The Canons’ Gait on Edinburgh’s Canongate is a funny one. I’ve been going there for several years, especially during my days working in the Old Town (I even had my leaving do there), when it was less busy, more welcoming and considerably less expensive than the nearby Holyrood 9a. But why’s it funny? Well, I guess I just feel it’s still trying to work out what it wants to be but has never fully committed in any direction.
It’s 5.01pm on a Friday afternoon and the Waverley on St Mary’s Street is definitely shut and doesn’t exactly look about to open. I carry on to the Holyrood 9A and alert my acquaintance to this fact. He gets this message 10 minutes later. When he’s in the Waverley. It’s comes as no real surprise as the Waverley has always been a bit of a mystery, but unlike a Rebus or Skinner tale, this is a very pleasant, unassuming mystery. So what does go on behind those black doors of an evening?
Knowing my great interest in Edinburgh’s pubs, a number of my acquaintances have recently drawn my attention to the Edinburgh Evening News’ Best Bar 2014 competition. Do you agree, they ask? Well, no. And that is no reflection on the eventual winner, The Mercat near Musselburgh, I just don’t agree with a random public vote to determine these things that is purely designed to sell papers and gather marketing data and has nothing to do with identifying quality boozers.
Until Edinburgh finally catches up with New York and gets itself a table tennis bar, I will continue to make do with pool. Sadly, these days I am out of practice. Since Mai Thai down at Holyrood shut down, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve troubled a baize. The odd visit to Diane’s Pool Hall was as much as I’d done until a visit to the recently re-opened Marco’s on Grove Street.
Hectors is one of those places that everyone knows about and has probably been to at some point. Its position in the centre of Stockbridge guarantees great footfall and a recent visit there proved it’s cross-generational popularity. Is it any good though?