Oban pre Christmas jaunt……….by Paul Mclean – Scotch Whisky Tour

the lovely Alana at the whisky cellar bar Oban

The lovely Alana at the whisky cellar bar Oban

Oban pre Christmas jaunt

Aye, I wandered along to Oban for a pre-Christmas hangout. Staying two nights, the first after a journey fae Perth, so not much happening, apart from the fantastic scenery. I headed out for food and drink – Coast restaurant was my selection tonight, I have been before and enjoyed it. The staff are great, had a nice wine to start. The menu has the usual Oban selections of seafood.  Salmon main course was fabby dozie, followed by toffee mouse, this was so good, so light, tasty, I ordered a second one! It was only 5.45 and there were 4 staff on duty, owner and chef, apart from myself, it was full of locals, always a good sign. Is it worth a visit, is the Pope a Catholic? Called into another favourite, the Tartan Bar, always enjoy myself in this pub, full of locals, I was the only outsider, great craic. Dondered away to bed.

cellar bar in Oban at xmas 2019

Next day I took many photos of the rising sun and the glorious day, all pinks, oranges and then blues, fab pix if I say so myself. Took myself to Dunstaffnage Castle and marina. Then headed away to Loch Etive on a single track road to Bonawe. Spent most of the day down this road with many stops. The night 0h I know, have jumped a few hours but what the hell – I had an appointment with Etive restaurant,  new to me but maybe a year in Oban. What a great whisky selection including two different Glengoyne Teapot’s, had a long chats with owner David (who buys the whisky), food was superb and good portions by the way, expensive, but you get what you pay for, grand wine selection too – £24 – £105 a bottle. My starter was pollock, then Inverurie Shin of beef, it just fell apart, fantastic. I was seriously tempted by the whisky list, 5 different drams from Tiree whisky company – David was born on Tiree (http://mcleanscotland.com/scotlands-wee-isles-part-one ). Noteable others included HP Valhalla flight of 4 drams for £150. Lagavulin 16yo £6, Port Charlotte heavily peated £5, BenRiach 10yo £3.50 and a Balvenie 21 year old £12. My only negative, it was too bright. The place is simply furnished but has really good art on the walls, allowing you to focus on the food and drink of course, would I go back? To be sure!

Same evening I hit the Whisky Cellar Bar, again, amazed at the amount of whisky here, took my time while listening to some rock and metal, never a bad thing. Behind the bar waited Billy Pearson and Alana Moore served my liquid needs – a whisky and cocktail bar with a pool table.  This was formerly “The Cellar Bar” and the change of name reflects drinking priorities. As the name says, it specialises in whisky with over 100 malts, Loch Fyne Ales on pump, Guinness and the usual suspects. There is no draught lager but that makes a nice change, there is a bar I use in Dublin that’s doesnee sell Guinness. This is one of the cheapest pubs in town and tends to draw the locals rather than tourists. The ancient wooden door looks as if it was stolen from an old castle. It’s a shame I couldnee stay longer as I liked the place and now, is one of my Oban haunts. www.whiskytours.scot

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