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Highland capital's well-known Phoenix Ale House set to fly again under new ownership


By Neil MacPhail

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The Phoenix Ale House.
The Phoenix Ale House.
The Phoenix Ale House.
The Phoenix Ale House.

THE city’s famous Phoenix Ale House has been sold, marking the start of a new chapter for the historic howff and mine host George MacLean.

Mr MacLean insists he is not retiring, but taking a momentary step back after a long and varied career pulling pints in pubs up and down the eastern Highlands, amongst thema number in Ross-shire.

He also sold the Castle Tavern in Inverness a few years ago.

Mr MacLean, who admits to being aged over 70, said: “I don’t intend to fully retire as I still have an appetite for a challenge.” The publican, noted for his love of performance cars, added: “I will take a bit of time out and my bike will be the healthy option meantime. I’m also having my wee boat on the canal sorted up.”

George MacLean.
George MacLean.
George MacLean.
George MacLean.

Mr MacLean, from Latheronwheel, Caithness, owned an incredible nine hospitality outlets, and part owned and managed two more. And three on the list he sold and bought back again – Muirtown Motel, Clachnaharry and The Phoenix, all Inverness. He also managed to pack in a stint running Jacobite Cruises on the canal and Loch Ness with Rod Michie before it was sold to the current owner Freda Newton.

Mr MacLean actually started work in the drapery trade with Fred Shearer Ltd in Wick, then with Cairds in Dundee before moving to Inverness to open their branch in 1966.

His licensed trade career began with his uncle Mitchell Sutherland who had the Latheronwheel Hotel, and from there he moved to manage the Ord Arms in Muir of Ord. He was part owner of the Fraser Arms, Kiltarlity, before moving on to own the Clachnaharry Inn, Inverness.

There followed the Muirtown Motel, (twice) National Hotel, Dingwall, Winston Disco, Aviemore, Moorings in Muir of Ord, Gellions Hotel, Inverness (twice), The Castle Tavern and the Phoenix (twice).

It is understood that the Phoenix has been bought by the Turkish family who own the Cinnamon restaurant in Inverness but they could not be contacted.


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