The Golden Rule: definitely more hit than miss

Battleships, beer and potato-based snacks: the Golden Rule is perfect for after work
Battleships, beer and potato-based snacks: the Golden Rule is perfect for after work

“F8? Miss. G3? Miss. H6? Miss. I1? Hit! It’s the dreadnought.” And so went much of the conversation I had with a mate recently in the Golden Rule up Polwarth way. The reason of course was a highly competitive game of Battleships in the lower part of this great local Edinburgh pub.

For many years, my brother lived round the corner from here so I’d been in it a few times up until his departure for a barren life existence in the pub-less world of the suburbs around six years ago. Indeed, my abiding memory is watching the end of the Germany versus Italy World Cup semi-final in 2006 here so maybe make that eight years. Having recently become on my way home from work, it would have been rude not to pop in once again. Somewhat like Pringles, however, once I had popped, I struggled to stop and it’s become a semi-regular haunt once again.

The lower bar in the Golden Rule is less favoured by locals who prefer upstairs
The lower bar in the Golden Rule is less favoured by locals who prefer upstairs

The Golden Rule sits on the corner of Yeaman Place and Watson Crescent, near the Fountainbridge leisure complex. It’s also just moments away from The Fountain, one of my favourite pubs reviewed so far, which also happens to be owned by the same pub company, namely the Shilling Group. This small group also owns Bar Kohl, Carriers Quarters and Thomson’s Bar in the city. Essentially, between the Fountain and the Golden Rule, you’re spoiled for choice if you live in the area.

Eric looks relaxed in the Golden Rule. He is lying on a jacket, not on the chair, so no furniture was harmed in the making of this photo
Eric looks relaxed in the Golden Rule. He is lying on a jacket, not on the chair, so no furniture was harmed in the making of this photo

The Golden Rule is a split-level affair with the main bar at the top and then a separate bar down a small flight of stairs. We’ve taken to sitting in a leather-bound booth in the lower bar, handily positioned for the selection of board games that are free to play, hence Battleships, and a library of books where you can take one away with you for a measly pound. The main area of the pub features a curved bar and the chairs round the wall are often taken up by elderly locals, one of whom was determined to sing for everyone when I was last in. There was also one chap whose mere presence was enough to make Eric, my acquaintance’s dog, growl with extreme displeasure. An odd thing for the normally mild-mannered terrier. Obviously the fact that Eric is welcome tells you that the Golden Rule is most definitely dog friendly.

The top bar in the Golden Rule, Polwarth, Edinburgh
The top bar in the Golden Rule, Polwarth, Edinburgh

Drinks-wise, there is plenty in the way of whisky and also a number of real ale taps. On occasion, I have found a number of the taps off leading to a limited selection but at around £3.40 a pint, I’m not really going to complain too much. I had Blue something the last time I was in but to my shame I have not noted its full name. Reader, I apologise. As you can see from the picture above, they offer a fire array of crisps and nuts, an essential for any pub catering to our post-work, pre-tea meet-ups.

In terms of entertainment, alongside the board games and books, I was informed that the music being played was of exceptional quality. I have very poor taste when it comes to such things but I am assured that tunes by the Super Furry Animals and The Band was a positive thing. There is also a quiz night on a Tuesday, which I recall playing a few years ago and it being exceptionally hard. I’ve not been along yet since I rediscovered this place but I imagine it’s still a good night. There are a number of TVs around the place as well so it’s a handy spot for the football.

I'm pretty sure I was at the Golden Rule post-work at 5.15pm not 4.15pm . . .
I’m pretty sure I was at the Golden Rule post-work at 5.15pm not 4.15pm?!

Having not been back for a number of years, I was delighted to see that the Golden Rule had hardly changed. While somewhere like its sister pub The Fountain benefited immeasurably from a radical overhaul, this place just needs to keep ticking over and serving the local community. You won’t get gastropub food in here, or indeed anything more advanced than a packet of crisps, but this is not a negative. Let other places concentrate on food while fantastic local pubs like the Golden Rule concentrate on good beer, a great atmosphere, top-quality music and a fantastic line in 1980s board games. Hit!

The Golden Rule is at 30 Yeaman Place, Edinburgh, EH11 1BT. Find them on Twitter here.

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