A post-round pint can add greatly to a golf experience and that is especially true on a major golf trip like one to Scotland. Unfortunately, in a new place, it can be a complete shot in the dark about where to go.
In this post, I will do my best to shed light on the pubs of St Andrews and the best place to relax and reminisce over the round! My credentials? I lived for over four years in St Andrews while attending the University of St Andrews and I’ve been back on many golf trip since graduation in 2014. Safe to say I’ve enjoyed a few pints in the Auld Grey Toon!
I’ve broken down the pubs listed below into a number of different categories. Many of the pubs could easily have fit into numerous categories (for instance, almost all of these pubs serve food), but I went with their primary vibe. I’ve also been amazed at how the pubs have changed over the years as tastes shift and ownerships chance. I first wrote this post in 2012, so here’s the 2018 update!
The Golf Pubs
Dunvegan – The Dunvegan is perhaps the most well-known 19th hole in St Andrews. The atmosphere is unique with photos of famous golfers in the Dunvegan or meeting the owners covering the walls and ceiling. The Dunvegan recently sold, but it’s retained its character and is a must-visit for any golfer in St Andrews.
Jigger – The Jigger Inn is located just short of the 17th green at the Old Course and it’s the only pub that could beat out the Dunvegan for fame. The outdoor seating directly beside the 17th fairway is unbeatable for the view and it’s a perfect place for non-golfers to wait while their group plays the Old Course.
The Beer Pubs
The Central – An “English Pub” with a central bar (hence the name) and tons of beer on tap. The Central specializes in ales, but also serves your typical lagers. No TVs or frills – just beer (and food if you want).
St Andrews Brew Pub – This is the tasting room for St Andrews Brewery and it’s a fun place to go. It doesn’t have the best prices, but you’re supporting local. The Brew Pub also offers the most craft-style beers of anywhere in town.
The Whisky Spot
The Keys – While most of the pubs on this list have whisky behind the bar, the Keys has the most. The bar staff is also notoriously friendly and happy to explain different whisky types and regions. If it’s not too busy, you may get to taste a few before making a purchase.
The Food Pubs
Blue Stane – I’m tempted to call the Blue Stane a sports pub, but it really fits into the gastro pub category, so here it is in the food column!
The Golf Inn – Once called, “1 Golf Place” after its street address, this pub serves solid food and has an unbeatable location moments from the St Andrews Old Course 18th hole.
Hams Hame – The gastro pub closest to the Old Course, this business is affiliated with the Old Course Hotel. It’s a fun place to go, but doesn’t have the most exciting atmosphere or best prices. A solid option for a meal.
One Under – The One Under Pub is directly beneath the Rusacks Hotel adjacent to the 18th fairway of the Old Course. This is a gastro pub where I wouldn’t recommend going to grab a quick beer, but would recommend for a meal.
Rascal’s – Rascal’s Bar has some of the best prices in town and is a mix between a restaurant vibe and a pub. Rascals could be called a restaurant that specializes in wings and burgers but a pool table, TVs, and loud music bring back the pub vibes.
The Sports Pubs
Criterion – I struggled with how to characterize the Criterion. I lived down the street from this pub for two years and I’d be tempted to call it a “beer” pub. It’s a great spot for a catchup and there are always sports on the TV, so for this review, it’s in the sports category.
Ma Bells – Ma Bells is a pub underneath Hotel Du Vin located very close to the Old Course’s 18th green. It’s a fun spot that almost always has sports on the TV.
Whey Pat – When I was a student at St Andrews the Whey Pat was a generally older local crowd. On a recent trip the vibes seemed to have changed with a ton of young people playing darts, catching up, and enjoying a pint. The Whey Pat has always had good nachos and I hope that never changes!
Best Sticky Toffee Pudding
Russell Hotel – This honor goes to a hotel a pitching wedge from the Old Course. One of my favorite things to do is enjoy a dessert sitting outside of the Russell.