July 2019 - Scotland Wedding/Golf Trip Report (lots of pics)

ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes!Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited Aug 15, 2019 9:45pm in UK #1

This will be super lengthy, will take multiple posts, and I might jump around some. Plenty of golf, but a lot of non golf, too. Will also add photos. Feel free to ask any questions as well. Hope you all enjoy.

Planning/Scheduling
This trip was over a year in the making. What had originally started out as a normal vacation to Scotland morphed into an elopement/honeymoon/vacation for us. We had never been to Scotland, so we were sort of winging this whole trip. The first idea that we (read: I) came up with was to get married on the Old Course on a Sunday when it's open to the public. She was totally on board and this was the original plan, until we got to thinking about how much of a crapshoot the weather could be. It would have been awful to plan to get married by the Swilcan Bridge only to have it be monsooning that day. So after searching our google machines, we found the perfect spot for us near Aberdeen in Peterhead at the Buchan Ness Lighthouse. This place is right on the North Sea and is about a 10 minute drive to Cruden Bay. We could get married outside and if the weather was bad, we had an indoor space, just in case.

Once we squared away the wedding location, we figured out our locations for the rest of the trip. This wasn't too much of a hassle as we sort of knew where we wanted to be. We arrive into EDI on Sunday morning the 14th, so we chose Dundee to stay in that first night. It wasn't quite a halfway point, but was close enough. I think it's the 4th largest city in Scotland, so it seemed like it would be a cool spot for a night. We found an AirBnB there. The next few days (Mon-Wed) would be spent at the wedding location in the cottage next to the lighthouse up in Peterhead. For the next leg of the trip we decided we wanted to be in St. Andrews. For Thursday through Sunday night, we found an AirBnB on North Street. Seemed like a good spot, private apartment, centrally located, and appeared to be a short walk to The Old Course. It checked all of the boxes. Then for the last 4 days of the trip, we wanted to be in Edinburgh. We found an AirBnB apartment on Lawnmarket St. that looked really neat. It was at a place called The King's Chamber at Riddle's Court that is near the top of The Royal Mile. I think there used to be Royal parties in this apartment back in the day. Anyway, it was in Old Town Edinburgh and seemed perfect. (To be clear, we decided on locations well in advance. We booked the lighthouse in late 2018, but we didn't actually book our AirBnB's until around March 2019. I'm not sure how much that limited our options, but there seemed to be plenty of availability.)

Now that we knew where we were going to stay, it was time to start figuring out where I wanted to play golf! I am a very lucky man and there are many, many reasons I married this woman. One of the many reasons is that she does not care that I play golf and she encourages me to do so. I know quite a few people on this board and they can all attest to how great she is in regards to my golf and travel. She just wants me to be happy and that is all I can ask for. That's my FIGJAM moment. Ok, back to the golf scheduling. I've been obsessed with Scotland golf courses since thinking about this trip, so I have done nothing but check out course reviews and read anything/everything related to the subject. I read Golf in Scotland by Allan Ferguson, A Course Called Scotland by Tom Coyne, and searched the interwebz and GolfWRX incessantly. When the NLU guys did a trip there last summer, that made me become even more obsessed with golf in Scotland. I figured I would play one round near Aberdeen, 2-3 rounds in St. Andrews, and 1-2 rounds while in Edinburgh. Four to Five rounds seemed reasonable on a two week trip and I heard no complaints from the roommate.

Cruden Bay was a course that caught my eye right away. I think it was on Graylyn Loomis' course reviews site where I originally saw photos of it. I knew I wanted to play here and she told me I should play it on the morning of our wedding on 7/16 while she was getting ready for the big day. Sounds good to me! I booked this round back in October 2018. While in St. Andrews, I wanted to play The Old Course, Kingsbarns, and Carnoustie. Last August, I struck out on the advanced singles ballot for TOC, so I did not have a guaranteed tee time heading into this trip. The plan was to line up in the queue at 2am on the Friday and Saturday I'm there. I was able to snag a tee time for that Sunday 7/21 at Carnoustie. You can't just book online as a single, but I reached out to them in October to see what they had. They had nothing for me and told me to contact them in January to see what availability they had. So I fired off an email to them in January and they had an opening with another threesome. Boom, booked. Kingsbarns was easier to book as they had something for me in October, so I booked that for Monday 7/22. And for my last round of the trip, I knew I wanted to play North Berwick. I had seen and read enough to know this is the spot where I should end my golf journey. I made a tee time for Wednesday 7/24 back in October as well. So my golf schedule was set:

• Cruden Bay 7/16
• The Old Course 7/19 or 7/20
• Carnoustie 7/21
• Kingsbarns 7/22
• North Berwick 7/24

Outside of the wedding and golf, we had no set plans for the trip. We just like to do what we want, when we feel like it, so having a trip full of "plans" just isn't our jam.

A lot more coming soon.

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Post edited by ceejay81 on
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Comments

  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to CanadaMembers Posts: 12,498 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice. Thx for sharing
    Sounds like a great gal .... and a superb trip. I loved my time in Scotland in 2012 and also the Coyne book. Loved St. Andrew's, TOC, KB and Carnasty.
    My wife and I golfed on our honeymoon (24 years ago) a few times on the RTJ Golf Trail in NW Florida. We'd rented a beach house right on the ocean in the Panhandle
    Look forward to the pics and more info
    My wife didn't come on my Scotland trip and now wants to go there

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  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,344 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Good stuff CJ :-)
    Looks like a superfun rota!

  • jvincentjvincent Members Posts: 735 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bah! You call that fog? That's nothing. :D

    Congrats and it sounds like you had a good trip. Looking forward to the other pictures.

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  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 31, 2019 9:28pm #7

    deleted

    Post edited by ceejay81 on
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  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 31, 2019 9:29pm #8

    Nice triple post hours later.

    St Andrews pics tomorrow.

    Post edited by ceejay81 on
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  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,344 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats on the permanent foursomes partner... no wait that sounds a bit dodgy...
    Congrats on the full-time caddie... no wait that sounds patronizing to the missus...
    Ach, nice golf course pics! :-)

  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,344 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Great stuff! :-)
    You and missus are setting the bar pretty high for subsequent holidays!

  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @duffer987 said:
    Great stuff! :-)
    You and missus are setting the bar pretty high for subsequent holidays!

    No joke! I'm pretty spoiled right now. At least she loves Scotland and wants to go back!

    Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, and North Berwick are coming up next.

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  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,344 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @ceejay81 said:

    @duffer987 said:
    Great stuff! :-)
    You and missus are setting the bar pretty high for subsequent holidays!

    No joke! I'm pretty spoiled right now. At least she loves Scotland and wants to go back!

    Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, and North Berwick are coming up next.

    I'm bias as NB is my favorite course in Scotland, but that is a cracking way to wind up the golf side of things.
    And at least with NB she can stay in Edi - lots of ways to spend a day there :-)

  • spud3spud3 Portland, ORMembers Posts: 1,657 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome trip report! Looking forward to the rest!

    Sending a PM for your impressions of your lodgings in StA and NB, as I'm heading over next summer.

    "take that, you miserable little white swine!"
  • mci711mci711 ChicagoMembers Posts: 1,223 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    My soon to be wife and I are going to Scotland for the first week of our honeymoon. This post got me even more excited, really enjoyed your pictures. We will be there 2 weeks from today and are playing The Old Course, New Course, Castle Course, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. Did you eat anywhere else besides tailend and the Dunvegan? I'm doing the planning for the Scotland portion of the trip and dining is the toughest part.

  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,344 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 7, 2019 12:02am #16

    @mci711 said:
    My soon to be wife and I are going to Scotland for the first week of our honeymoon. This post got me even more excited, really enjoyed your pictures. We will be there 2 weeks from today and are playing The Old Course, New Course, Castle Course, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. Did you eat anywhere else besides tailend and the Dunvegan? I'm doing the planning for the Scotland portion of the trip and dining is the toughest part.

    Don't eat at the Dunvegan, really. It's for golf tourists - with the corresponding vibe - and nowhere I'd go with the missus for a nice meal IMHO.
    Take a look at this: https://www.thecourier.co.uk/category/lifestyle/food-drink/restaurant-reviews/
    The Courier has a number of regional editions, so they might not all be Fife related.
    I'd also use opentable.com for whichever town you're staying in, the user feedback tends to be more locals than visitors.
    Ship Inn over in Elie looked to have a good set up for evening meals (stopped in for sandwich and post round pint, so not dinner). North Berwick has lots of nice bistro/cafe options.

    Post edited by duffer987 on
  • davep043davep043 Members Posts: 3,400 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Its been a few years since I was in St Andrews, but we enjoyed dinner at the Russell Hotel (The Scores and Murray Park) and Indian food at Jahangir (South Street). The Dolls House was also nice, kind of behind the church in the center of town.

  • mci711mci711 ChicagoMembers Posts: 1,223 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @duffer987 said:

    @mci711 said:
    My soon to be wife and I are going to Scotland for the first week of our honeymoon. This post got me even more excited, really enjoyed your pictures. We will be there 2 weeks from today and are playing The Old Course, New Course, Castle Course, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. Did you eat anywhere else besides tailend and the Dunvegan? I'm doing the planning for the Scotland portion of the trip and dining is the toughest part.

    Don't eat at the Dunvegan, really. It's for golf tourists - with the corresponding vibe - and nowhere I'd go with the missus for a nice meal IMHO.
    Take a look at this: https://www.thecourier.co.uk/category/lifestyle/food-drink/restaurant-reviews/
    The Courier has a number of regional editions, so they might not all be Fife related.
    I'd also use opentable.com for whichever town you're staying in, the user feedback tends to be more locals than visitors.
    Ship Inn over in Elie looked to have a good set up for evening meals. North Berwick has lots of nice bistro/cafe options.

    Thank you for the info

  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Countdown to The Open Championship! IowaClubWRX Posts: 18,281 ClubWRX

    Little Italy - St. Andrews

    Cucina Amore - North Berwick

    Sense a theme? ;-)

  • tideridertiderider Members Posts: 2,180 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 6, 2019 11:51pm #20

    @duffer987 said:

    @mci711 said:
    My soon to be wife and I are going to Scotland for the first week of our honeymoon. This post got me even more excited, really enjoyed your pictures. We will be there 2 weeks from today and are playing The Old Course, New Course, Castle Course, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. Did you eat anywhere else besides tailend and the Dunvegan? I'm doing the planning for the Scotland portion of the trip and dining is the toughest part.

    Don't eat at the Dunvegan, really. It's for golf tourists - with the corresponding vibe - and nowhere I'd go with the missus for a nice meal IMHO.
    Take a look at this: https://www.thecourier.co.uk/category/lifestyle/food-drink/restaurant-reviews/
    The Courier has a number of regional editions, so they might not all be Fife related.
    I'd also use opentable.com for whichever town you're staying in, the user feedback tends to be more locals than visitors.
    Ship Inn over in Elie looked to have a good set up for evening meals. North Berwick has lots of nice bistro/cafe options.

    re dunvegan, what duffy said ... not a horrible place if it's the middle of the week and not crowded, but the food certainly isn't anything to wait for ... as hawkeye mentioned, little italy is top notch ... service might be a touch spotty, but most service in scotland is a touch 'spotty' compared to the states .. you will have to make reservations at little italy ... i haven't dined in the little towns outside of st andrews/berwick/etc, so duff's rec on ship inn at elie sounds like a very nice alternative ... drive 20 minutes or so, if that, for a nice meal at a place that's not as crowded ... but you could make a pbj and walk around st andrews and watch the 18th green all evening for a fabulous time ... special place ...

  • kenmichkenmich Members Posts: 3

    @mci711 said:
    My soon to be wife and I are going to Scotland for the first week of our honeymoon. This post got me even more excited, really enjoyed your pictures. We will be there 2 weeks from today and are playing The Old Course, New Course, Castle Course, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. Did you eat anywhere else besides tailend and the Dunvegan? I'm doing the planning for the Scotland portion of the trip and dining is the toughest part.

    My favorite restaurant in St Andrews is Forgan's. It is on Market St. near Tesco. Main courses average between 13 and 22 GBP (I love their beef bourguignon). If you have a car, the Strathkinness Tavern is about 10 minutes outside of St Andrews, and I have always enjoyed their food (but it is pricier than Forgan's). You will need a reservation. I know that you will be on your honeymoon, but if you want something quite casual, try Ziggy's on Murray Place. They have great burgers, but it is a tight fit in there. Just up Murray Place from Ziggy's is Greyfriar's, also a good casual choice.

  • scott_Donaldscott_Donald Aberdeen, Scotland & HoustonMembers Posts: 2,482 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 7, 2019 12:40pm #22

    great write up so far. Loved the wedding day golf; I am doing the same in 4 weeks at Turnberry then getting married at Culzean Castle.

    looking forward to the rest of the report and its getting me excited to links golf next week!

    Post edited by scott_Donald on
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  • SCalGolferSCalGolfer Members Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    Congrats on your marriage and thanks for sharing. Awesome trip!

  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 153 ✭✭✭

    Great write up, and congratulations on getting married. Wife and I got married in Edinburgh 2 years ago, such a great country to get married in.
    Echo @kenmich 's sentiments with Forgan's. It's a nice restaurant and the food is good. Not overly pricey either. Brother in law used to work there a few years ago when he was at uni.

  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I owe a Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, and North Berwick recap. And I'll answer the restuarant questions, too. Sorry for the delay, real life is getting in the way! :wink:

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  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 13, 2019 3:54pm #26

    Alright, sorry for the delay. Time for Carnoustie!

    Carnoustie

    I had a noon tee time on Sunday of the Open Championship. One year too late, lol. I had a rental car, so I drove to the course from St. Andrews. It wasn't a bad drive at all, except the area past the Tay Bridge can be a little bit confusing. Thankfully it wasn't rush hour. Anyway, I got to the course and checked in at the pro shop. They have a bunch of indoor trackman's (trackmen?) to practice on, so I took full advantage of that. After I was done warming up, I headed to the first tee to meet my caddie Stephen and the group I was playing with. I was playing with a father and 2 sons, all older, who had this trip planned for almost 2 years. They were wonderful company on the day. Before we teed off, a gentleman walked up to meet me. He said he was those guys driver for the week and he's also an amateur photographer. Instead of sitting in the van for 4 hours, he likes to photograph people's rounds of golf for free and emails out the photos. He asked me if this was okay and I happily obliged. Free photos to document my day? Yes please!

    I didn't know what to expect from this course. I kind of thought that with my skill level that this course could be super hard and I'd lose balls all day long. Thankfully, that was not the case. We had about a 15-20mph steady breeze all day and my caddie Stephen was amazing as he navigated me around the course. I don't even know what it was about this course, but it turned into my favorite course I've ever played. I think the combination of the history of the course, the way it played, and the strategy that's involved in links golf. The greens and tee boxes were immaculate. By far the best greens on my trip. There were no bumps or imperfections. Everything rolled so smoothly. I doubled the 1st and 9th for a 44 and then shot a 42 on the back while being +8 on 14-17 LOL. I tied my career low round again in Scotland with an 86. Didn't lose a ball. The game just seems much "easier" for me over there as I struggle with firing shots into the woods and into ponds. There's just different types of trouble to get into when playing links golf. As long as I can find my ball to hit my next shot, I'm happy. I was pretty inaccurate off the tee all day, but my ball would be found sitting pretty decent in the tall wispy rough. I actually thought it was easier to hit out of this stuff as opposed to the fairways. You get that little bit of cushion under the ball which really helps. If we had 40mph winds and it was chilly, then I could see

    I didn't make any birdies, but I made 8 pars which is fantastic for me. On the 3rd hole, my drive bounced between the first 2 fairway pot bunkers, somehow. I had about 75 in and I one hopped it in and out of the hole! It rolled about 12 feet away. We all thought it was in for eagle. Pretty cool moment as I've never made an eagle before.


    On 18, I smoked my drive down the middle. My approach shot ended up to the left of the green in a bit of a collection area. I putted it up to about 5-6 feet and drained the par putt. No Van de Velde moment for me, lol.




    I know many say the course isn't scenic and there are not beautiful views -- but I find that to be BS. The town isn't pretty, but that golf course sure **** is. Just seeing the views all over of all the bunkers, the long grass, the big mounds everywhere - I just think the place looks amazing. It probably helped that it was pretty green'd up, but even if it was burnt and brown, I can't imagine my opinion of the course could ever change for the worse.

    Just going to attach a bunch of random pics from the day. Some are mine, some are from the photographer.



    Next 2 are the same shot.










    This putt went in!

    My ball is down next to the hole. I had putted from where the caddies are behind the green. Snuggled up close for par.


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  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Monday was our last day in St. Andrews and I played Kingsbarns at 10am. We had to check out by 11, so I drove to the course with a packed vehicle while the wife stayed back and took a bus to Kingsbarns Distillery a little later.

    Kingsbarns

    What a cool course! I'm very happy I scheduled this round. The views are amazing and the course is pretty spectacular. It does have more of a man-made feel about the course, but I honestly don't care too much if the course has been there for 20 years or 200. I personally don't think it should be the most expensive course to play in Scotland. That's not a knock on the course but would be best debated over beers.

    I got checked in at the pro shop and did a little bit of shopping first. After that, I made my way to the practice green to get some putts in. The greens were moving pretty quickly. There was about a 25-30 mph wind blowing all day, which was pretty fun. It's fun getting advice from my caddie on the greens and the wind is part of the equation. It really does affect putting! I met the guys I would be playing with, which happened to be another dad/son/son combo who had the trip planned for a long time. These guys were real nice, just not much of golfers. I had a caddie named Jamie, who was really good, and the other 3 guys got a fore caddie.

    I went out in 45 with a few pars on 1, 6, and 8. On the back 9, I stole birdies on the 11th and 15th for a 41. And what does that equal again? 86! Tied my career low again on back to back days! This one could have been at least 5-6 shots lower, easily, as I had . My birdie on 11 was pretty quality. Driver down the right side, iron up to 25 feet, then drained the putt. Easy game! My birdie on the 15th was much different. We had wind directly in our faces. I think the number was 160 but it was playing more like 190-195 to a middle-backish pin. I hit my 3h pretty low and square and it hit the middle of the green and bounced off the back. When we got up there, we found my ball sitting a few feet below the surface of the green in the really deep hay a few yards behind the green. I could see the top of the flag and I could see the back of the ball. The green was breaking downhill and to the left, so I just wanted to pop something up onto the surface and have it feed down. I hit my 58* wedge, made great contact, and I climbed up the hill just in time to see the last 5 feet of my ball rolling into the cup! Pretty cool moment birdieing the toughest par 3 on the European Tour (according to my caddie).

    The grand scale of the place is amazing. It's just such a huge course. The views are absolutely spectacular and could easily be argued are better than Pebble Beach. They really hit a home run with this course.


















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  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭














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  • ceejay81ceejay81 Love that chicken from Popeyes! Washington, DCMembers Posts: 1,856 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 13, 2019 6:19pm #29

    @kenmich said:

    @mci711 said:
    My soon to be wife and I are going to Scotland for the first week of our honeymoon. This post got me even more excited, really enjoyed your pictures. We will be there 2 weeks from today and are playing The Old Course, New Course, Castle Course, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. Did you eat anywhere else besides tailend and the Dunvegan? I'm doing the planning for the Scotland portion of the trip and dining is the toughest part.

    My favorite restaurant in St Andrews is Forgan's. It is on Market St. near Tesco. Main courses average between 13 and 22 GBP (I love their beef bourguignon). If you have a car, the Strathkinness Tavern is about 10 minutes outside of St Andrews, and I have always enjoyed their food (but it is pricier than Forgan's). You will need a reservation. I know that you will be on your honeymoon, but if you want something quite casual, try Ziggy's on Murray Place. They have great burgers, but it is a tight fit in there. Just up Murray Place from Ziggy's is Greyfriar's, also a good casual choice.

    Gonna shoot from the hip, trying to remember all the spots we hit up. Probably missing a few but here are the main ones.

    Tailend: Had dinner there, was very good. Fish and chips were money.

    Forgan's: Had the most salty breakfast/brunch ever. Not sure what was up with that. Seemed like a good spot though. Wish we had gotten dinner there.

    Ziggy's: It's a David Bowie tribute bar/restaurant. Really tiny inside but had a good vibe with 80's rock music playing. I think it's more of an Americanized restaurant focused on tourists. They did have some sizzling fajitas on their menu that looked good.

    Bibi's Cafe: Had an amazing bacon roll here. Great spot for breakfast.

    Dunvegan: Was actually much cooler than I thought it would be. We had no plans on going here, but the guys I played the Old Course with wanted to grab a drink. A 20 minute thing turned into like a 4-5 hour thing. The drinks were flowing, we had this tiny, firecracker of a waitress who is a 2 handicap, and we sat next to a group of dudes who are caddies at Kingsbarns. It was the 2nd round of The Open, so that was on all of the TV's. Rory was trying to claw his way into the cut. I didn't find it to be too American/touristy, but it was packed. It was just a bunch of golfers having a great time with the pints flowing. For food, our group got an order of chili nachos and some fries. Then later on we were even more hammered and ordered dinner. I had a steak & ale pie which was pretty awesome. Everyone else is right though. You shouldn't plan a dinner here with the wife, but it's a good spot to hit up with the dudes for a beer or 4. Not necessarily a "must visit" place, but it doesn't suck either. I don't know. I enjoyed my time there.

    St Andrews Brewing Co: Seemed like a great spot with plenty of room, but it was absolutely dead inside. Granted it was a Thursday, but at 8:30pm, I thought it would be more lively.

    Keys Bar: Cool locals bar. We grabbed a couple of pints and sat outside. We chatted with a few locals who were awesome. Great spot for a beer.

    The Saint: We made reservations here for dinner. It was just okay. I had their sirloin and the wife got their gnocchi (which was their "version" of gnocchi, which was nothing like gnocchi). No need to go here.

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  • tideridertiderider Members Posts: 2,180 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    a popeyes over there would make a killing ...

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