The best bar in golf? This rooftop overlooking the Old Course at St. Andrews

st andrews rooftop bar

Could this be the best bar in golf?

Rusacks St. Andrews Hotel

It is golf’s ultimate rite of passage — a place where memories are immortalized, heroes are crowned and legends are born. It is, of course, the 19th hole, where drinks and laughs are shared after a long day on the links. And as of last week, it now exists with a perfect view of golf’s other ultimate rite of passage: the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Imagine the delight of a cold pint with a pristine view of Old Tom Morris’ historic design, or an Old Fashioned with the 700-year-old Swilcan Bridge looming on the horizon. At the rooftop at Rusacks St. Andrews hotel, the dream is real, no matter how at home it sounds tucked away in the glossy pages of a travel catalog.

The rooftop bar and restaurant, named “18,” is golf’s newest (and perhaps best-situated) 19th hole, complete with stunning views, luxury fare from an award-winning chef, and yes, a full bar stocked with enough spirits and taps to properly anoint the memories (or wash away the sorrows) from your round at the “Home of Golf.”

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The bar was the headliner of a larger project to renovate Rusacks St. Andrews, which also added 44 rooms as part of the project. The space spans some 3,000 square feet high above the rolling fairways of the Old Course, featuring stunning views of one of the best vistas in the golf world — the famed 1st and 18th holes, including Swilcan Bridge. Out on the terrace, visitors will find putting mats and a one-of-a-kind view of the course from up above and beyond, the famed West Sands Beach.

On the menu, golfers can find traditional Scottish delicacies with a twist, thanks to head chef Derek Johnstone’s proclivity for open-flame cooking. Munch on pig head on toast, wood-fired leeks, and lamb rump; or perhaps opt for uber-tender Aberdeen angus beef, which is dry-aged in-house for more than a month. Not feeling up to a full meal? Flip to the next page of the menu, where a dizzying array of pudding selections are found. For those stumbling in after an early tee time, the pre-fixe “afternoon tea menu” features three smaller courses and a choice of sparkling wine or champagne.

This view, but after 18 holes on the Old Course? It’s tough to beat.

Rusacks St. Andrews Hotel

As for drinks, the menu’s “Young Tom Morris” grabs immediate attention — a cocktail featuring Highland Park 12-year scotch, strawberry, lemon, honey and champagne — but that’s only the beginning of the fun. 18’s sample cocktail menu currently spans 18 pages, and features everything from $5 pints to Hermitage La Chapelle Jaboulet, a 2006 varietal red from the French Rhone Valley, for a shade over $300.

In all, the bar marks the latest innovation around one of golf’s truly timeless locations, and the expansion of Graduate Hotels’ “Marine & Lawn” collection — a grouping of luxury hotels located at some of golf’s most sought-after destinations. For the rest of us? Well, it’s perhaps the best place to celebrate one of the game’s best traditions … so long as you can snag a tee time in the first place.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.