I’ve been extremely fortunate to have enjoyed a pint or two and lunch at the Golfer’s Corner Lounge Bar at the Dunvegan Hotel in the village of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Dubbed “The Dunny” by locals, the bar is set just 112 yards from the 18th green of the Old Course, this warm and welcoming pub is a must stop if you’re teeing up anywhere in the area.
The owners are Jack and Sheena Willoughby, a married couple who know a little bit about pubs and roadhouses. Jack, a fourth generation Texan from Liberty, Texas, is a former salesman for a Houston drilling equipment company. Sheena hails from Forfar in the county of Angus in Scotland. They acquired the Dunvegan Hotel in 1994.
My most recent visit was during Ryder Cup 2014 week. On the Tuesday before the matches at Gleneagles, I took a train from Edinburgh.
Following some sightseeing, I sat on the steps overlooking the 18th green and first tee watching the moveable feast of golfers playing the Old Course. If Disney is the “happiest place on earth” for kids, make no mistake, the Old Course is the same for devoted golfers.
A couple of hours later (one can only watch so many bad tee shots on the opening hole and long putts racing by the hole on No. 18 green) I headed to the Dunvegan Hotel for a frosty one.
I sauntered up the bar, took a seat, and ordered a Tenants.
The guy drinking next to me was a caddie at the Old Course.
For the next hour or so, Bruce, a looper for more than three decades at golf’s most legendary course, detailed great stories about nervous Americans dribbling tee shots, big tippers and celebrities.
Lots of caddies hang out at “The Dunny” and I learned from the bartender that Bruce was one of their best regulars. In fact, they start pouring his pint the instant they see him walking by the large window on Golf Place street from the Old Course.
The walls and ceiling are covered with more than 150 prints chronicling the Open Championship and countless photos of celebrity golfers and as well as regular customers who love the place. Among the celebs with pictures on the wall are LPGA star Paula Creamer and basketball coach icon Bobby Knight.
There are also five flat screen televisions positioned strategically so you can watch sports events in between sips.
THE FOOD AND DRINK
The menu is eclectic with local favorites like fish n’ chips and steak pie and American classics like chili, nachos, chicken wings and burgers. My favorite is the fish n’ chips, which are made from fresh fish that’s delivered every morning.
If you’ve just played golf on a cold, windy, rainy day and you need something warm to lift your spirits, order the bowl of chili, which is prepared in a classic American style.
Whether you sauntered into “The Dunny” to celebrate the greatest round of your life or you want to drown your sorrows after countless three putts, you’ll find lots of beers, ales, spirits and more than 50 whiskies to do the job.
There are thousands of pubs in Scotland, but only one “Dunny”. The unique background of the owners and their desire to incorporate both Scottish and Texas influences makes this place a must stop on your visit to St. Andrews.