrace that you use to get into the building. The main bar is not large but there is a lot packed in. The bar above the counter, like the canopy outside, is a very ornate being made of wrought iron. There are lots of mirrors both behind the bar and in the main room. The bar is notable for its burnished brass rails. A flat-screen television is on the wall for sporting events and rugby seemed to be popular.
There is a proper traditional restaurant on the floor above, yet meals can be ordered and consumed anywhere in the pub. Local salmon and venison are featured.
Although it seems to have been around for ages, it has only been the Castle Tavern since 2007, when it was acquired by George Maclean, formerly of the Clachnaharry Inn in Clachnaharry, which is on the outskirts of town about two miles from where we were sitting. Prior to him taking over it was a bar named The Harlequin.
It has gone from strength to strength since then, winning CAMRA Highland and Western Isles branch Pub of the Year in 2008 and 2010. It is located opposite Inverness Castle gates and the terrace has great views of the river.
I was with fellow imbiber Bob and his partner Anne and we had quite a choice of beers. There was Orkney (Stromness) Dark Island (4.6%); Isle of Skye (Uig) Flora MacDonald (4.2%), the house beer; Fyne Ales (Cairndon, Argyll) Jarl (3.8%); also their Sanda Black (5.5%), part of their IPA Project Series 1; Highland Brewing (Swannay, Orkney) Scapa Special (4.2%) and finally Cromarty Brewing (Davidston) Hit the Lip (3.8). What a great selection of Highlands and Islands beer!
There is live music with Jazz on the first Wednesday of the month and Blues on the last Thursday. They hold a beer festival in September that coincides with the Loch Ness Beer Festival.
This pub is a "must" if you should be visiting Inverness.
The Castle Tavern, 1 View Place, Inverness IV2 4SA
Open: Monday to Friday 11.00-01.00; Saturday 11.00-00.30; Sunday 12.00-24.00
Food is served daily from 12.00-22.00
The pub is five to ten minutes walk from the city centre (Railway station) where there are many transport connections.