Cafes & tea rooms
When you need a break from all the things to do on Islay, here's a selection of cafes and tea rooms that offer the warm welcome you expect on the island. Do check the current opening times, especially in the winter season.
While predominantly welcoming bed and breakfast guests, Burnside Lodge in Port Wemyss is a hive of activity throughout the year, baking cakes for local cafes and supplying homemade pies to distilleries and locals. The quieter winter months find craft classes around the dining room table or furniture being up-cycled in the shed. It does offer coffee, afternoon teas and cakes (including a self-service cupboard), but please check availability beforehand to avoid disappointment.
Debbie's Mini Market
If you come from the direction of Bridgend and enter Bruichladdich village, take a good look at the first houses on the right. Here you'll find Debbie's Mini Market, a well equipped shop, which also acts as post-office and newsagent. It claims to serve easily the finest designer coffees this side of Milan! Available for takeaway as well as sit in, the discerning coffee drinker can choose from cappuccino, espresso, americano, latte, double espresso soya cappuccino or just an excellent cup of coffee! Freshly baked cakes and muffins with the coffee of your choice, served under a parasol on the front patio... perfection!
Illicit Still Café, Ardnahoe Distillery
At Ardnahoe Distillery the Illicit Still Café and viewing balcony look out on to the Sound of Islay and impressive Paps of Jura. Beverages and barista coffee are available throughout the day, along with a wide of variety of cakes and desserts, all freshly made in the Ardnahoe kitchen. Lunch is served from midday. The menu ranges from light bites to hearty meals, caters well for people with dietary requirements and has plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The bar boasts a vast selection of whisky for all tastes from the Hunter Laing collections. Booking for lunch is advisable.
Kilchoman Distillery Cafe
Whisky tours may be fun, but even on Islay, you can’t be drinking whisky all day long! So, you can visit the Kilchoman Distillery Cafe in Bruichladdich and enjoy some of the delicious home-made cakes, soups, paninis and of course the famous Cullen Skink! It serves a full range of Barista-style coffees and is always happy to try something a little different. How about a drop of Kilchoman in your Latté or caramel in your Espresso Macchiato? Booking is essential.
Fresh, local and welcoming is the strapline for Lynn Labels, which is an independent coffee shop offering a range of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and cakes. Judging by the reviews, the sandwiches, scones and coffee in particular are not to be missed! You can also rely on lots of friendly banter and there is also a good selection of gifts. The shop was originally located in Ballygrant, but has now relocated to Shore Street in Bowmore.
Outback Art Gallery
The aptly-named Outback Art Gallery is in Sanaigmore, one of the most remote and beautiful locations on Islay. Close by is Sanaigmore Bay, with fantastic views over the Atlantic Ocean and towards the Isle of Mull. There is an intriguing mix of established Scottish artists on display and some new upcoming talents for you to discover. The coffee, cake and comfortable sofas make the visit all the more enjoyable.
Persabus pottery and Ceramics Cafe
Persabus Pottery and Ceramics Cafe in Port Askaig offers a unique setting where you can unwind and explore your creativity. They stock a range of ceramic bisqueware for you to paint your own unique design on. Artwork, gifts and cards are also on sale. Traditional afternoon teas and coffee are served, complete with sandwiches and home baking. Picnic benches on the lawn in front of the byre allow guests to take in the stunning scenery when the weather permits.
port mor community cafe
Port Mor Community Cafe in Port Charlotte has stunning views over Loch Indaal, and has a lovely welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Families are very welcome, and for the kids there is a large and very well-maintained play park next door. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a multi-cuisine menu to suit everyone’s palate. Coffees, teas, cakes and ice creams are also available as well as takeaway food.
The celtic house coffee shop
The Celtic House Coffee Shop in Bowmore provides artisan coffee, an exciting range of teas and delicious local home baking. They have a large variety of cakes including carrot cake, fruits of the forest cake and chocolate cake. Their delicious cakes are all made with healthy, local ingredients. Soya milk and gluten free drinks are always available in the cafe or as takeaways.
The old kiln cafe
The Old Kiln Cafe at Ardbeg provides a tasty homemade lunch menu daily. There's something for everyone, with a wide variety of sandwiches, toasties, baked potatoes, light bites and meals available. They also feature some fabulous daily specials. These range from traditional favourites such as fish pie, smoked haddock chowder and sticky toffee pudding to some fabulous new additions to their ever-evolving menu. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available. Booking is advised.