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Pub of the week: The Wallace Tavern/Ring of Bells.

What's the atmosphere like?

Visit for the Braveheart celebration on Wallace Day, the last Saturday in August. Scotland's freedom-fighting hero - who was born in Elderslie - is remembered in style and you'll find the joint is jumping. Out back in the beer garden, pipers play and it is as good a party atmosphere as you'll find anywhere outside of Hogmanay.

At other times, this old coaching inn, dating back to 1843, is more sedate. The Ring of Bells lounge is popular with couples, while the public bar and side room are mostly a male domain. You wouldn't want to be shut in the lounge after closing time as there is a resident ghost in the form of a dark, cloaked figure who has spooked staff and tradesmen down the years.

Describe the decor

The comfortable and spacious lounge has half-timbered walls with textured plaster panels and all of the bric- a-brac and effects required to give it a hunting lodge feel. The smaller public bar is simply furnished, attracting those who prefer to stand by the pumps and discuss the world and all its complexities.

What about the staff?

Owners Allan and Carolyne McVeigh are well known in the trade and have been at the helm for 23 years. Convivial barman Ronnie Blair knows how to keep a well-run cellar and there is a cheery team of part- time helpers.

Who drinks here?

The pub has a faithful following among villagers and the lounge is popular with passing trade, especially at weekends. The Wallace Tavern dominoes team have won the Johnstone League several times.

Curious visitors ask to see the phenomenon of the water that turns whisky black. The nearby Bore Well got its name from when prospectors drilled down looking for coal and hit an underground spring rich in iron which has flowed ever since. When mixed with Scotch, it turns the amber nectar a charcoal colour.

What's the food like?

With a popular takeaway nearby, only bar nibbles are on offer, including crisps, peanuts, jars of mussels and pickled eggs.

VENUE: The Wallace Tavern/Ring of Bells, Main Road, Elderslie, Renfrewshire.

FACTS: Fine selection of single malts. Tennents Velvet pounds 2; Tennents Lager pounds 2; whisky/vodka (35ml) pounds 1.30; wine (small bottle) pounds 1.95.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 29, 2002
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