General Opinion

50 Shades of Grey: The Modern Frontage of Edinburgh Pubs


Edinburgh can be grey. Very grey. From around October to February, it is probably the most common colour in Scotland’s capital. The weather is grey, the buildings are grey and sometimes the people can be a tad on the grey side as well. Therefore we don’t need any more grey. Yet, current trends for pub frontage are adding to this great city’s greyness.

Pubs should be welcoming places. And this doesn’t just mean having a friendly face behind the bar. Before you get that far, you have to be enticed in. The place has to have “kerb appeal”, as smug Phil Spencer might say on one of his many property porn shows. So, why, why, why, are so many Edinburgh pubs’ frontages grey? And I’m not talking about old, weathered, faded facades. I mean new, and newly refurbished hostelries.

“I really hope it’s just a fad because I don’t want my pubs to be grey”

I’ve included five examples here that are grey (arguably some are black-ish, but not true black which makes them look a bit grey – like a designer just using black ink, rather than making it real black by chucking in a bit of cyan to give it depth). There’s Woodland Creatures and Jeremiah’s Taproom on Leith Walk, The Bellvue on Broughton Street, The Mash Tun on Easter Road and The Bonnington on Bonnington Road. All grey(ish) and all newish, having all opened or reopened their doors within the last 18 months. And these are just ones I’ve spotted in the east of the city. There will be many more city wide.

Is this the “colour” du jour? Is it what head office is recommending? I really hope it’s just a fad because I don’t want my pubs to be grey. I want to trudge through Edinburgh on a grey day, on a grey pavement, in my grey coat and have the pub appear like a welcoming beacon of beer, warmth and humanity. All served up on a bed of colour and imagination.

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