The start to our North Coast 500 trip had to be special. The NC500 is all about the road trip and the experiences along the way and that includes all the pit stops. As such, the starting point was very important and we needed something that would perfectly underline the journey we were about to embark on.
That was exactly what the Black Isle Bar turned out to be. It was a nice place to put to action all the planning of the previous few months and here are all the reasons why the Black Isle Bar is an excellent starting point to an epic NC500 trip. Many people start the tour at Inverness and I recommend you stay here.
Homely But Exciting Ambience:
Starting on a trip like the NC500 brings with it a nervy feeling. As such, the ambience at our starting point had to be soothing and calming while also being fresh and exciting. That is exactly how we felt walking into the Black Isle Bar. This place is in the city centre and we were taken aback by the amount of space available.
Unlike city bars that place a premium on space, the Black Isle Bar felt really freeing and was a great precursor to the trip that was to follow. The lighting and the mood of the place combine to form a fitting atmosphere. The furniture is all done tastefully too. It isn’t too sombre and neither is it too loud. It just puts you in the exact frame of mind you would want to relax and enjoy some refreshments with friends.
However, the main plus point of the Black Isle Bar is there own organic brewed beers. There are more beers than any one person could dare sample in one sitting. They are all brewed locally and are often rotated to keep fresh flavours moving in to try.
During our stay, we sampled a selection of the beers and were impressed with the organic range available.
They say that some of the best things in life come along as a surprise. The Black Isle Bar is known for there range of beers, but also have some of the most delicious pizzas we have ever had. There is something about wood-fired pizza that makes them special and while pizza might seem like a heavy indulgence on a road trip, you simply can’t say no once you have seen one come out of the oven.
It is not just the wood-firing aspect that makes these pizzas so delicious but it is also the use of authentic and local ingredients which meant that we got to sample the local delicacies surrounding the NC500 route even before the journey actually started. Good food is one of those things that can improve anyone’s mood and the pizzas at Black Isle Bar enhanced the mood that had already been created by the ambience here. The range of pizza is splendid and people with all kinds of dietary preferences can enjoy an exquisite pizza without any worries.
Cosy, Practical and Highly Economical Rooms
The ambience was similar to the one we found at the bar, but with the homely aspect dialled up a bit. At a very reasonable price, we got comfortable rooms that could sleep three people without them feel crowded. The amenities were a bit on the basic side but more than adequate for the price you pay.
In fact, this would turn out to be one of the best deals that we would get for accommodation during the entire length of our trip. We chose the private bar rooms but those of you who are a bit more adventurous can try the farmhouse or the Sheperd’s hut for a truly authentic and exciting stay.
Black Isle Brewery – An Organic Brewery Full of Pride:
We took the time to visit and tour the Black Isle Brewery which is around 15 minutes north of the bar and on the route of the NC500. The word organic is used a bit too liberally these days but the Black Isle Brewery is organic in the truest form of the word. We were surprised to find out that many of the beers popularly sold around the country are brewed right here.
The people at Black Isle Bar are incredibly proud of their beers and rightfully so. This is the first tour of a brewery I have done, but I found the one organised by the Black Isle Bar to be quite fun, educational and interesting.
The fact that you could sample different varieties of organic beer certainly helped a lot in this matter if you find one you like there are plenty of bottled beers ready to be purchased and taken home. Learn more about the tour here.
It is worth noting that they also offer the official NC500 beer, so it is almost essential that you drop in and pick up a couple of beers for your journey.