Of course, it’s during my last week in Melbourne that I discover the only Scottish bar in the city. Highlander Bar, located in Highlander Lane of all places, is in the heart of Melbourne. On paper, it’s everything you would want from a Scottish Bar. Scottish food, beer, whiskey, decor etc. I was so excited to go I barely ate anything all day. I was going to stuff my face of all the goodies from back home.
The exterior is as unassuming as you would expect. Walking into the lane, all you can see is the lit up sign that says ‘BAR’. It’s not until you reach the entrance that you see the name. I liked that it wasn’t all decked out in Scotland flags and tartan. While that would have been funny, it was nice that it was just a cool looking place that you could chill out and enjoy some good old Tennants Lager.
We arrived right on time for the chef to go on his break, so we ordered our drinks and took some menus to fawn over until the kitchen reopened. I was expecting there to be a full Scottish fry-up on offer, but the food was more of a fancy twist on Scottish classics. Haggis, Black Pudding, Tattie Scones and Irn Bru to name a few.
To my utter dismay, they were all out of Tattie Scones. What Scottish bar doesn’t have a never ending supply of Tattie Scones? (If you don’t know what tattie scones are oh my goodness you are missing out! Get yourself over to Scotland pronto!) I settled with MAc and Cheese and my friend got Haggis and potatoes. The food was nice, it was presented really well. But it didn’t blow me away. It also didn’t break the bank which was good. I thought the food at a kind of gimmicky place would be extortionate.
On their cocktail list, right at the bottom, was a Vodka Irn Bru. Not much of a cocktail but hey what can you do. I ordered that just to have my first taste of Irn Bru in 5 months, but guess what? THEY WERE ALL OUT! Honestly at this point is it even really Scottish bar if they are all out of the Scottish stuff? Okay I’m kidding and slightly over reacting. It is understandable that finding Scottish produce is not the easiest in Australia. And they don’t really need to be stocked up for a Tuesday evening. My heart just broke a bit after I had gotten my hopes up all day.
I think my favourite thing about Highlander Bar was the decor. They nailed it. It felt exactly like a pub up in the highlands some where (I have just read this back and had a good chuckle) They had big comfy booths rather than rickety wooden tables and chairs. The decorations and ornaments were all very old school.
While it was rather quiet when we went, Highlander Bar has both the downstairs bar area aswell as an upstairs function area. I guess maybe both are open at the weekends when it’s busier? It was nice to hear all the Scottish accents, obviously from other travellers that came to enjoy a slice of home. The has a wide selection of Scottish Whiskeys, which are apparently hard to come by over here. I’m not much of a whiskey drinker so don’t quote me on that. They, of course, have Tennants on draft as well as bottles of Brew Dog and Innes and Gun.
All in all, aside from the missing Scottish delicacies, Highlander Bar is a really cool place. We just chilled out there for hours in the comfy booth, enjoying an old school playlist that reminds me of my dad! even if you’re not there for the Scottish-ness of it all, I would go back again just for a night out. Well, that is if I wasn’t leaving Melbourne in a couple of days. Actually, by the time this post is published I will already be in Sydney!
Have you even been to a Scottish bar abroad? Highlander Bar is literally the first one I have ever heard of. It’s always just Irish and English bars. Maybe I should make it a new bucketlist item to visit all the Scottish bars that I can!