OLD BLACKFRIARS, 52 CASTLE STREET
This is an ancient pub near Aderdeen’s Mercat Cross. It is a lovely place with old brick walls, wooden ceiling beams and a good atmosphere. Possibly has the squeakiest door in the universe. It has been voted the Campaign For Real Ale regional pub of the year a few times, and offers a good range of real ales.
MA CAMERON’S, LITTLE BELMONT STREET
A tremendous old pub. Inside it is huge, with many areas obviously added on over the years, but the two tiny rooms in the original building are a delight. One has a small bar, and the other is a very relaxing snug with a small hatchway opening into the bar. A couple of real ales are available, including one from The Inveralmond Brewery in Perth.
SLAINS CASTLE, 14-18 BELMONT STREET
I would not normally mention such a place, as there is no real ale available, but if you’re in the area it’s worth sticking your head in the door for a peek. The pub is constructed inside a church, and interior decoration is of the Haunted Castle variety. If you’re fond of ghost trains at carnivals, you’ll like it in here.
McGINTY’S MEAL AN’ ALE, 504 UNION STREET
A superb modern pub with small intimate booths, soft leather seating, and their own ale: ‘McGinty’s Ale’, as brewed by the Inveralmond Brewery in Perth and said to be ‘as smooth as a pig’s nose!’ They proclaim to offer ‘Food, Ale An’ A Richt Guid Blether’. It can be hard having yer blether when all the televisions are on (I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many TVs in the one place), but the booth area near the door is more secluded and quite atmospheric with warm lighting, dark wood, and mirrors.
PRINCE OF WALES, ST NICHOLAS LANE
Located just off Aberdeen’s Union Street, this is a fine pub, first established in 1850. The walls are festooned with brewery mirrors from now-vanished Scottish breweries, like Usher’s and McEwan’s, and the inside still feels Victorian with a long wooden counter. They have their very own ale: ‘Prince of Wales Ale’, as brewed by Inveralmond.