Following on from our Magic Rock North Bar adventure we continued north to our final destination Edinburgh. This was to be a family visit but in truth I hoped to do a bit of reconnaissance to try and locate some good beer bars for our next, somewhat more relaxed visit later this year.
So, armed with two handy pub guidebooks kindly loaned to us by @6TownsMart we set off to try and get to a few in the couple of free hours we had spare.
First stop was Tiles Cafe Bar, it’s located in the sort of building that you expect a Weatherspoons, a large island bar set centrally in the ornate cavernous room decorated with 19th century Royal Doulton tiles. The beer selection I’m afraid did not live up to the standards of it’s setting, with standard pub chain offerings on show. I settled for a quick half of Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted which was cool tasty and refreshing from the font.
Our next stop was The Cafe Royal which is another example of an old school architecturally beautiful pub both inside and out, with the red lobster giving hints to its history as a tavern specialising in oysters and seafood.
Inside the bar is a another circle/island which allows you easy access to the ornate Victorian plasterwork and stained glass. The main wall has irreplaceable tiled Royal Doulton murals along it’s length depicting famous folk from the worlds of Industry, Science and Art.
Embarrisingly I have absolutely no recollection of what I drank in here, it was a Scottish brew, light and pretty hoppy with a thick creamy head, which obviously was not that memorable… There were six cask ales to choose from along with a standardish line up of supporting beers & lagers. Food looked good and it was busy even mid afternoon, definitely one to revisit.
Onward ever onward to our next stop The Guildford Arms from which I annoyingly appear to have forgotten to have photographed (never good for a pictorial review), so as not to disappoint I’ve taken one from their website which I hope they don’t mind..
The Guildford Arms is as you can see another stunning example both inside and out of a pub steeped in history and a joy to drink in. It was lively and buzzing with a throng of happy punters sampling the 10 – 12 Cask ales and around another 12 of british and continental beers from the font.
In here I tried Thornbridge Brother Rabbit and another called something along the lines of “Secret Citra”, the proper name escapes me now and Google holds no clue either, that said both were very enjoyable. Best of the beautiful bunch was the Guildford, top pub.
Our final stop was one I’d been looking forward to for different reasons as here the architecture was of little interest and history yet to be made, this was Brewdog Edinburgh!
I have to confess to being a little disappointed on arrival if I’m honest, I’d seen photos of some of the Brewdog bars, gleaming examples of modern glass and steel, Brewdog branded of course and I’d pictured this in a bustling high profile location right in the centre of town. It’s not, we found it after a bit of mooching around in rather quiet back street sort of place, Cowgate, not far from the hustle and bustle of the tourist trail but far enough to shatter that illusion.
Thankfully I’d not gone there to look at the building nor it’s fixtures and fittings, I was there for a reason and one reason only, stunningly tasty beers.
I started with an Alice Porter and a rant, my first ever Brewdog beer in a Brewdog bar and it wasn’t served in a branded Brewdog glass! Bad show Brewdog, standards are slipping. Yeah the beer was good, fruity, chocolate, malty, big hop kick, all those things I’d expect but come on, the moment had passed, first impressions and all that. Rant over
Normal service resumed though moments later with the arrival of the Mrs H’s 5AM Saint. A beer with probably the best aroma ever had to be served in a glass like this. 5AM Saint is a truly marvellous beer in my opinion, stick your nose into a freshly cut tropical fruit salad and you’ll not be far off.
Sadly the moment was approaching for my last drink before hitting the road, I opted for Stone Brewery’s Old Arrogant Bastard Ale.
Strangely on this occasion the barman went through the ritual of pouring the half I’d ordered into a Brewdog Schooner, before pouring from that into the branded Stone pint glass, odd considering my Alice Porter experience don’t you think? The beer though was perfect and everything I’d expect from Stone brews which are delicious, I regularly but Levitation and have ordered another OAB to get a proper tasting sorted.
Sadly pub tour was over and time to go to the family visit the trip was really for, until next time. I’ve dropped a few scenic views below, hope you enjoy them.
Views from our apartment.
Views from the Scott Monument, 200 feet high. 287 gruelling stone spiral steps..