Bow bar felt too quiet, to me, for a sunny Thursday afternoon with just a few local drinkers in. It looks like a traditional late Victorian boozer but the plaque on the wall says it was made in 1987. They’ve done a good job though and I liked the ultra slim, old fashioned, fixed tables, I saw them in a few ‘traditional’ Edinburgh pubs. You can put your pint down, and not much else, but the table stays rooted, preventing table creep. Never seen as many whiskies, I think they had over two hundred, and there were six real ales on hand pull. I tried Cromarty , Happy Chappy (4.1%) a nice refreshing, modern style pale ale and Drygate , Seven peaks IPA (5.0%) another modern style from a Scottish brewery, another theme developing here folks. Well it is the capital of Scotland. Verdict, okay, worth a visit but not my favourite.
Stood outside The Guildford, you might think it was one of those grand London pubs. It isn’t, it’s better. What a splendid building, inside and out. Just look up at the ceiling and cornice, then down at the carpet, absolutely splendid and the rest of the pub follows on. The bar staff wear white shirts and blue ties. No tourists neither as it’s squat away down a little side street at the side of the grand registry office. Quelquefois je qois que il n’y a pas beaucoup des ecosses dans Edinburgh.
This was by far the busiest pub we visited on the two times we visited, not crammed, but you couldn’t find anywhere to sit down. The customers ranged from suits to beer geeks to grannys. We called in for one on Friday evening when it was full of people who had called in after work, having a few to start the weekend before going home on the train. Proper people, really good craic, buzzing atmosphere.
The beers? Ten hand pulls with an ever changing range of Scottish real ales. they must have known I was coming because they had one on from Barnsley; Acorn. There was a decent selection of keg beer, mainly lagers but biased towards, and there’s another theme building here, that sort of Scottish lager, ale crossover, like Schiehallon. This is a top boozer, top beers, top quality, top customers. Everyone would love it, whatever your taste. Put it down as a must visit, epitome of the British, sorry Scottish boozer.
We walked into Blackfriars , looked at the five keg lines, mainly lager and thanked them for their trouble before walking out. It looked as though it was a lovely place but we didn’t fancy any of their wares. Definitely not a boozer, not a Friends of ham (which we are lucky to have in Leeds) neither, but probably a nice place to go to for something to eat. I looked at The Guardian guide again and it actually says they hadn’t even been in, so why put it on the list? Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see, my Dad always says – lesson learned.
The auld hoose was quite bare and austere, I find Scotland like this, they have their own word for it, ‘dour’, although it does have charm. Very much a student pub and well outside the fashionable part of town. Most notable bit? They serve the largest nachos in Edinburgh, possibly in the world? I worked it out, it was in metric, it took me a while? There’s about six and a half pounds of nachos and accompaniments on the plate. I saw one and I reckon you need at least half a dozen people to demolish it. For Pete’s sake don’t get the foot, or was it 30cm, of onion rings as a side. The food menu was cheap too and it all looked cool.
Everything I read about it says that it s renowned for it’s loud jukey: punk, goth and heavy. I didn’t really notice it, but I heard some decent tunes being played and I’m no Kerrang! fan. Decent atmosphere, plenty of students and academics and some local people, with dugs! Overall, I really liked this place. Ale? Spot on. Not a massive real ale choice, two standards Wychwood Hobgoblin (if you must) and Harviestoun Bitter and twisted, I get this one, decent brewery, excellent beer. Scottish based and I love the name of the place they come from, Clackmannanshire, wow! Nearest we can get down here in Yorkshire is Cleckheaton. The third wicket changes, while we were there, at least, on a daily basis, which gives you an idea of the turnover. It tells, because their ale was spot on. Have a look at their web site and see for your self what quality they put on the ‘guest’ pump. When we were there it was Cloudwater Pale (4.6%) first time, very good. and Red willow Reckless (4.8%) second time. I’ve always found you can’t go wrong with this Macclesfield brewer. All in all, a decent boozer, worth the walk off the beaten track, give it a visit and be surprised by what guest ales they have on.