Category Archives: Tollcross

Monboddo: swapping real ale for cocktails

The highlight of a Fizzytree at Monboddo is the orange sorbet
The highlight of a Fizzytree at Monboddo is the orange sorbet

What has happened to me? In recent weeks, I have twice had cocktails with male acquaintances. Surely it is too early for my mid-life crisis? Of course it is. By pure coincidence, circumstances have taken me to the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews and also to Monboddo on Edinburgh’s Bread Street. Both definitely more bar than pub but both very pleasant in their own special ways. Given that my focus here is Edinburgh, let’s talk about Monboddo, part of the Doubletree Hilton hotel. Continue reading Monboddo: swapping real ale for cocktails

Blue Blazer: brilliant boozer between books and boobs

The Blue Blazer sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle (far left)
The Blue Blazer sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle (far left)

The area in which the Blue Blazer sits in Edinburgh has always puzzled me somewhat. How did West Port and the surrounding area manage to become famous for two things: second-hand books and strippers? They seem odd bedfellows but they have co-existed for years and this fine old pub has no doubt served patrons of both types of establishment down the years. And served them well, as this is a great little boozer that I find myself visiting every few months for some reason or other.

Continue reading Blue Blazer: brilliant boozer between books and boobs

Cloisters Bar, Tollcross: the answer to your pub prayers?

Cloisters Bar at Edinburgh's Tollcross - that's the bar taken in an arty manner
Cloisters Bar at Tollcross in Edinburgh worships beer, not God

I don’t go to church. Well, unless someone gets married or insists on Christening their child. Or it’s Christmas Eve and they’re doing carols at St Giles – suddenly I come over all religious then. No, as a non-believer, my most visited church in Edinburgh is no longer a sacred place, it’s a pub. So, is Cloisters Bar near Tollcross worthy of your worship?

OK, so the name is the first hint at the true nature of this building. Situated on Brougham Street, and looking resplendent with its red doors and windows and hanging baskets, there’s no mistaking this place’s former purpose as you enter underneath the sign for All Saints Parsonage. However, once in it’s not as churchy – well, as ornately churchy – as you might expect. Continue reading Cloisters Bar, Tollcross: the answer to your pub prayers?

Bennets Bar at Tollcross: a best pub in Edinburgh contender?

The interior of Bennets Bar at Tollcross has hardly changed since 1906
The interior of Bennets Bar at Tollcross has hardly changed since 1906

By a quirk of fate, Bennets Bar in Tollcross was both the last pub I visited in 2013 and the first I visited in 2014. Lucky me, I should think, as a good acquaintance of mine rates this as the best pub in Edinburgh. Now, it’s too early in my pub blogging career to be handing out accolades like that but I can see where he’s coming from.

A drinking establishment of some description has stood here since 1839, however it has not always been Bennets. The current pub was born in 1906 when the King’s Theatre replaced the Taylor MacLeod brewery next door. Since then, not much has changed and for this we should be thankful. Continue reading Bennets Bar at Tollcross: a best pub in Edinburgh contender?

A Fountain of hope on the Edinburgh pub scene

The bar at The Fountain is bright, inviting and spotless
The bar at The Fountain is bright, inviting and spotless

Edinburgh’s pubs are changing, and they’re changing fast. There are closures, refurbishments and new ventures wherever you look. To use a phrase more familiar in the Thatcher, yuppie years, old men’s bars are being turned into trendy wine bars. Only that’s not quite true. Some old men’s bars are being turned into fantastic modern pubs that retain character while at the same time exude style. A case in point is The Fountain on Dundee Street, Fountainbridge.

Now, I had only once set foot in the old Fountain and that was with Mrs Bar Fly (well, she was a Miss back then) and people from her residents’ association who held a quiz there one Tuesday night. It was a typical Edinburgh local pub – lots of Tennent’s drinkers and a game of darts in the corner. When I stepped in for the second time on a recent Friday lunchtime four years on, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Continue reading A Fountain of hope on the Edinburgh pub scene