Monday, 7 March 2011

Cheers' Theory of Intelligence

It works for us!

'Well you see, Bob, it's like this . . . A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Bob, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.'

Friday, 11 February 2011

New Year, New Look

The dust has finally settled, the builders have all gone, and the Council have stopped shouting at us for daring to paint the front of our building without paying an exorbitant and totally ludicrous fee for the privilege. Yes, it's a new year at The Grog & Gruel, and a new look.

The impossible brief has been delivered. Congratulations to Burns Design who were asked to modernise the traditional alehouse, but not to break it, to change it but not to detract from what we are. We must admit, we thought we'd got them stumped when we came up with that one, but actually, it all seems to have turned out rather well.

But maybe it's not so surprising after all. Burns Design actually created The Grog & Gruel back in 1994 when we first brought the Traditional Alehouse & Restaurant concept to The Rock & Luigi's, as it was known then. Their working knowledge of the business and our aspirations is probably better placed than anyone else's as a result.

The change has been fairly comprehensive. A new gantry in the Alehouse sets the scene as you walk in through the double doors. The puggy machine has been cast out and in it's place we've now got Chuffer's Corner, possibly the best seat in the house. And the fire helps to add a certain cosiness to the place.

All change in the entrance too. Horace still watches over you as you enter, and we still have a few finishing touches to add here to really make you feel welcome.

Upstairs in the Restaurant there's a new look too. A new servery, new colour scheme, a few more larger tables to help us accommodate you and your friends when you come in together, but, we're pleased to say, still the same smiley helpful waiting staff!

The guys in the kitchen were feeling a little left out, so we took the opportunity of the downtime to bring in a brand new pizza oven, Well, two of them actually. And the difference is, well, you'll need to find out for yourselves!

So, when you're next on Fort William's High Street, do pop in for a look see. You'll still recognise The Grog & Gruel, though you might (hopefully!) spot a few differences.

Hope to welcome you back soon!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Work in progress

Working through the weekend, the end of the refurbishment project is now in site. It's all a bit chaotic, but out of the dust and the debris, there are glimpses of the finished product.

Now the frost has gone, the decorators get outside.

We don't want to give too much away - but we can tell you it's going to look fantastic!

The new flock wallpaper has gone on well! (Yes, it's the real thing!)

All will be revealed this coming Thursday. Probably!

Can you tell what it is yet?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Time for a makeover

It could be too much day time TV that's done it, but after 16 (long!) years at The Grog & Gruel we reckon that it's now time we had a bit of a makeover.

The Alehouse & Restaurant will be closed from Sunday 28th November, and, assuming all goes to plan, which lets face it is a bit optimistic at best, will re-open on

Thursday 16th December.

Make it a date in your diary. Maybe it's appropriate to bring in the new with a "Bjorn Again" party? 70's flares it is then.

Artist's impression of the new look exterior

No, sorry, forget that. We will have a bit of a re-opening party on Thursday 16th December, but you don't need to come in your flares. Not unless you want to, that is.

The Alehouse will be brought to life with the new karaoke equipment.
Full height, full length wall mirrors will effectively double the size and ensure that you can always check that you're looking hot.

Quit being flippant and tell us what's happening I hear you say?

Back in 1994 we had a clear vision of what The Grog & Gruel was going to be all about. The clue was in the name. Food and drink. No fuss (not an advert for a local events company, but a statement of policy!), no frills, but good honest food and drink in a relaxed environment with a little bit of fun thrown in for good measure. 16 years, we reckon we've got there, and with that in mind, we're not about to change it.

We'll still be The Grog & Gruel, we'll still be an Alehouse and Restaurant, we'll still sell a superb range of real ales, the menus aren't changing, and we'll still be the best pub in town.

We're going for a more retro Italian look in the restaurant, but note that we've made the seats more comfy.

What will change is a little bit of what you see. A lick of paint here, a lick of paint there... And perhaps a little bit extra too. Some stonework, a black stove to huddle round on the very few rainy days we get in Fort William, and..., well you'll just have to wait and see!

Join us on Facebook, and so long as it doesn't all look too scary and off putting, we'll keep you up to date with progress. Now go and find your platforms and iron those flares... Gimme, gimme a man after midnight...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

West Highland Way

So, it's been a busy old summer. Perhaps everyone has come into the Alehouse to shelter from the rain. Perhaps we've just come of age and the word is now out that The Grog & Gruel is just a damn good pub. Or perhaps, it's because the end of the West Highland Way has moved from the Glen Nevis roundabout (was that ever official?) to just outside the doors of the pub. Well, nearly.

The new statue in Gordon Square, Fort William

Regardless of quite why we've been enjoying the sweet sound of cash registers ringing, it's quite refreshing to see a bit of effort being made to welcome tens of thousands of walkers at the end of their ramblings. They've even made a bit of effort to sort out Gordon Square. And look, they've given us a new statue too.

Err..., anyway, The Grog & Gruel is now the end checkpoint (or the first one if you're walking downhill) for getting the final stamp in your West Highland Way Log Book and claiming your certificate.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Friends of Nevis

A quick thank you from the Friends of Nevis to The Grog and Gruel for being the top fund raiser in the town. But it's not us that should be thanked, it's our customers! So, thanks!

Path repairs 25ooft up a mountain don't come cheap!

Apparently the total to the beginning of June from the bar top collections and trolley token donations is a fairly substantial £617.70 (plus 10 Euros!) Here's a quick note from FoN:
Please pass on my thanks to your team there, because it is definitely the attitude and enthusiasm in promoting/placing the items that really helps. So many times I have been into other outlets to find our leaflets and/or boxes are either under the counter or shoved behind stuff in a corner!
Well, no point doing something if you're not going to do it well. And we're glad to help. Ben Nevis is Fort William's biggest asset. We'd dread to think of the town without it, so it seems only natural that we'd choose to get behind something that helps to protect that asset for now and for future generations.

So, thanks to everyone who's donated. And if you haven't already, see the FoN web site for more easy ways to help out, not all of which involve cash!

Monday, 24 May 2010

I believe the children are our future.

I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. So, after much discussion with our lisencing board and paperwork, The Grog and Gruel will now welcome children into our Alehouse during the day in the company of a 'responsible' adult. We hope this is something our customers will find of benefit and also allow parents to enjoy our range of food and drink without having to tie their children up outside.

Although children have always been welcome into our restaurant, getting the green light from the lisencing board to having children into our alehouse took a change in the law to come about. Although under 18's will never be allowed alcohol whilst in The Grog and Gruel a fine range of soft drinks and and excellent hot drinks menu is available as well as a children's menu. We also have a high chair for those tiny wee Grog and Gruel customers. So a trip to the Grog and Gruel will no longer be reserved for the older generation it can be a grand day out for all the family.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Brand New Ales At The Grog

May is a good month for cask ale. A wonderful range of seasonal ales are on offer from our local Highland breweries to add to their usual listings. One of these to be featured this week is White Lady wheat beer from Cairngorm brewery. A classic light bodied session bitter. This copper coloured beer has a delicate malt flavour and a hint of caramel from crystal grains. It is traditionally bittered with Goldings and has a dry slightly spicy finish. It's proving very popular even for a wheat beer.

To add to our great range of ales this week we also have Hebridean Gold from Isle of Skye Brewery. A distinctively different ale, brewed with porridge oats for exceptional smoothness, with a deep and creamy head.

Both ales are selling extremely well so worth popping down to The Grog and Gruel before we sell 'oat' !!