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July 2, 2019

The AA Pub Guide for 2020 has just been released and it lists 2000 of the UK's most interesting pubs, bars and taverns.

You don't need to be a big pub fan to know that bars have been closing at a rate of knots over the last few years.

The smoking ban, increased costs, cheap supermarket alcohol and changing habits have all led to many pubs calling last orders for the last time.

When the first edition of the Guide came out in 1998, there were around 60,500 pubs in the UK. Today there are around 40,000 and about eighteen are shutting every week.

All of which may seem a very gloomy way to start a blog post on the glories of the pub.

However, as the authors of The AA Pub Guide note, their inspectors and the Guide's readers are recommending more pubs than ever before. Many of those that are surviving are upping their game.

Of the 2000 pubs listed in the 21st Guide, some 550 are singled out as Pick of the Pubs, establishments that the AA reckon are the best in the country.

How many of these have you been to?

More than 30 of them are in Scotland. These range from relative newcomers like Tom Kitchin's Bonnie Badger in Gullane to venerable spots like The Sorn Inn in Ayrshire or Gairloch's Old Inn, a former Highland coaching post.

Many of them, such as The Plockton Hotel (pictured) are in stunning locations.

In Glasgow, West on the Green, Stravaigin and The Ubiquitous Chip all get a mention. In Edinburgh, the Pick of the Pubs list includes The Café Royal, Scran and Scallie plus The Doric Tavern.

The AA Pub of the Year (Scotland) Award has yet to be announced for this year but the Guide does list previous winners such as The Pot Still in Glasgow, Edinburgh's Bow Bar and The Ship Inn, Elie, Fife.

The Guide offers an in-depth guide to the UK’s pub scene with a detailed description of each pub, from directions and opening times, to whether the pub is child or dog friendly, to parking or garden options, with an insight into each pub’s real ale, real cider and wine by the glass offerings.

Put simply, if you enjoy visiting a great pub then The AA Pub Guide can point you in the right direction whether you find yourself in Portsmouth or Portree.

Book online with 5pm

Of course, 5pm Dining has lots of great offers and deals with pubs and bars that do fantastic food. You can search our bar food and gastro pub listings, browse their menus and book online with 5pm.

The Pub Guide 2020: 2,000 pubs for great beer and good food is published by AA Publishing and available to buy online.