The Ballygrant Inn

What is it – This award winning inn sits in the village Ballygrant, the oldest established village on Islay and just 3 miles from the Port Askaig ferry terminal. It is a stunning area with just the 7 Lochs nearby to go and explore. The Ballygrant Inn sits proudly in 2 acres of beautifully manicured grounds with Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila Distilleries just a stones through away. It is owned and ran by Father and Son team David and Ewan Graham who have grown the Inn to one of the most re-spected whisky bars in the world. As well as the whisky bar, known locally as as Robolls bar, the Inn boasts seven bedrooms and the restaurant which overlooks the grounds of the Inn and offers fresh, local and Scottish produce.

Interesting fact – It is believed that Irish Monks first brought distilling to Islay before the locals started perfecting their own techniques. The whisky that comes out of its iconic distilleries is known for its smoky or peated character although you can get some great non-peated ones such as Bunnaha-bhain and Bruichladdich. Considering there are over a hundred Islands along Scotland’s coastline, Islay stands out and punches above its weight and deserves its title of Scotland’s “Whisky Island”

Verdict – Robolls is a proper pub and not just because it has a pool table, darts boards, an extensive whisky library and log burning stove. Its a proper pub because of the staff and the regulars who make you feel more than welcome as soon as you step into the place. You could easily find your-self in here for many hours and not realise it. For me that is a clear sign of a great pub. The owners have worked really hard to get it right here and the awards they have won are all totally justified in my opinion.

Drink – Their website states 400 whiskies on offer but i have it on good authority you could probably double that number. You’ll find all the big sellers here but they also look for new and rare whiskies to keep the enthusiasts coming back for more. Its not just about the Scotch here as you’ll find a great selection of beers, wines and world spirits, but you'd be daft not to try the whisky. You can really tell they love their whisky here and its not just because they are in such a famous location for whisky. All the staff are more than happy to guide you to your perfect dram.

Food – The food here is certainly not an after thought. They have a great menu with locally sourced ingredients of which the Island has many. I opted to keep it real while i was in the pub and just have a Mull of Kintyre Cheddar Toastie which i feel pairs with most whiskies on the planet.

Prices – All in line to keep the locals happy and the many visitors that come to Islay on their whisky pilgrimage.

Children – Kids welcome here and is very family friendly.

Perfect for – Settling down after a day out visiting distilleries for some great food and whisky.

Avoid if – part of our beautiful country.