Papa Westray

The Holm of Papay

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The Papay Pub

Beltane House is the home of the Papay Pub, which opens every Saturday evening at 9pm. The bar is open earlier than this for community events held at Beltane, and when meals are served. Looks can be deceiving... Although the Papay Pub's cupboard has just a plain-looking door on the outside, when the door is opened it reveals a wide range of Orkney's bottled beers and whisky from both Orkney distilleries. The pub also serves a wide range of soft drinks, wine and spirits, as well as snacks.

Beltane Music

Saturday pub night is an important social event in the island's weekly calendar, and there is often live local music, led by Margaret on accordion, with Paul on various stringed instruments, and Shane and Daniel on bass and guitar. Jim will also twang away at his Jew's harp, and visitors are warmly encouraged to join in. The Saturday pub is often preceded by a film, shown with the community's own projector on a large screen.

A Story to Tell

In 2014, the Papay Pub was selected as one of 100 Scottish pubs with 'a story to tell'; here is the supporting text for the pub's entry:

"The Papay Pub is unique because it is, in fact, a cupboard in the corner of the Papa Westray Hostel, which is owned and managed voluntarily by the Papay Community Co-operative. From the outside it just looks like a regular cupboard, but when its door is opened, it means friendship, company and warmth for one of Scotland's most remote island communities. Jim Rendall, the octogenarian license holder, was born in the pub, when it was traditional farm workers' cottages.

Jim Rendall, Papay Pub

The bar opens every Saturday from 9.00 pm and it's a family friendly hub, a coming-together of locals, incomers and visitors, of all ages. The pub comes into its own at an island event like the Muckle Supper, when meals are served and a lively dance gets underway (some of the dances are unique to the isle). It has no single claim to fame and we like to keep it that way but no visitor who enjoys a night at the Papay Pub forgets it, and some fit their holidays around it. Perhaps it is Margaret's accordion they will remember most, or the local friendly chat, perhaps a game of chess or snap, or the impressive array of Orkney beers behind the cupboard door."

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