Inverness has two cinemas now (was a 3rd).
Out of town some way (too far and too ugly to walk) is the multi screen Warner Bros complex with the usual popcorn and teenagers. The standard films.
Eden Court Theatre offers something quite different, with one small screen showing "arthouse" type pictures and a reasonable number of foreign language films, along with the popular "quality" films and a few amonalies. Its a cultural oasis in a desert of tartan, burgers and beer.
If you are getting tired of the generic Scottish culture by this time, head for Eden Court, a sanctuary from the world of tourism. Also check out bands and plays.
Pick up Eden Court (and Warner Bros) programmes from Tourist Info. Films have a seperate listing, be sure to ask.
Dress Code: No dress code - very relaxed.
This building is the first imposing piece of architecture that we saw coming down from the castle. We spotted that the inner workings of this building served refreshments after climbing up and down castle street, so in we went.
The exteriors are inviting and promise a typical British pub with dark wood and leather seating booths. This listed building is - after all - the former (*)Caledonian bank's head office. But once the door shuts behind you it's quite surprising to see the basics of a British pub that has however been giving a modern twist. It's not the most cosy or inviting combination of interior design and decor but it's comfortably nonetheless.
This pub has large screens for major sports events. The food menu is actually quite good and extremely good value for money if you crave something slightly more substantial than a sandwich and can't stomach the thought of purchasing a bag of grease from the McDonald's just opposite.
You can take advantage of their great daily meal offer of 2 main courses for only £6.45.- (limited menu). On the full menu one main meal costs £3.95 and upwards and a sandwich starts at £2.95.- Given the taste and quality of their food I'd say it's a very good budget-option; filling and satisfying.
They offer salads, sharing platters (nachos, potato skins, etc.), chilli bowls, burgers, pies, pastas, fish and seafood dishes and even some vegetarian options. John had a steak & onion sandwich (£4.45) which he really liked and I enjoyed their 3 cheese melt on baguette bread (£4.25) which tasted good at the time, but my stomach disagreed a few hours later.
And before you ask... Yes, they do serve Haggis with Neeps and Tatties as well ;-)
Dress Code: Dress Code? I wouldn't walk in here with shorts and sandals, but a pair of clean jeans and a shirt will do.
Drinks are also very reasonably priced here apart from cocktails (by the glass or by the jug) which are a bit pricey. In general this pub seems to pride themselves on their special offers, two-for-ones and theme nights (i.e. Thursdays are "Great Scottish Pub Nights" with a meal and a drink for only £5.95).
So during the day the Caledonian seemed to be a quietly popular lunch-time retreat from which you can keep an eye on the busy High Street outside. At night the Caledonian turns into a "relaxing-after-work-place" for the over-30s crowd (gosh, which I'll soon be a member of, Argh!) which is a welcoming change from some of the bars that are overrun with immature & overly extrovert students.
Overall the Caledonian is a nice place for lunch, some quite drinks or possibly a slightly rambunctious night of live sports and men screaming at television screens. But be warned: there is no real soul to the Caledonian, no real flair or atmosphere - this isn't a unique little hideaway, but rather a chain of franchised and bland outlets; a nondescript family pub that's not outstanding, but "will do just fine".
For feeling & soul & a memorable night out you'll have to visit a "real pub" of which there are plenty in Inverness.
*Where* I hear you ask? Reviews will come soon...
(*)Caledonia: the geographical area (in Roman times) to the north of the Antonine Wall; now a poetic name for Scotland.
We took-over the entire front terrace one day in July of 2009 with all of our guests for a get-together before our wedding on the next day.
The Castle Tavern has a tangible, heartening, social buzz, which is more than stimulated by the friendly disposition of its staff. Testament to the fact that is its continued success as an award winning establishment, recognised by the CAMRA Real Ale Guide.
Inside is a cosy bar with dark wood, red carpets and comfortable furniture. Upstairs you'll find the "formal" dining room, but I most enjoyed their lovely outdoor terrace that gives you an unprecedented view of Inverness Castle... as it's right infront of the pub!
The food here is also surprisingly good and instead of just coming here for a drink, I'd highly recommend you to try their local specialties such as Haggis (£8.10), Fish 'n' Chips (£8.50) and their very, very tasty home-made pies (£9.50). John enjoyed the Haggis, my mother-in-law had the steak and I enjoyed one of their grilled paninis (£5.75) ... the food was so good that we returned a few times for more!
(Food is served daily from midday until approx. 10pm.)
Dress Code: Dress-code is smart casual for indoors, and pretty casual on their outdoor terrace.
Have a chat to George Maclean, the friendly owner with a cracking sense of humour, or Veronica - who made sure that our huge group of guests were well fed & watered (or should that be "beered"? haha!) and welcomed us with a genuine smile every time we came back.
If you're after Scottish traditional music, this is the place to be. Despite its unfortunate name, Hootananny is a great music club that delivers the goods almost every night of the week. The beer's great, the seating is comfortable, and the people are friendly. Highly recommended!
Church Street and the surrounding side alleys is where most of Inverness' nightlife scene is based... this is also were we found "The Room."
The Room is an American style bar/diner and is one of the few remaining privately owned bar diners in Inverness City Centre. We also had lunch here one day and their typical American dishes such as fried chicken, burgers and fries were very tasty.
In the afternoons and early evenings this is a cool place for a nice snack and a quiet drink... come night fall though, this turns into a loud, thumping, sweaty and hip-grinding fun-house!
The Room has a Rock Style Look with an electric red interior, music memorabilia and a focus on live bands. Special tribute nights and bands complete the theme and with its vibrant rock atmosphere you can't fail to have a good time in comfortable safe surroundings.
We came here with a group of friends and had a fantastic night with the life band providing some great entertainment, the bar staff were fun and friendly and we danced the night away!
Dress Code: No football or rugby shirts. Otherwise, dress-code is casual.
Live Music on Fridays & Saturdays.
Door staff can be a wee bit strict / harsh, but hey: in the end, it's also for your safety so give them a break and behave :-)
"Rock music should be gross: that's the fun of it. It gets up and drops its trousers."
- Bruce Dickinson.
* * * UNDER CONSTRUCTION * * *
Hootananny's is a wonderfully unexpected combination of two things that are so different, yet somehow work perfectly together: a traditional Scottish Pub with live folk music & other acts every night of the week, and a kitchen that serves authentic Thai cuisine.
It was voted Scotland' Best Live Music Venue in 2005 and works hard at upkeeping its great reputation.
** CEILIDH (pronounced KALEY) is Gaelic and means an informal get-together. The ceilidh is basically traditional folk music and originated in rural communities where neighbours would gather and spend long winter nights in story telling & song. It was a way of passing on traditions and folklore as well as keeping warm. Most ceilidhs have a live band, with fiddles and accordions, and some also have drums, guitar and even a Clarsach (Scottish harp).
Dress Code: Smart-Casual.
This is a big venue with a large bar & dining area downstairs, and a second floor for the evenings filled with live music. The toilets are also upstairs... just don't ask about why the vending machine supplies - amongst other questionable items - an inflatable sheep...
This is a traditional (Irish) pub and restaurant on the banks of the River Ness in the centre of Inverness. High quality food, live music & entertainment every night with the finest bands offering a wide range of Popular, Traditional, Scottish and Irish music.
This place must be an absolute gold-mine for the owners - whether it was lunch time, late afternoon, dinner time or late at night on both weekends and weekdays: Johnny Foxes never seems to be short of customers!
Adjacent and connected by a small hallway is the new "The Den", a stylish wine bar with black & white leather sofas, minimalist decor and walls adorned with portraits of famous Scots... somehow it's like entering a time-warp-like worm hole into another universe - both of these establishments couldn't be more different!
I really loved the outside seating area and the staff were all very friendly and fun. This was also the place I spent a very happy night dancing away to all of my favourite 80s tunes... :-) Loving it!
Dress Code: Johnny Foxes: Casual; but no shorts.
The Den: Smart-Castual; men should wear shirts with collar. No sandals, etc.
--> Johnny Foxes until approx. 12:30am.
--> The Den Daily until 3am.
Feeling peckish? As well as being a high quality bar with exquisite cocktails (trust me, they're seriously good!) you can also order a selection of tapas & stone-baked pizza until closing time.
Great place to see some traditional scottish ceilidh music, or you can go upstairs where there is live local and national bands playing. Really good, laid back atmosphere, especially in summer, full of travellers! They also allow children up till 9pm or so! Serve nice food too!
Dress Code: No dress code, just dont turn up in a tracksuit!
This has to be THE bar in the Inverness area, perhaps even in Scotland to sample whisky and beer. With over 60 Belgian Beers, plus about 10 taps, 4 of which have local real ale on, its beer choice is amazing, and is the largest selection of belgian beer in scotland.
But its whisky is even more impressive. Over 200 single malts (last time i checked).
Add to that a quality restaurant, and lovely staff, and a cheerful friendly owner, and you have possibly my favourite pub in the world so far! It's small, in a small village, but this shouldn't put you off visiting as I guarantee you'll be raving about it to your friends!
Dress Code: No dress code, a good, traditional, local pub!
As you can imagine, there are many pubs in Inverness, and some of them with live music. I think pubs in the U.K. can fit in all the tips: Nightlife, restaurants (many or maybe all of them serve food) or local costumes. Good at any time of the day. I bring this one just as an example.
Not entirely sure if this is the pub that I had visited with a friend in June; but the owner/manager had treated us quite well.
I recall that it had a revolving door. (Apparently the only one in Inverness).
My friend and I toured 75-80% of Scotland; and I kept a thorough journal during the whole week. I would like some help to locate the manager of the pub to send him a copy of my journal as thanks for his hospitality.
Sorry the picture is not that good... It's the only one I have.
Inverness is a great place to go out in. Lots of choices, live music and nightclubs. But beware there is a very strict curfue on all licensed premises. Its midnight at the weekends and to be honest most nights.
If your in your in, if your out your out. Dont argue with the Bouncers, we wont budge, its the law.
Dress Code: Smart dress seldom offends
A new live music venue for Inverness. This place has really helped to rejuvenate the live music in Inverness with larger bands now heading north more regularly. The place holds 1000 people I think and has a great atmosphere when it's packed. It seem very empty though if there's under 200 people in. Well worth checking out what's playing there though (especially worth checking if a Death Disco night's on, the best value night you'll have in Inverness). For more tips about Inverness nightlife check out www.urbarred.com. One last thing about the Ironworks; it is a bit on the pricey side for a drink.
Dress Code: None.
This place is very poor in service and food quality. My first experience of S & J was in Elgin, The food and the service werent bad, but Inverness is lousy.
Go down the road towards the river turn right and try johhny Foxes. FIRST RATE
Dress Code: No problems providing you cover up
i wouldnt even give this place 1 star
my family went out for a nice day in inverness and decided we'd go to a nice little pub for a nice meal
however the place was dark, unwelcoming and to be honest smelled a little mouldy
we walked into the bar and fair enough we were a bit hustle an bustle because we had been shopping and had three kids with us, the oldest child is 4 and was a little hyper running about a little, but he was just excited its not like it was busy there was one couple in eating
a man that worked there (im assuming is the manager) shouted at the 4 year old and told him to "calm the hell down"
my mum then asked if we could eat here
and the man replied not too politely
" not if they're going to act like that your not"
so we left, the looks we got of the staff you'd think we were the anti christ
we ended up going to mcdonalds, and still ended up having fun, although by reading these reveiws i'm glad we didnt waste our money in that disgusting place
Dress Code: no requirements