The eagle eyed amongst you might notice that this isn’t strictly an original post. I originally wrote it for the Visit St Andrews blog (which can be viewed here) but thought I might put it on here for those who haven’t seen it elsewhere.
A dog barking brings me slowly brings me back from gazing down the street – or more accurately, from day dreaming – and the realisation hits me that I am actually at the pub for a purpose. I’m sitting outside in the sun outside The Central, slowly drinking one of the pints sitting glistening in the sun on the table in between my friend and I. The purpose is not drinking, of course, it is thinking of what I should say about my favourite pub. This then is a research trip – although admittedly a lot more fun than a lot of the research I did as a student.
The Central, as the name might suggest, is located right in the heart of St Andrews, about two thirds of the way up Market Street, at the crossroads between Market, College and Church Streets, and it is quite possibly my favourite watering-hole in town.
The pub itself is what one might describe as very traditional. The lower parts of the walls and the bar are glad in dark wood, and the upper walls are a deep red colour and adorned with large mirrors from an old brewery. It is not ultra-modern with huge amounts of space and a pull down screen for showing the football; it is the sort of place that has the tables round the outer walls, and a large bar in the centre of the room (they also have TVs in the corners for those wishing to watch sport). It is where you go for a good pint.
It also does not matter what time of year you pay a visit to The Central, because it will always feel warm welcoming – whether you are a local, student, lecturer or visitor; whether you are a regular or there for the first time. In the summer they have tables and chairs out on the pavement where you can while away your time in the sun; or in the winter you can hide from the wind and the snow, taking advantage of the cosy booths, or sit nearer the fireplace.
I think one of the best things here is the sheer range of drinks on offer. It doesn’t matter if you are in the mood for a pint of beer, a pint of ale, a malt whisky, a G&T, or something entirely different they always have a fine selection from favourites – such as Guinness or Deuchars IPA – to the more unusual guest ales which change on a regular basis (at time of writing I believe they have ‘Edinburgh Gold’ and ‘Bitter and Twisted’). If you are more looking for whisky or spirits, their bottles just about fit on the column in the centre of the bar, such is the range in stock – if you’re not sure what you’re after, just ask one of the ever-friendly, helpful staff who I have no doubt will be able to help (I would recommend PImm’s or Sloe Gin, if you can’t make up your mind and don’t fancy a pint).
Something else I love about the place is the food that they serve. It would probably best summed up by something along the lines of ‘traditional British pub grub’, and whether you are there for lunch, a quick snack or a full meal you are sure to find something to wet your apatite. They serve everything from toasted sandwiches and baked potatoes to more substantial meals such as fish and chips, a variety of burgers and several kinds of pies. There are also seasonal specials (in both food and drink), so look out for them on the blackboards and the menu.
As a note of caution though, I would point out that due to license restrictions no under 18s are allowed on the premises, so if you have them in tow, you’ll have to tie them up outside with the dog.
The diversity in the people you will see around the bar on any given evening is a testament to how much people love this pub. The relaxed atmosphere is almost always filled with the sound of laughter and clinking glasses making it a favourite haunt for many in town. I love The Central for the range of drinks on offer, the happy, helpful service, the ability to sit down, relax and have a laugh with a few mates (and often stay much longer than intended). Basically, I’m quite a fan, so if you are wandering down the road looking for somewhere to go I’d suggest you look no further.
Hope you enjoyed it, if so you might like other posts on the Visit St Andrews blog (the link’s at the top of this post).