The Globe Inn is the most prominent of all the pubs associated with Robert Burns, Bard of Ayrshire and hard drinker, born 260 years ago. Sitting along a narrow wynd, the Globe is a shrine to Burns’s life and times – but no Disneyesque creation this. Ancient timber panellings cover three tiny rooms – all of them museum pieces – with varnish upon varnish upon scuffed, knocked-about, well-worn surfaces.
The elongated building, from courtyard to lounge bar, snug, Burns room and “howff” (another snug, sort of), drips with Burnsanalia including poetry, portraits, poignant handwritten letters and a bronze bust. Verses to Polly Stewart are etched on a windowpane. (Robbie was also having an affair with Anna Park, niece of the Globe’s landlady. After all, he did compose “Should auld acquaintance be forgot…”)
Burns’s favoured chair sits by a magnificent fireplace. The deal is, if you sit in it you must treat the pub to a round, then recite something from his vast canon. I’m ashamed to say I did and I didn’t. My parsimony now haunts me.
Two hand-pulled ales occupy a corner of the lounge bar and Tennent’s Lager, Guinness and Belhaven Best stretch along the counter.
A line of whiskies is a standing invitation to a tour of Scotland. My first pint of The Grace (4.3 ABV) from local Sulwath Brewery was downed in minutes. The beer celebrates the Selkirk Grace delivered at Burns Suppers: “Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it; But we hae meat, and we can eat, And sae let the Lord be thankit.”