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' !!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Quiz night results

Another great evening of cask ale and intellectual jousting at The Grog and Gruel last night as another quiz night was held as part of our Easter Ale Festival. Quiz mistress Dr Jacqui Hill was hosting the evening and, after a few half pints of ale and a Wild Boar Chilli, she was in fine form. We had 10 teams in all, including last years winners and reigning champions "The Guessers" and a team of about 12 students from Lochaber College.

So.. what did we learn?? Well, The teletubby with the hat is Dipsy, A laxton Superb is an apple NOT a laxative,and Elvis Presley was did infact die at age 42 and is NOT still alive. Well done to all those who took part especially to the winners "The Guessers", runners up "Trumpton Fire Brigade" and a special round of applause for the 12 Lochaber college students who came in 3rd place (even after trying to use mobiles to get answers)

Our next quiz night will be held as part of our mid summer ale festival.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Opening Up or Closing Down ??

How can you tell it is getting into the busier trade season in Fort William? Judging by the snow it's certainly not the warmer weather. The easiest way is to look for the shops which open for the season with closing down sales. Like a blot on the landscape.

Everyday of every month of every year there is some kinda of sale on. I too find it hard to understand. Opening a business with damaged stock seems like a very poor business decision. In some small way I suppose its better than having another empty premises, but not by much. So far they have not stuck balloons on the front of the building, which only make it look worse. For anyone wanting to buy quality outdoor equipment (undamaged) in Fort William Ellis Brigham and Nevisport are well worth a visit.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Grog Gifts

Having sold out (such is demand!) we've been without any of our much loved Grog & Gruel t-shirts for a few weeks now. However, all that changes this next week as the new stock is due for delivery very soon.

We've made a couple of small changes to our design for this batch, the first such change in 16 years. We've replicated the colour logo on the front left breast for a bit of extra impact and added in our web address just in case you forget it. And if you find yourself lost and can't remember where you live they can always post you back to us as our address is now on the sleeve.

Now taking orders at the bargain basement price of just £9.75

Grog fans can also indulge themselves with one of our navy blue polo shirts with embroidered Grog & Gruel logo for that smart understated look, or buy a coffee mug for that highly caffinated traditional hot drink receptacle.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Could ale be good for you ?

Researchers have found recently that beer, in particular light ales, contains a substance that boosts bones and could mean they are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis. The finding, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, backs up previous research which also showed that the drink was good at fending off brittle bones – especially in women. Silicon which is present in pale ales from the high volume of hops is responsible and may have other health benefits.
As we move, slowly, from winter into spring the number of lighter ales on sale increases here at the Grog and Gruel as customers look for a lighter, refreshing session ale. So good news for all our ale drinkers. Now you can remove guilt from a trip to the pub as you fend of brittle bones with a trip to your favorite award winning cask ale house.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Lochaber's Favourite Watering Hole

A big thanks to all the CAMRA members who have recently voted for The Grog and Gruel to be crowned winner of the Fort William and Lochaber Pub of the year 2010. Although we are regular winners, every year there are more folk selling cask ale which makes the competition even tougher. As far as we at The Grog and Gruel are concerned the CAMRA good beer guide is the bible for ale drinkers and awards given by CAMRA are the only ones to be taken seriously.
Our formula for success has never changed. Take only the highest quality local cask ale(and the odd cask of Tetley's..(I do like the odd pint of Tetley's), treat it with love and care and sell it in relaxed, comfortable friendly surroundings. Nice to see our customers agree with our philosophy and chose to vote us winners again. We have a great line up of local, seasonal cask ales over the next few weeks, there is no better time to visit the award winning Grog and Gruel.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Open Mic Night !!

We're always being asked when we at The Grog and Gruel will be having another open mic night. Although bands and live music are easy to organise open mic nights are not so easy. It requires a very reliable and talented host able to accompany people when required as they perform and to gloss over those performances we would rather forget.

Luckily on Thursday March 4th we have a date with a great performer and Host "Ian Stretch MacFadyen" who will not only be performing some cracking western swing but also letting members of the public perform. We usually get a great turn out and a good few performers, like our London beat box fellow, and the German poet and of course many great rock ballads from Ryan "skelf" McFall. So come along on March 4th to see open the musical pandoras box that is open mic night. I'll even give a free gift to folk who give us a performance.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Visit Fort William

Go on! You know you want to!

A cracking advert! Have a quick peek at this short promotional video clip. What a cracking advert for the place!

For more information check out the Outdoor Capital of the UK web site and the Fort William Film Festival, coming your way very soon.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


Happened to be browsing the Mountain Bike tabloids, scanning the bike porn for more sexy (and very expensive) bits of kit that are a must have for all avid bikers, when I came across another little feature on The Grog & Gruel's favourite World Champion, Steve Peat. Check out the digital magazine here and pay particular attention to the bottle of malt on the spread over pages 5 & 6.

We thought it would be a little fun to create a Peaty Malt in homage to our hero when the World Championships came to Fort William a couple of seasons ago.

Apart from Nick's rather embarrassing spelling of the word 'Whisky', it turned out a treat! Unfortunately it didn't inspire Steve to put in a win on home ground. Cheer Steve on when the Mountain Bike World Cup come back to Fort William later in 2010.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

West Highland Way Gains a Mile !

People travel to Fort William for many reasons, mostly to take part in some kind of outdoor activity in the wonderful natural surroundings in and around Lochaber. One of the most popular activities is walking and by far the most popular route is the West Highland Way. For those who don't know the West Highland Way is a 95 mile walk from Milngalvie, North of Glasgow, to Fort William. The walk uses old Drovers paths, military roads and coaching routes to take you through some of the most spectacular scenery Scotland has to offer.
Since its official opening in 1980 the walk was 95 miles and terminated at a roundabout at the end of Glen Nevis about a mile out of Fort William. Not the best end to a hard 95 mile walk. So, after many meetings and discussions, the end of the West Highland Way has moved 1 mile to terminate at the end of Fort William High Street at Gordon Square (pictured here on a cold January morning). Not only is this a much more central location for the 85,000 walkers who use the path every year but also leaves you seconds away from The Grog and Gruel and a hearty welcome. We think this will prove to be a great move and when the "iconic feature" is unveiled for Gordon Square I'm sure you'll agree.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Japanese Whisky ?

With over 70 bottles of single malt whisky on the shelves at The Grog and Gruel, we try to feature whisky from every area available. As whisky gets a lot of its flavour from the water of the area it is produced in, regional variations give each whisky a distinct unique flavour. We have a couple bottles of Irish whisky hidden away for those who wish to drink whisky from our celtic cousins and now we have a Japanese whisky available also.

single malt whisky is made from the purest natural ingredients distilled through the art of Japanese craftsmanship in perfect harmony with nature. The whiskies are handcrafted at Japan’s oldest distillery, built by Suntory founder Shinjiro Torii in 1923. The distillery is situated in the Vale of Yamazaki on the outskirts of Kyoto, an ideal environment for whisky production where the same exceptionally pure waters used in Japan’s most esteemed tea ceremonies are used to produce YAMAZAKI whiskies.

So if you are looking for a good dram in Fort William, The Grog and Gruel is the place to go. Choose from our massive selection of great Scottish whisky or for something more unusual, why not try Japanese whisky?? Maybe one day we'll be brave enough to stock English whisky too (but probably not :))

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Fort William Mountain Festival 2010

The big freeze is here. Fort William is covered is frosty snow and Scottish skiing conditions haven't been so good for years. Attention is being turned to the winter mountain sports like skiing and sledging (when I was young it was plastic animal feed bags instead of sledges, sore on the bum but a much greater sense of danger). So just a quick reminder to folk that Fort William will be hosting it's annual Mountain Festival from February 11th - 15th.

Although this is a festival for those with a keen interest in the outdoors, most of the lectures, workshops and events are entertaining for anyone and well worth supporting. A full list of events can be found here. You'll also find events to keep the children amused. Over the past few years Fort William Mountain festival has made a great reputation for itself.

Hopefully you'll find something at the festival you'll find interesting and maybe pop into The Grog and Gruel for a pre-event meet up or post event discussion. I hope I'll get a chance to see some of the festival myself