One of the most happening places in town is Hootananny, Church Street (tel. 01463/233-651; www.hootananny.co.uk), a Scottish ceilidh cafe/bar with three venues. On the ground floor is the Ceilidh Cafe Bar itself, the most popular place. On the next floor is the Mad Hatters Bar, serving locally produced real ales, and on the top floor is the Bothy Sofa Bar, for a more intimate rendezvous. The best time to show up is on a Friday at 10:30pm, when local singers and songwriters showcase their talents. Traditional music is featured on many a night, interspersed with video tracks. Every Saturday afternoon there is a ceilidh from 2:30 to 6pm. Hours vary here, and on weekends it often opens in the afternoon. Most nights it closes at 1am, and, depending on the venue and entertainment, a £5 cover charge might be imposed.
Johnny Foxes, 26 Bank St. (tel. 01463/236-577; www.johnnyfoxes.co.uk), is an Irish bar that draws the largest number of backpackers. Food is served and live music is presented Monday to Saturday, with Sunday nights devoted to karaoke. A range of popular and traditional music is offered, along with Scottish and Irish tunes. Open Monday to Tuesday 11am to 1am, Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 2am, and Sunday 12:30pm to 2am. Food is served daily from noon to 3pm.
G's Nightclub, 21 Castle St. (tel. 01463/233-322), has some of the best live music in town. A singalong boogie is presented here long after the pubs have shut down for the night. For the best dancing, show up on Friday and Saturday night to join a crowd in their 20s and 30s. Thursday to Saturday, there's a cover ranging from £3 to £6. Open Wednesday to Thursday 9:30pm to 2am, Friday and Saturday 9:30pm to 3am.
Barbazza, 5-9 Young St. (tel. 01463/242-342), provides live entertainment Thursday to Sunday until 2am. It's also a casual place to dine during the day, opening at 11am Monday to Saturday or noon on Sunday. Everything from rock and karaoke is presented here, including punk and indie. Depending on the night, a £5 cover might be imposed.
You can also spend an evening in the town's pubs sampling single-malt whiskies or beers on tap. Although the pubs here may not have the authentic charm of the isolated pubs in more rural areas, you'll still find a lot of Highlander flavor. Try the pub in the Loch Ness House Hotel, Glenurquhart Road (tel. 01463/231-248), on the western periphery of town; Gellions Pub, 8-14 Bridge St. (tel. 01463/233-648); or Gunsmith's Pub, 30 Union St. (tel. 01463/250-116).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.