Inverness, in the heart of the Highlands, is a city that really knows how to let its hair down. The Midgie asks singer/songwriter Sandra MacBeth to channel her inner party animal and show us around the hotspots of her fair city
The Market bar
‘Regarded by some as the stinky jewel of Inverness, The Market bar is always my first port of call for a pre-gig snifter. It’s a cool and alternative venue, offering something different to the mainstream. I love playing to the Market crowd as they're always really appreciative of my music and there's a general ‘anything goes’ type vibe when it comes to the clientele. The bar is home to the smallest stage in the world and I have actually borne witness to a five-tier human pyramid during one of my sets. I suppose it’s one way of packing them in!’
Market Bar, 32 Church Street, Inverness (C3), 01463 220 203.
‘Mad Hatters is in the middle floor of Hootananny’s, a tri-level music and drinking venue. It’s probably the place to go in Inverness if you want to hear original music. Whilst not always the most reliable venue - it has been known to let a few ‘Dad’ rock bands slip through the net - they get it right most of the time, offering up quality live music Many new bands pop their touring cherry here, if you know what I mean. It's well worth a visit, plus the 3am licence makes it a bit of a winner in my eyes.’
Mad Hatter’s, 67 Church Street, Inverness (C3), 01463 233 651.
Loch Ness Day Trip
‘You're in the Highlands, so get out of the city and check out the amazing scenery Inverness has to offer. Loch Ness is famous all over the world, especially for the Loch Ness Monster. You will find there are various day trips on offer, with information usually available from your Hostel. I would recommend sneaking a wee half bottle of whisky into your back pocket on the way. However, I would advise caution as a few of my friends have woken up with real monsters on occasion!’
For advice on touring Loch Ness, visit www.visitlochness.com
‘Hoot’s has always been a great place to play in Inverness and I've had some crazy nights in the downstairs Ceilidh bar. Usually when I play, the band get plied with alcohol and I've literally swung from the rafters - and yet they still ask me back for more. The music is traditional and always gets everyone up dancing. You can also order Thai food at the bar, which seems a bit misplaced but all is forgiven when you taste it. This bar has the constitution of a real Highlander, and is just as hairy.’
Hootenanny’s, 67 Church Street, Inverness (C3), 01463 233 651.
La Tortilla Asesina
‘If our traditional Scottish fair isn't to your liking and you fancy a change from Haggis, neaps and tatties, then try the authentic tapas bar, La Tortilla Asesina. The food is delicious and surprisingly inexpensive. Personally I like to wash it down with lashings of red wine. It’s become a bit of a favourite of mine and is a wonderful place to hang out with your mates pre-night oot!’
La Tortilla Asesina, 99 Castle Street, Inverness (C4), 01463 709 809.
Sandra MacBeth’s new album, Conjugal Scene, is out now. For more information and full gig listings visit www.sandramacbeth.com