Thistle Bar, Alloa
We popped into the Thistle Bar for a quick pint before catching the train back to Glasgow after a Saturday afternoon in the capital of Clackmannanshire, aka Scotland's "Wee County". Indeed, the refreshment was much needed after an energy-sapping 90 minutes in the April sun - and we were merely spectating - at "The Recs" (Recreation Park, where Alloa Athletic FC play - notable as currently the Scottish league ground in the longest continuous existence). This pub is a very different beast from the nearby Old Brewery which is also reviewed on this site. The Thistle Bar is much more of your classic, down-to-earth Scottish boozer. Despite the attractive exterior, the interior is fairly basic and no-frills, with barely room to swing a cat. The gents are noticeably rudimentary, and some of the patrons' language was a little colourful. That said, we didn't get any funny looks from anyone when self-consciously ordering in a South-East London accent - which isn't always the case when in very "local" pubs away from home - and felt comfortable enough to sit at the bar. The beer was well-kept, if pretty standard, with Belhaven Best and Wm. Youngers being the pick of the ales. The exterior signage bears the name of the now-defunct Maclay's brewery, a poignant reminder of Alloa's distinguished brewing history. Despite its spartan nature, this isn't a bad wee place at all - we'd have gladly stayed for a second pint had we not been in a hurry.
1 Junction Place, Alloa, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, FK10 1JW
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How to find the Thistle Bar pub
The easiest way to find the Thistle Bar if coming from the train station is to follow the signs (or ask for directions) to the bus stances. The pub is just a few yards further on, as you approach the main shopping area.