Bernard Sloan, founder of the nearby Whitewater Brewing Company (see entry), has owned this 200 year old coaching inn since 2002 - and, not only has he made it into a very pleasant bar and restaurant with a cosy ambience, but also a destination for craft beer enthusiasts in Northern Ireland and they are rightly proud of the fact that they have one several top awards from CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).
All of the beers are of course featured in the bar so, although they are widely available, this is the best possible place to taste the full Whitewater range - Belfast Lager, Belfast Ale, Clotworthy Dobbin, Belfast Black and Copperhead Black.
Like their beers, the food is also sourced as locally as possible - most famously the potatoes, which are supplied by Bernard’s brother, Martin who’s pleased to say that his produce goes “from the earth to your plate in a matter of days”.
Head Chef Billy Burns relishes the great local meat and fish and vegetable producers that are just down the road and enjoys cooking a mixture of traditional (potted duck pate with port & plum jelly; dry-aged steak with café de Paris butter and classic accompaniments) and more exotic options (bang bang chicken with satay sauce; salmon fillet with stir-fried veg, egg noodles and chilli & orange butter sauce).
There’s quite a lot of fresh fish on the menu and something a bit different to look out for at The White Horse Inn is the dishes that link with the brewery - soup of the day comes with brewer’s bread roll, for example, and there are several crisply beer-battered dishes, including Kilkeel scampi and haddock & chips.
This friendly pub certainly has a unique offering, and is well worth bearing in mind when visiting the area - especially if you’re into craft beer.