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Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn nightlife venues

Highland hospitality is legendary and here are some of the best places to enjoy the craic in Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn. Craft gins are being produced locally by distillers like the new community-owned Glen Wyvis Distillery. Craft beers, too, are on the up, with a raft of fantastic local craft breweries like the Black Isle Brewery and the Cromarty Brewing Company. And we can’t forget the whisky. The Malt Room is Inverness’ first whisky bar, a cosy and welcoming place with an extensive whisky menu. Check out their tasting nights to learn more about Scotland’s national drink from knowledgeable staff.

The local music scene doesn’t disappoint, from regular ceilidhs to casual traditional music sessions, the Highlands’ long history of music is still very much in existence. The summer months in particular will see traditional Scottish evenings and ceilidhs from many of the local venues and hotels in the area. Nairn Ceilidh Group runs regular ceilidhs from June to August in Nairn Community and Arts Centre.

One of the best places to drink in the traditions of the Highlands is Hootannany, a three-floor venue in the heart of Inverness that serves up excellent food and plenty of live music. With regular ceilidhs and traditional bands, you really can’t miss this popular night spot if you want to experience a true Highland fling. The 1,000-capacity Ironworks is the biggest live music venue in town, hosting a wide range of international and local bands as well as nurturing local talent. For traditional music on a smaller scale, visit MacGregor’s Bar, where you can enjoy some lively music in a relaxed and friendly environment. The bar’s founder, Bruce MacGregor, is one of Scotland’s finest musicians, and he and other Scottish greats are often to be found playing tunes in the bar.

Our picks

The Malt Room

34 Church St, Inverness IV1 1EH

The Malt Room is a family-owned specialist whisky bar in the heart of Inverness. It’s proud to offer a truly diverse selection of world-renewed and locally-produced whiskies, spirits and craft beers. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are happy to guide you through the extensive selection – whether you are new to the whisky world or consider yourself a connoisseur, they will have something to tantalise your palate. The Malt Room boasts a growing collection of requested bottles that feature alongside the seasonal whisky cocktails, whisky flights and chocolate pairings. You will find the bar just off Church Street, tucked along the lane leading to the Victorian Market. Visit website

Hootananny pub

67 Church St, Inverness IV1 1ES

Inverness’ Hootannany is a three-floor venue that serves up excellent food and plenty of live music. With regular ceilidhs and traditional bands, you really can’t miss this popular night spot if you want to experience a true Highland evening. Visit website

The Anderson
Whisky pour

Union St, Fortrose IV10 8TD

Whisky and beer buffs will love The Anderson in Fortrose just a few miles north of Inverness. This local institution has been welcoming locals and tourists for years. They run regular traditional music sessions, too, where you can bring your own fiddle, banjo or voice, or just come along and enjoy the craic. Visit website

Johnny Foxes

26 Bank St, Inverness IV1 1QU

Johnny Foxes is something of an Inverness institution, and is one of the most popular spots in town. This bar sits right on the river, and a sunny day will see its beer garden overflowing. It gets busy with locals and visitors alike, keen to enjoy the fresh food and good atmosphere. With live music every night, this is the place to go if you want somewhere that’s open late. Visit website


73 Queensgate, Inverness IV1 1DG

R&B’s is the home of karaoke in Inverness and it makes for a fantastic night out. This family-run bar is slap bang in the centre, offering up one of the friendliest atmospheres in town. It offers a wide range of drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, with entertainment on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Visit website

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Image credits: ©Dylan de Jonge/Forja2/Wine Dharma/Unsplash;; VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett

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