St Andrews is a wonderful place in many regards and this extends to dining and drinking. Below, we have listed everything we think you should know before you come to town: from the best coffee shop to where to go after a night out, we have you covered.

The essentials

Photo: Tony Alter
Photo: Tony Alter

Scottish drinking law

Remember that Scottish law may be different from the laws that you are used to at home. Please be aware of this before buying or consuming alcohol in St Andrews.

  • It is illegal to consume alcohol on the street.
  • Supermarkets will not sell alcohol to anyone after 10 pm.
  • It is illegal to buy or consume alcohol in public if you are under the age of 18.
  • Therefore, if you drink in the Union while under the age of 18 you will be barred.
  • It is legal to consume alcohol in a restaurant at the ages of 16 and 17 if you are having it with a meal.
  • It is legal for anyone over the age of five to consume alcohol on private premises.

The supermarkets

  • Tesco Metro: centre of town (Market Street), most popular, decent selection.
  • Morrisons: 20 minute walk out of town, largest of the four.
  • Sainsbury’s: centre of town (Market Street), more expensive.
  • Aldi: 20 minute walk out of town, offers cheaper alternatives to branded goods.
  • M&S Simply Food: much anticipated, the new M&S is set to open in September on Largo Road.

The best deals in town

  1. Glass House, Grill House and Doll’s House: two-course lunch. Unrivaled value, delicious food, loyalty cards work across the three restaurants.
  2. Maisha, Balaka and Jahangir: All three Indian / Bangladeshi restaurants offer a student deal for £6.95 and deliver. Portions are very large.
  3. BlackHorn: £6 for a burger, chips and a drink on a Sunday. Good value, burgers are all fresh from a local farm.
  4. Pizza Express, Prezzo, Nando’s and Zizzi’s are all chain restaurants and will offer different promotions throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled for voucher codes online.

Places to go

After a night out

Winner: Toastie Bar

Nominees: Dervish, Courtyard Café, Empire

We cannot win here because the Dervish vs Empire debate is probably the most divisive topic in St Andrews. Therefore, we have gone for neither and given this one to the Toastie Bar. Throughout Freshers’ Week and every following Friday, the Toastie Bar offers a place of refuge where students of all levels of intoxication can talk loudly and munch on delicious toasties for only 50p.

Neither Dervish nor Empire will offer you such good food or value, but I doubt you will really care when on the hunt for food at 2 am through your beer goggles. Their closer proximity to the Union often wins out. In truth, we would have given the award to outside contender the Courtyard Café if it weren’t for the fact that they don’t serve chips.

Best bar or pub

Winner: St Andrews Brewing Company

Nominees: The West Port, the Rule, Aikman’s, the Criterion, the Central the Keys, Rascals, the Whey Pat Tavern, Ma Bells, the Vic, Drouthy Neebors, 1 Golf Place, the Union, the Blue Stane, the Central, the Adamson bar

Photo: George Flickinger
St Andrews Brewing Company. Photo: George Flickinger

The St Andrews Brewing Co opened only a few years ago, but it has been consistently busy since. With a great atmosphere, locally brewed beer and a prime location it is definitely the place to start your night out. Try Thistly Cross, the local cider so famously good that the Brewing Co has it on two taps.

The Rule and the Union probably offer the cheapest drinks, with the former offering two-for-one cocktails during the week. Ma Bells has just undergone a major refurbishment and the outcome remains to be seen, but it used to be buzzing on a Tuesday night so keep an eye on it.

The Adamson bar only opened this Spring but has had some rave reviews. Right next door to the up market Adamson restaurant, it is the perfect place to dress up and have a few cocktails.

Finally, it would be a crime not to mention the legendary nachos at the Whey Pat, often dubbed Whey-pachos. They come in gigantic portions and are scrumptious!

Coffee shop heaven

Winner: Cottage Kitchen

Nominees: Starbucks, Costa, Taste, the North Point, Rector’s, the Old Union Café, Beanscene, Janetta’s, Mitchells, Con Panna, Zest, Gorgeous, Bibi’s, Pret a Manger

You can’t walk more than 50m in St Andrews without coming across one of the town’s many coffee shops: they are everywhere! If you want to swap the reliable chains that are Costa and Starbucks for something a little more unique and quaint, the Cottage Kitchen is the pick of the bunch. It offers a cozy atmosphere along with homemade cakes, food and beverages. The North Point is the best for a cooked breakfast, meanwhile, and Taste remains open for those staying late at the library.

King of the takeaway

Indian: Maisha, Balaka and Jahangir
Pizza: Dominos
Chinese: The Dining Room, Oriential House
American: BlackHorn, Mr Milanos
British: Cromar’s, the Tailend
Mexican: Mexigo
Asian: Dr Noodles

You cannot beat the size and price of the meals offered at Maisha, Balaka and Jahangir: £6.95 for a starter, poppadom, naan bread, curry and rice. Dominos is by far the most expensive takeaway option, but becomes more reasonable with their Two for Tuesday deal. Meanwhile, Cromar’s has been voted one of the top six fish and chip establishments in the UK.

Date night

Winner: The Jigger Inn

Nominees: Sands Grill, Rocca Bar and Grill, Playfair’s Restaurant, the Adamson, the Seafood Restaurant, the Vine Leaf, Hotel du Vin, Alexander’s Restaurant, Hams Hame

The Jigger Inn is the perfect place for a cozy winter’s night next to the fireplace. With delicious British pub grub and desserts, it is our pick for fine dining. It is by far the most traditional of the English pubs in St Andrews and is affectionately known as the 19th hole of the Old Course. Perhaps the best part is that unlike the other fine dining restaurants listed, you won’t have to pay fine dining prices here. If you are looking for the best view in St Andrews, however, the Seafood Restaurant is idyllically perched on a cliff next to West Sands.

Casual dining

Winner: The Glass House

Nominees: The Glass House, The Doll’s House, Zizzi’s, Pizza Express, Prezzo, BlackHorn, Forgan’s, Mitchells Deli, Ziggy’s, Rascals, Balaka, Maisha, Janhangir, Oriental House, the Albany Garden Restaurant, Bibi’s, Nando’s

You just can’t beat the Glass House for a great meal at student prices. The price of their lunchtime menu completely downplays the quality of the food they have. Their sister restaurants, the Grill House and the Doll House, both offer the same deals, but it is the location right next to St Salvator’s Quad that sets the Glass House apart from these two. Forgan’s is also very popular as it hosts weekly ceilidhs, which are brilliant fun.

Food on the move

Winner: Boots meal deal

Runners-up: Tesco meal deal, Sainsbury’s meal deal

These deals all come in around £3 for a sandwich, drink and snack and are useful if you are in a hurry and need lunch. Be aware that people seem to have caught on that the Boots one is the best, so the shelves often look depleted by 1 pm.

DRA
DRA. Photo: The Saint

Halls of residence

If you are in a catered hall, you will likely be provided with three meals a day, every day of the week except for dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. This rule does not include the David Russell Apartments, which offer 14 meals a week rather than 19. You can find the hall menus here.

If you don’t fancy the meals cooked that day, there is always a soup, salad, baked potato and sandwich option at lunch instead. The standard of hall meals is generally quite high. People don’t complain about the food quality so much as they do about the repetitiveness of the options. The biggest plus side of hall food is the communal aspect. In our opinion, it is where some of the best friendships are made.

Find all of these places and more using our handy interactive map.

Interested in writing for the Money section? Want to find out more on what we’re about? Email the Money editor, Danielle, at money@thesaint-online.com and make sure to visit The Saint at the Freshers’ Fayre.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The glass house has really lost it’s quality standards over the past 6 months, it used to serve a great collection of pan-med dishes and excellent closer-to-home specials for very reasonable prices, but not anymore.

    St Andrews brewery is one of the worst in town – pretentious, expensive, and you can’t even buy a pint measure. Left off of the list was The Central on market street. They have a very good selection of drinks, friendly staff, the foods pretty good, and it has a great atmosphere all the time.

  2. Many times I am disappointed by The Saint articles when they become too self-absorbed and self-important – saying things for the sake of “I said that first”, rather than really considering what people NEED.
    However, I am pleasantly surprised by how useful and thoughtful this article is, and I’m sure it will be a reliable reference-point for a whole generation. (Toastie Bar for the win!)The only thing missing, which if added, would make this piece worthy of a book-mark, and constant re-referencing: a discussion of the different (dance-able) “clubbing” options St Andrews (I’ve found that the people who’ve experienced real clubbing, need a bit of convincing, then solace, when they find out what their options are like here).
    Rankings or discussion aren’t strictly necessary, just a small tag-line about what experience people are seeking when they go in for The Union/Vic/Lizard/Ma Bells. You have it on your (nifty) map with the pubs and bars, just needs a little addendum!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.