HELENSBURGH'S PUBS ARE MOSTLY UNINSPIRING LITTLE PLACES WITH ABOUT AS
MUCH CHARACTER AS A GHERKIN. THERE WILL BE A FEW OKAYISH ONES IN THERE,
SOMEWHERE, AND THEY WILL GIVE LOCALS WHAT THEY WANT, AS FAR AS ALCOHOL,
CAMARADERIE, AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET YOUR FALSERS AROUND A BAG OF
CHEESE AND ONION CRISPS ARE CONCERNED. BUT FOR VISITORS THEY PRESENT A
MOSTLY DISMAL PROSPECT WHERE THE TAKING ON OF ALCOHOL HAS BEEN STRIPPED
OF ALL ITS NICETIES, RIGHT BACK TO THE VERY BLAND, UNATTRACTIVE BONE.
THAT SAID ...
THE LOGIE BAIRD, 8 JAMES STREET
Sitting just off the promenade, The Logie Baird is part of a chain of
pubs and exudes about as much atmosphere as a kipper (as opposed
to that of a gherkin - in the NAS (National Atmosphere Scale) it
is generally reckoned that kipper's are marginally better than
gherkins). They have no real ale on tap, just Deuchars in
bottles (it's a start guys, it's a start - next stage of your
development should see you at least attempt to source
local ale). Inside it is colourfully pleasing, and you
may rest awhile in comfort.
RHU INN, RHU
This isn't in Helensburgh, but it's very close by, a mere two miles or
so along the promenade and more than worth the short walk. (If you're
standing on the promenade looking out to sea, then Rhu is to your
right.) The Rhu Inn is an old 17th century inn which feels seriously snug inside,
with old dark wood and what have you.
And after those bracing salty sea odours there will be nothing nicer
than getting stuck into some decent real ale in front of a real fire.
Let's have more real stuff in life, that's what I say.
KILCREGGAN HOTEL, ARGYLL ROAD, KILCREGGAN
This isn't in Helensburgh either - are you starting to see a trend here?
Kilcreggan is best reached via a short hop on a small ferry from
Helensburgh. There's not a great deal to the village, but that doesn't
matter, for after being bounced around on the waters of the Firth of
Clyde you may take your shaky legs to this fine hotel bar and sup some
splendid real ale while soaking up even splendidier (not a word, I know,
but I like it and nothing is going to stop me from using it!) views over
the water. Superb.
THE COMMODORE, 112-117 WEST CLYDE STREET
I missed The Commodore when previously in Helensburgh. I'm not
sure why I missed it. I mean, it's quite big. I guess I maybe
glanced at it and thought it looked like part of a large pub
chain, and as such probably wouldn't be much cop. Sometimes
appearances can be deceptive, but not too deceptive. This is part
of a large pub and restaurant chain, but inside it's actually
pretty good. In fact, it's better than good. Like most Vintage
Inns establishments it has been made to look old inside, giving
the appearance of some sort of country cottage with
stone-flagged floor, couches with cushions, and lots of nice
secluded corners to hide in. But the thing is, no matter how
agreeable the interior of The Commodore might be, it is the real
ale policy of this organisation that troubles me. I mean, they
have real ale, and they even have little booklets so that you
might see what ales are due to be put on, but I rarely see any
ale that might be termed local. Indeed, most of their ales are
English, and that's a long way for ale to travel. Moans aside,
it is without question the best place in Helensburgh, and I
would certainly return.