Thursday, 11 December 2008

Grog's Global Appeal

A new web site and the appeal of The Grog and Gruel has gone global.

With Christmas getting ever closer we've been receiving requests for Christmas pressies from all round the globe. Yes, such is the international standing of this modest High Street pub and restaurant.

A selection of t-shirts, polo shirts and Grog mugs are winging their way half round the world to Sydney, Australia. (That's like London, En-ger-land, like they say in the movies). And without spoiling the surprise, suffice to say that we've been helping out with pressie arrangements in Toronto, Canada.

If you're looking for a good way to fill those stockings this Christmas, and you just don't look good in fishnets, then we're happy to help with some Grog Goodies, or perhaps a voucher. Quite literally, beer vouchers!?

So buy your Christmas present from The Grog and Gruel this year or the dog gets it. Don't let him down!

Friday, 28 November 2008


Have you seen this ass?


New government that is. One that won't keep persecuting the licensed trade.
No doubt the issue of the VAT change will be rearing its head again soon enough, but have you wondered if the increase in duty on alcohol to offset this decrease will be reversed again when the VAT rate reverts to 17.5%. Or should that be increases to 18.5%

Monday, 17 November 2008

Bar Humbug ??

As many folk will have noticed Christmas will soon be upon us. We only have about 5 weeks until its time for the turkey, tree and tinsel. Hard to believe that it has been a full year since Santa last visited us and we had to endure the weeks of turkey sandwiches.

It's not only our own family Christmas we have to organise but many of you will also have to organise evenings to celebrate the yuletide cheer with social, leisure and work groups. Sometimes I think by the time Christmas actually arrives I will be sick of the sight of turkey and those little sausages wrapped in bacon... though it hasn't happened yet.

For all of you who have the daunting task of organising a group outing or group meal we would like you to keep in mind the Grog and Gruel. As always we give Christmas our own unique touch. Although we generally don't have a set Christmas menu ,due to our standard menu always proving to be far more popular, our chefs will be preparing festive specials for your delight. A copy of our menu can be downloaded from our main site. If more information is needed a quick e-mail or phone call to Neil or Sarah Louise on 01397 705078 will answer any questions.

With our town centre location, massive drinks menu, great dining and bags of festive cheer The Grog & Gruel is a great choice for your evening out this Christmas.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Probably The Worst Decision in the World

Last week it was announced that in 2011 Carlsberg UK plan to close its iconic Tetley Brewery in Leeds. Independant consumer group Camra are reeling, blaming Carlsberg for failing to promote this epic ale in a time when interest in cask ale is booming.

Although questioned by many locals The Grog and Gruel, and its manager, have always been proud to supply Tetley's on draught and have done so for the past 14 years. Rarely do we pick ales outside our local area, even more rare is picking an ale from south of the border. In order to provide Highlanders with a true 'classic' Bitter it is necessary to take a trip to the ionic waters of Englandshire. We have in the past featured other famous bitters.. Ind Coope Burton, Greene King IPA, Marston Pedigree to name a few.

Though when most breweries merge, increase/decrease business size or change the nature of their business, the main priority is to keep the brewing done in the original site. Carlsberg seem not to see this as important. CAMRA is seeking a meeting with Carlsberg in order to discuss the future of Tetley's cask ales. We will keep you informed.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Winter Opening Hours

Due to the decline in trade we will be reducing our opening hours at The Grog and Gruel. The cold dark nights are upon us. The tourists have gone home, and locals will be watching their pennies for Christmas and with recent economic downturn our quiet winter nights are proving even quieter.

As we always have in the past we will be closing on Sundays. This gives us a chance to carry out essential maintenance and staff training that would not be able to be carried out with customers in the building. In addition our restaurant will stay closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

It's not all doom and gloom though. The Alehouse will continue to keep the same hours for food and drink Monday to Saturday, maybe the odd early night for those occasions when even locals wouldn't venture out. Although we will reduce our number of cask ales on tap we still have a great range of cask ales coming in the next few weeks...including Seven Giraffes, Tradewinds and Red Squirrel ale. Also some good deals on malt whisky.

If you find yourself in need of a nacho on a Sunday, remember the Clachaig Inn is only a short drive away.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Fort William Cinema set to return?

Well, its been quite a while since we had the pleasure of sticking to the carpet as we found our seats at the Fort William Cinema. Can't remember when it actually closed, but can tell you that its a long drive to Inverness or Oban to see the latest release.
However, all that could be set to change if Croft Digital Media (Fort William) Ltd get their way. Plans are afoot to re-open the cinema as the first Digital Cinema in the Highlands and Islands. And to make it all happen there needs to be a show of community support, so now is the time to become a member of Croft Digital Media.

Can't see any forms on the web site but they're doing the rounds. Get one and join now! I have. But there again, I've got fond memories of the heady days of watching Batman with the late King Hussein of Jordan (evening entertainment at Inverlochy Castle must be a bit dull), and Braveheart premieres.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Yes We Are In It !!

The CAMRA Good Beer Guide is out for 2009 and once again The Grog and Gruel is one of the few Lochaber entries. We have now been featured in the Good Beer Guide since 1995 as we continue to keep a great range of local cask ales from around the area. In order to get a mention in this "real ale enthusiasts hand book" requires a dedication to serving a continued range of top quality cask conditioned ales and for the last 15 years that's exactly what we've been doing.

As always our entry is written by our local CAMRA group. For us that is the Inverness based group. Although we'd like to be mentioned for our strong links with small local breweries, our menu of Local produce including Highland wild boar, Salmon and Aberdeen Angus steak... maybe even a mention of our very popular upstairs Restaurant or our 60+ Malt Whisky selection.. it seems that CAMRA choose to cherish some other features. As always our "church pew seating" is noted. Also for the first year Our webcam has had a mention which we had removed in 2000. Maybe someone got confused with our high speed customer WIFI service which we now offer?!

For anyone wanting to see The best pubs in the UK while travelling or to learn more about beers and your local breweries the Good Beer Guide is a must. Many a traveller arrives on our doorstep clutching a copy and using it to make an informed choice as to which Ale to try. Well worth a read and a copy is available for browsing in the Grog right now. Go have a read today !

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

We aim to please.

Its been another long season. Lots of good fun. Lots of hard work. So, as the season begins to slowly wind down for another year, now's probably a good time to reflect on things, and say a big thanks to one and all; our customers for helping keep the bank manager from pestering us all the time (and boy, does he want to at the moment!), and our staff, for working so hard and helping to make it all happen.

We don't do it for the thanks. Its more to do with the cash actually. But when we get a bit of positive feedback, although it doesn't pay the leccy bill, it does kind of make us feel all warm inside. Nice then to receive this on the email last week...


Hi there,

Just wanted to let you know that after lots of visits to Fort William over the years and numerous evenings in disappointing venues, I finally stumbled into the right pub on Saturday night.

Having just spent a wet week tramping and camping the West Highland Way, myself and my two brothers wandered, tired and footsore, into The Grog and Gruel. It was immediately obvious why the place was packed out. One look at the beers available at the bar and the food people with shovelling down and there was no chance we were going anywhere else.

Happily wrapped in a warm and comfortable proper pub, we indulged in excellent and well kept real ales in the bar as well as hearty food in the restaurant. The atmosphere was spot on and all of the staff were very friendly, helpful and welcoming. The girl running the restaurant on Saturday night was also entirely lovely in every way by the way,and had great taste in beers, which helps a lot.

Anyway, thanks for providing a great pub in a town that deserves at least one! Won't be long before I'm back - and when I am, I know where I'll be headed after a tiring day. I also know exactly where I'll be recommending to all my friends.


David Forbes



Thanks, David!

Monday, 8 September 2008

What's wrong with Daddy...?

Another Ben Nevis Race over! If you haven't run one then you might not understand the feeling. But you might have a good guess. Regardless of how much training and preparation you put in before hand (usually nowhere near enough in my case), the pressure of race day just gets to you. Maybe its the thought of the finish line. Invariably, flat out on the grass writhing about with cramp shooting through the legs, feeling like you've just done 10 rounds with a sumo wrestler, with your hands tied behind your back. Blindfolded. No wonder my children are now banned from the finish line. Too many, "What's wrong with daddy? Why is his face all green?" questions.

But not so this year. I actually had quite a good race, feeling vaguely human even at the end. Near perfect conditions for 2008 and a record number taking to the hill.

Still, another year over. And seems that I wasn't the only one who enjoyed the weekend. The restaurant at The Grog & Gruel was packed on Friday night with demand for Adam's homemade pasta reported to be high (worked for me!) and the Alehouse was jumping on Saturday evening with the Ben Race Ale lasting till very nearly the end of the session.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ben Nevis Race 2008

Not long now till the 2008 Ben Nevis Race. Some of us are in the final stages of training, fine tuning those highly trained muscles in preparation for 1pm on Saturday 6th September. And some of us are just starting our training, having realised that yet another summer has flashed past and we really ought to stretch those legs before race day.

The Grog & Gruel's long association with the Ben Nevis Race in Fort William will continue this year. No doubt the bar will be packed full of anxious looking wiry types wearing Ron Hills on Friday night, all looking for some carbo loading with our fresh pasta and perhaps a pint (but no more!) of our special Nevis Race Ale. Brewed especially for the occasion by our friends at the Isle of Skye Brewery, we reckon there'll be a few more pints sold on Saturday evening!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

WI-FI at The Grog

Recent years have seen people not wanting to be too far away friends, family, the mass media and the internet. As if mobile phones were not bad enough, giving rise to 'the crazy frog' and bad spelling and punctuation via text messaging. Now people wish to contact the internet via mobile phone or lap-top while on the move.

Now at The Grog and Gruel we have made this marvellous feat achievable. With our recently acquired 'WIFI box' and some super duper 'interweb connectors' people will be able to connect to emails, Utube, World of Warcraft while supping a pint of cask ale or cappucinno.

We have already had a great response to this installation. However I cant help thinking that the local alehouse used to be an escape from the fast pace of modern times. At least a trip to the locals hills and glens will provide the escape we still need.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Beer Festival Votes

Our Summer Ale Festival is now over and all that was left to do was count the votes for the favourite beer of the festival. We are used to seeing the usual favourites come out on top, Orkney Dark Island, Skye Red Cuillin, Atlas Latitude which have all been string contenders in the past.

This year however a new Ale and reached 'new heights' of popularity, Coming in as a new ale this summer to our range. Williams Brothers 7 Giraffes was a clear winner, head and neck above the rest. With an ABV of slightly over 5% it is much stronger than our usual favoured ales. Brewed by the Williams Brothers in Glasgow it adds a new taste sensation to the already superb ale range from this brewery including- Fraoch Heather Ale, Williams red, Williams Gold and Kelpie Seaweed ale to name few.

Although not always on tap, The 7 Giraffes will be available in the Grog and Gruel randomly. So it's always worth popping in to see what interesting brews are on right now. If you miss the 7 Giraffes there is always a great range of Williams Brothers Bottled Ales to be tasting.

We'll see you soon for a pint !!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

I say, I say, I say....

Here we go. Pub joke. Not too filthy. I little intellectual if anything! Can't claim ownership, but it made me snigger...

On his 60th birthday, a friend of mine received a gift certificate from his wife. The certificate paid for a visit to an Aboriginal witch doctor who was rumoured to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction. After much persuasion, he drove to the community clinic, handed his certificate to the witch doctor, wondering what was in store for him.

The old man slowly, methodically produced a potion, handed it to him and, with a grip on my friend's shoulder warned, 'Dis powerful medicine and must be respected. You take only a teaspoonful and then say '1-2-3.' When you do that, you will be longer and harder than you have ever been in your life and you can perform as long as you want.'

Much encouraged my friend walked away then turned and asked, 'How do I stop the medicine from working?'

'Your wife must say '1-2-3-4,' the witch doctor replied. 'But when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon.

Eager to see if it worked, my friend hurried home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom. When she came in, he took off his clothes and said, '1-2-3!'

Immediately, he was the manliest of men.

His wife was excited as well and began throwing off her clothes and then she asked, 'What was the 1-2-3 for?'

And that, boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition!

Are you a friend of Nevis?

Its that time of year again when the slopes of Ben Nevis get a real pounding. This weekend saw various groups (as in dozens of mini buses) arrive in town and take on the challenge of 'the Ben', with many going on to do the '3 peaks' in 24 hours. The weather was generally very kind again (lots and lots of that recently!) and so hopefully everyone had a great 5 or 6 hours on Britain's highest.

I would get all pompous about it and say the challenge of the 3 peaks is as much about the driving as it is about the peaks - Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowdon... but the only reason I know this is because I've done it too! A few years ago I might add. And I'll be dashing up and down the Ben often enough this summer in preparation for the Ben Nevis Race on 6th September.

So instead, we'll keep on fundraising for the Friends Of Nevis
(see our blog entry 14th May) And we're pleased to note that it hasn't taken long to raise £54 at The Grog & Gruel, Fort William's favourite pub and restaurant, with similar amounts coming from the collections at Clachaig Inn, Glencoe.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Fort William MTB World Cup

Another hectic weekend at The Grog & Gruel this weekend as up to 20,000 mountain bike fans descend on the town for the 2008 Fort William round of the Mountain Bike World Cup.

We caught the action on a hot sunny Sunday afternoon as the finals of the downhill event got the crowds roaring. Once again, the event atmosphere was fantastic. And once again, good to see Steve Peat wining and dining in the Grog over the course of the weekend. Sales of our 'Fat Tyre Ale', courtesy of the Isle of Skye Brewery, and Peaty Malt Whisky, our little homage to the winner of 14 previous World Cup downhills. Perhaps Steve had a Grog Dog too many as he could only manage 3rd this year!

Despite the Fort William crowd having adopted Steve as one of their own, it was great to see several other 'local' riders doing so well, including a stunning 8th for young Scottish rider Ben Cathro, and a great result for Fort William rider Joe Barnes. See y'all again next year?

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The all new Grog Mug Display

Ok. So I got the camera out this time, instead of the phone, put the mugs on a whisky shelf and took this one. Any better?

What do you reckon. A bright future in window dressing awaits?!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The all new Grog Mug

Get 'em while they're hot - and all such sales speak. We've just taken delivery of our brand new Grog & Gruel branded coffee (or tea) mug. Yours for a mere £4.95.

Ok, so its a rubbish photo. I just got one out of the box and took a photo on my phone so what do you expect. David bl*%dy Bailey or something. I mean, I've only just had a phone a wee while too and I don't really know how that works either. Why can't they just make phones that you ring people on anyway.

But we digress. No matter how rubbish the photo is, our brand new mugs are wonderful. They've got a nice big picture of Horace on it, just remind you not to be a complete pig (as is he) when dunking your 12th chocolate hob nob into your coffee.

Now available at all good Grog & Gruel outlets near you. And we'll even post one to you but that might cost a pound or two to cover the postage. Plus, we've just taken delivery of loads more of the t-shirts in Heather Grey and Polo Shirts in black or navy so all sizes should now beavailable.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Open Mic night.. Wed 28th May

In 2007 In the Grog we launched our open mic nights. These are free form evenings and hosted by Ian Stretch MacFadyen. Open Mic means that we allow customers to have a go at performing in The Grog and Gruel to amuse the customers and their friends. Obviously This takes a brave man to control and "Stretch" was happy to take the challenge. Stretch has a lot of experience in various styles of music and drives all the way from Edinburgh in order to MC what has been described as "more ‘voices in their heads’ than ‘stars in their eyes’"

Over the past year we have seen it all. From beat boxing Welshmen to German poetry with a lot of other craziness on the way. I was very surprised by just how many folk were interested in having a go. I had to stop our own barman Nick from performing his spoken word version of Cher’s "if I could turn back time"

Our next open mic night is only a few weeks away. On Wednesday 28th of May and We’d love you to be a part of it. We are open to most kind of performers. All we ask is to be entertained. Is it time to dust off that old banjo in the cupboard?? Try to remember how to finger Greensleeves on the recorder??

In June as part of our Beer festival, and a year on from our first open mic night, we will host our annual final with a prize of £50 for the winner. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges including Stretch and our very own Simon Cowel.. Neil The manager.

Nights Well Worth a Visit.

Mid Summer Beer Festival

Plans for the Mid-Summer Beer Festival are coming along nicely. Our new flier pretty much says it all for now, so why not have a quick browse.

Meanwhile, we're busy speaking to breweries, adding beer to sausage recipes and trying to think of some really good questions for the quiz. In fact, why is 7 Giraffes called 7 Giraffes?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Friends Of Nevis

Nothing quite like a great pint after a hard day trekking up and down Ben Nevis!

Well, happy as we are to Britain's highest mountain on our doorstep it does tend to get a bit of a hammering every year. So here's your chance to join the Friends of Nevis and help to support and manage Ben Nevis and the surrounding Nevis area.

The Nevis Partnership have recently established the Friends of Nevis web site - so why not take a peek just now.

This precious and unique environment includes mountains, wild land, glen and river Nevis and a range of visitor facilities such as a visitor centre and numerous low and higher level walks.

Ben Nevis and its surroundings mean a great deal to a large number of people from all over the world. Protecting the area, whilst making it accessible and pleasurable to visit, is a real challenge and Friends of Nevis can help through subscribing, donating or contributing time and resources on a range of practical projects such as path maintenance, wildlife monitoring, fundraising etc.

Photo courtesy of Friends of Nevis

And when next at The Grog & Gruel, you can throw your loose change into our bar top collection boxes, or perhaps buy a branded 'Friends of Nevis' trolley token.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Mountain Bike World Cup

Not long now till the Mountain Bike World Cup comes back to Fort William. Expect to see lots of lycra clad types wondering round a forest near you over the weekend of the 6th - 8th June. As ever, the full programme and lots of info is on the web site at

Having caught the 4X (That's four cross to you non bikers) last year I can thoroughly recommend it. Great atmosphere and as its in the (Friday) evening you don't need to spend all day. Having said that, the Cross Country on Saturday and the Downhill on Sunday are also crackin' events. Its all highly recommended, even for non bikers.

Naturally, The Grog & Gruel will be welcoming all biker types. We've ordered some more Fat Tyre Ale which was a huge hit at the World Championships last year. And we may yet have some more of the exclusive Peaty Malt, our very special homage to the man himself.

And finally, a picture of someone mountain biking...

Friday, 2 May 2008

Blowing stuff up!

So, let loose in Fort William with a couple of sticks of Acme Dynamite what would you choose? No, on second thoughts don't answer that one. Instead, watch this short piece courtesy of YouTube which shows the former power house at the old Paper Mill meeting its maker.

The site at Corpach is being cleared, allowing the expansion of the neighbouring BSW Sawmill. After the demolition on Monday, and having been up high on Nevis Range on Wednesday, I have to say that there's something very odd about the view towards the Corpach narrows now. Something's definitely missing!

Cafes and cakes

Nothing quite like a bracing bit of exercise amidst some spectacular scenery to work up an appetite for a cracking cup of coffee and a gooey cake. But where to find such delights? Here's a quick plug for a new web site to help you on your way.

Check out Cafe Days to help find a cafe. Its not perfect. Cozy Knits at Strontian isn't even listed! But anything that helps track down caffeine and calories has to be worth a mention in my book. And if you can't be bothered with that, just work up a thirst and pop along to The Grog & Gruel for a coffee or a pint and a plate of Nachos!

(And yes, the picture is in France. But surprisingly enough I haven't got any photos of me eating cake at Crafts & Things and it does get the Ben & Jerry's and fresh air message across I think.)

Friday, 18 April 2008

Summer Beer Festival

Here's a date for your diaries. What better way to mark the passing of midsummer than with a good ol' Summer Beer Festival. So, expect to find a bigger-than-usual selection of Scotland's finest from Thursday 19th June through until the closing night on Saturday 28th June.

The range of cask conditioned ales at The Grog & Gruel varies continuously, depending on how busy we expect to be and which brewers are delivering to our area at the time. However, you can usually expect to see from 4 to 8 beers on the bar at any one time, and you can pretty much guarantee that they'll all be brewed not only in Scotland, but mostly in the Highlands & Islands (That'll be McTetley's then!?)

During Summerfest (yes, we're still working on the name) we'll be doing a whole lot better than that, with perhaps the biggest and best range of Scottish ales in prime condition on show this side of, er... Glencoe.

On with the planning... More details to follow.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Scottish Six Day Trials

I was out running in the wilds at the back of Kinlochleven the other night, making the most of some of the fantastic dry and bright evenings we've had of late, and came across a few of these things...

Not long now till the West End car park will be taken over by a few hundred of these and the associated circus that comes with the Scottish Six Day Trials. The annual event runs from Monday 5th May through till Saturday 10th May, with the classic Pre '65s in Kinlochleven over the first weekend.

Hope the weather holds, as the Lochaber countryside is looking great in the sunshine and snow. And if you're following the trial and need a bit of sustenance each evening, The Grog & Gruel will of course be happy to help keep you going!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Tell us what you think

We think you like what we do. Occasionally, you'll tell us. Occasionally, we'll even ask you. And besides, we've been around long enough to know what you want and how to give it to you. But perhaps that's just not even of we're being really serious about things.

So we've decided to ask you more formally. From time to time, expect to be asked if you'd like to complete one of our new feedback forms. Don't expect the Spanish Inquisition (no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition). Instead expect a simple form on which you can very quickly rate us on a variety of headings, and we've even left room for your comments if you'd like to add these too.
We've already had a whole load of these returned and we're very encouraged by the results. Lots of goods and excellents and very little of the others. And the comments have varied from the recipe for our sausages through to the nice ear rings as worn by your favourite waitress.

We might even bring you a more formal review of the results in due course. But if you'd like to be heard, ask for a form when you're next in, or better still, click on the image and print your own!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Upgrade the A82 - Sign the ePetition

Whether local resident or a one-time visitor to the area then chances are you've been on the A82 recently. And chances are you've either been shaken like a cocktail or scared silly, or both. The route runs between Glasgow and Inverness, and for those of us who live and work in the West Highlands its our artery to the rest of the world. And as such, and with its trunk road status, you'd think it would be a pretty good road? Well, maybe an OK road, then?

The truth is no its not. Its a terrible road in a terrible condition. The last major spend on the road was about 80 years ago - here's a photo! Unfortunately the road is a little busier than it was in those days and the trucks are a bit bigger too. I could go on - but just drive it if you're skeptical.

And its not going to get any better. Congestion, vehicle damage, accidents - many fatal, a barrier to economic development... Because there's no political will to change it. Unlike the A9. Now we're not generally political campaigners, but if there's one petition that you should sign in your life its this one. Sign the ePetition to the Scottish Parliament before 4th April and make your voice heard.

Just 4 days since it was launched and there's already 1029 names on the list!

Also check out the A82 campaign web site.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Organic Whisky??

In the current times of "genetically modified this" and "intensely farmed that" it is nice to see that there are many products which are selling themselves on authenticity and high standard production. You might be thinking that surely whisky production is going to be one area which has been left the way it was always done. This however is not the case.

One distillery which seems to appreciate customers interest in organic production is Benromach. Benromach organic whisky has been available for the last couple of years. Hand produced by just two men at speyside's smallest working distillery, it is Scotland's only organic whisky and is fully certified by the soil association. This means the whole process – raw ingredients, distillation, maturation and bottling – is certified organic to the rigorous standards set by the Soil Association.

Using pure spring water from the nearby Romach Hills and the finest Scottish organic barley and organic yeast, Benromach Organic is made by experienced distillers, personally ensuring only the highest quality spirit is filled into hand selected virgin American oak casks.The virgin American oak casks are made of wood from environmentally managed forests. Only when the spirit has matured to the highest quality standard is it bottled as Benromach Organic Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

This whisky will be featured in March 2008 at the Grog n Gruel for the amazing price of £1.99 per 25ml. A great opportunity to taste this unique dram

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Humpff at the Grog !!

It was about ten years ago at the tented music festival at the BA club when I first met John Coletta. At that time he was playing as part of the "Humpff Family" performing a great selection of his own unique songs with a great musical line up. Since then we kept in touch and about five years ago we were able to bring a touch of "humpff" back to the Fort.

In between writing new material, teaching and his many other commitments John Coletta will be performing at the Grog on a monthly basis starting on March the 6th. With his own brand of thigh slapping bluegrass mandolin, skilfully crafted songs and his own version of some of todays chart toppers, this is an act not to be missed.

If you have not had a chance to hear any of the material by John then click this link to browse his myspace site for streaming audio and CD details or much better pop into the Grog on March 6th for our great selection of cask ale and The best selection of malt whisky for miles around accompanied by one of Scotlands best kept musical secrets.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Open Mike Night

Karaoke? At The Grog & Gruel? Surely not!

As with all things Grog & Gruel, we do it all a bit differently. Tuesday 19th February sees the return of Iain 'Stretch' MacFadyen and his open mike (should that be 'mic'?) night. Its a bit more tasteful than a karaoke night. If you're a closet folkie and fancy entertaining the masses, simply join Stretch 'on stage' and get on with it. If music isn't your thing then perhaps a bit of comedy, or poetry, in a So I Married an Axe Murderer stylee might be in order.

And in the event that you're all a bit bashful and shy, Stretch will be filling in with some western swing and traditional country classics for your listening pleasure.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Chicken Out

So, which are you? Two for a fiver or free range? Yes, the recent TV debate over the chicken that we eat led by Hugh Fearnley-Doublebarrelledverylongname has got us all talking chicken here at the Grog. Do we really care about the quality of the chicken we eat? For, as we now know, not all chicken is the same.

Free Clipart Photo of a Child in a Chicken Suit for Halloween

Whilst we're rather proud of the quality of the vast majority of our ingredients - our boar, our salmon, our venison, our black pudding, our beef... we're not as bold about the quality of our chicken. That said, we don't use battery chicken and we do ensure that it meets our quality standards as a product. What we don't do is buy Scottish - there's not that much of it about, and we don't buy free range.

So, the debate of the moment is should we? Inevitably, free range chicken will cost more. So the cost of your quesadilla or your Cajun chicken dish will cost more. Will it pass the taste test? We're doing a bit of research to try and put some real facts and figures together on this. In the meantime, we need to hear your opinion on this.

Did we tell you that we do use free range eggs, though?

Friday, 25 January 2008


Its raining, its dark outside and you've just got the credit card bill for the Christmas shopping... Well, here's some more depressing news to add to your troubles, and ours.

According to the British Beer & Pub Association, the average price of a pint will reach £4 this year due to rising beer production and distribution costs. We've just had our first increase notification from the Atlas and Orkney Breweries and with prices set to increase by 7.5% it looks like the BBPA might well have a point. And the situation isn't going to be helped by the news that energy companies are announcing energy cost increases of up to 15%. And don't even get us started on the ridiculous new licensing arrangements...

Monday, 21 January 2008

More Mojo from Franz Ferdinand

So, why do we now have a blog I wonder? 'Cos everyone else has got one perhaps? Hmm, good start but since when has The Grog & Gruel given a monkey's what everyone else is doing. Err.. because 'The Grog' is more than just a pub and there's always stacks of stuff going on, tales to tell, rants to go off on and exciting and interesting people passing through our doors? Yeah, that's it. I knew there was a better answer to that most mundane of questions.

Give me a 'for example' I hear you ask? Well for starters, there was that visit from Franz Ferdinand the other month that ended up with a write up in Mojo magazine which mentioned The Grog & Gruel as much as it did the gig they were in town to play.

So there you go. If you want to mix it up with the rich and famous, then you know where to head. Can't promise that Alex Kapranos, or for that matter Mel Gibson will be propping up the bar when you visit but there again, the customers who did pop in and find them there probably thought the same thing!