I loved this place, quite simply. It was on recommendation of the fellow driving my bus (well, van) down from Cairn Gorm that afternoon, a fellow who lives in Newtonmore and initially suggested dining at the Aviemore Hotel (which I thought looked a bit meh) before his memory was jogged as we drove by the Old Bridge Inn back into town. I had walked by here before and thought it looked quite sweet, so was joyed to hear it enthusiastically recommended by someone. Especially after a bit of a disappointing meal the evening before in town at a different bar.
I strolled in confidently but was a little startled at the menu, which seemed like (based on the place's appearance) consisted of Scottish 'comfort food' - and on the drizzly day I popped in, had kind of hoped to tuck into a big bowl of stew or a pie or something - but ended up being 'foodie' food... scented this and puree of that and drizzle of the other. Anyhow, whatever, in I went anyhow. November is a bit of a slow season for this resort town, just before the winter snow brings in droves of skiiers and snowboarders, but it was pleasantly full in this super cozy little pub. Everyone was in one of the two rooms (I think), which had a big blazing fireplace in the corner and a varied pile of guests including families with kids, groups of twenty-something guys playing board games, young couples, and even an older couple with their two beautiful golden retrievers contentedly curled up under the table.
On the bar was a hilarious menu of their festive wintery drinks. I started on with rum-imbibed apple cider which was tasty and well priced and HOT. As well they had a 3 course special going on that I decided on as it was the closest to the meal I had hoped for. It was a beautiful soup, followed by a massive venison burger with lots of side dishes, and this vanilla pudding/graham cracker sculpture with a braised pear that I am still dreaming of. Seriously, this dessert was ... I don't even know. A thing of beauty!
Even though I was there by myself, I didn't feel out of sorts the way one sometimes does alone in a pub. The wait staff were all friendly, maybe a bit on small-town time, but that's nothing unexpected anywhere in the world. It just gave me more time to enjoy my book! The place drips with charm and welcoming - I would have loved to be here on a lie music night. Even the outside area was delightful with a piano and cushy sofas tucked under a small overhang. A couple picnic tables are across the road on the river - I am not sure if these belong to the pub or not. Lovely spot though - highly recommended!
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