Saturday, 20 July 2013

North Berwick, East Lothian

The circus is in town! Not just any circus either, a circus of events contractors that I proudly count myself amongst. Perhaps as part of a troupe of clowns.
The 142nd Open Championships is taking place at Muirfield, so with a protracted stay in North Berwick on the cards, what else could I do but check out a few of the local pubs in this delightful seaside town.
But first, a little look at the station.

North Berwick is a compact little thing, but this hasn't always been the case. Early in 1980s the grand Victorian buildings were demolished and the surrounding goods yard and infrastructure redeveloped. 

The station is the terminus of a single track branch line from Drem, where the line leaves the East Coast Mainline. The line was electrified in the 1990s and has enjoyed several years of increasing passenger use.

First ScotRail have the responsibility for managing the station, and seem to be doing a good job. I think little touches like those in the photo above go a long way at stations, particularly in touristy areas.

The majority of trains into North Berwick originate in Edinburgh and stop at all stations along the way. Services run hourly during the week, Saturday evenings and Sunday and half hourly Saturday daytime and peak weekday times. The journey from Edinburgh takes about half an hour and links in with seasonal park and ride facilities at North Berwick.

In this age of smart phones I won't bore you with directions, but our journey starts at the Golfers Rest on the High Street. It's only appropriate.

The Golfers Rest seems to be a good locals pub in an area often overrun with tourists. As the name alludes to, a fair few people from the nearby links courses find there way in after a bash.
The pub has several TVs showing sport. On my various visits I watched Andy Murray playing at Wimbledon and the first test of the Ashes.

Beer wise the Golfers Rest serves Deuchars IPA and London Pride. Whilst not particularly exotic both beers were well kept and nicely served, deserved of the Cask Marque plaque the pub has at the front door.

Our second and final stop is the nautically themed Ship Inn on the pleasingly named Quality Street.

Cleverly situated behind a tree to make photographing the place difficult, the Ship is on the road leading to the harbour and beaches. Couple this with it being next to the chippy and you can see why the pub is often busy.

The interior is nicely decorated, with various charts, nautical paraphernalia and old photos about the place.

There's an ever changing selection of beers on the three hand pumps, most of which being from Scotland. The big chalk boards let you know what's on and what's coming soon. And what's that on the wall? A thirds paddle! Win.

None of the beers last long once they get on. The Juniper Tree from Williams Brothers was one of my personal favourites of the many sampled. The picture above also shows the vast collection of whisky available. Did you know the Scottish spelling is whisky and the Irish spelling is whiskey? I didn't.

As well as the good range of beers on the bar, there's also an extensive range of bottled beers with their own handy menu featuring tasting notes and prices. The food menu also does a bit of beer and food matching.

North Berwick is a great little seaside town, even if you're not visiting pubs, playing golf or building a golf tournament.


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