With dozens of distilleries a short drive away from Inverness, the region is awash with liquid gold and evocative names, such as Dalmore, Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich. And there are dozens of high-quality bars, pubs and clubs across the city where you can find the right dram or drop for you.
Nightlife in Inverness
If you know your single malts from your blends, then the Malt Room on Church Street near the Victorian Market is the place for you. It’s got a seriously impressive selection that spans hundreds of bottles, with some dating back nearly half a century – although the more expensive bottles will put a big hole in your pocket. If whisky isn’t your thing, they still have an impressive range of beers, wines, rums, gins and more, meaning you’ll be well catered for.
Scotch & Rye take a slightly different approach to their whisky selection. Not only do they have over 100 whiskies to choose from, but they happily stock bourbon and rye and create whisky-based cocktails – a big no-no for whisky purists. But then again, with cool decor and an alternative feel to the place, this is definitely not your normal run-of-the-mill bar, and it’s all the better for it.
Run by the same team as Scotch & Rye, Bar One Inverness next to the Eastgate Shopping Centre opened in 2009 and was the city’s first genuine cocktail bar, offering the largest range of mixed drinks in the Highlands. If you’re brave, try their Bubblegum Daiquiri or kick-start your night out with their award-winning Brace Position cocktail. Alternatively, you can always put the bartenders to the test and order off-menu.
Over the river from our Inverness Centre River Ness hotel is The White House, an upmarket cocktail bar that mixes classics, as well as more contemporary creations. With table service and a stylish exposed-brick interior, it’s also a great place to eat, with the venison burger a strong favourite.
One of the most atmospheric watering holes in the city, MacCallums Bar on Union Street comes alive at the weekends, thanks to its resident bands and live musicians, with the crowd – ably abetted by a strong selection of local gin and whisky – on backing vocals.
Another bar close to our River Ness hotel, Encore is the perfect spot to start your night out. A stylish bar decked out in wood, suck-you-in seats and neon signs, you can choose from over 50 handpicked whiskies or one of the best wine lists in town, or grab a bite to eat from their lunch or dinner menu.
Previously called The Exchange, Platform 8 is a great all-rounder. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they serve food until 10pm daily and have seven screens showing all the latest rugby, football, golf and horse racing action. With a range of cask ales, malt whiskies and gins on offer, there’s something for every taste bud. Even better, it’s just a short drive from our Inverness East hotel.
One of the older bars in town, Johnny Foxes burst into life in 1997 and has remained a mainstay ever since, thanks to its winning combination of good food, good drinks and nightly live music. Located just over the Ness Bridge, the bar has a covered patio area for smokers and al fresco drinkers, as well as a late-night bar/club called The Den that comes alive at the weekends.
Briarbank Brewing Company
The Spread Eagle
The Fat Cat
Head to our dedicated Inverness pubs page to find out more about the best drinking spots in the city.
Only open at the weekend, Club Tropicana runs every Friday night and celebrates the best – and worst, depending on your viewpoint – of the 80s, while Vogue is dedicated to 90s classics and runs every Saturday night. If you’re after a retro-flavoured night out, there are few finer in the north of Scotland. Located on Baron Street in the heart of Inverness, you’ll find an up-for-it crowd fuelled by drink deals and shout/sing-along classics that closes at 3am every Saturday and Sunday morning.
Part of popular bar Johnny Foxes, The Den is their late-night dancing spot with a DJ providing the soundtrack from Wednesday to Saturday night. Open until 3am, the dance floor quickly fills up towards midnight – no doubt encouraged by the 30-strong cocktail menu.