Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and the city is home to a rich and mufti-layered history, from the epic and heartwarming tale of Greyfriars Bobby to the many ghosts and spirits that are said to haunt the cities fog-shrouded castle, which looks over the city from its perch at the peak of the old town. However, hearing about these stories from a website or a travel guide cannot compare to the life and humor that the locals can give to their retellings of their beloved stories, and there are several pubs in Edinburgh that are great for meeting people and learning the cities stories.
This well presented and modern looking pub sits on Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile and is almost within touching distance of the Castle at the top of the hill. Because of its proximity to the cities largest tourist attraction you’ll rub shoulders with a lot of visitors to the country, which is great for meeting fellow travellers. Often, you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who has been living in Scotland for a while or has been there longer than you and they’ll be able to offer you some invaluable advice on where and when to explore to make the best use of your time.
The name of the pub is also well worth hearing. William ‘Deacon’ Brodie was a well-known and respected member of the city council and the deacon of a local trade guild. By night though, he transformed into a criminal who stole from every target he could find to support his twin addictions to gambling and drinking. In the ultimate irony, when he was eventually arrested he was sentenced to death by hanging… by the gallows that he had built himself. Make sure you look to the sky when you enter the pub, the ceiling features artwork that represents each nation of the United Kingdom and is unique.
The Halfway House
If you are after a quieter and more local experience though, it is hard to go past the Halfway House in Fishmarket Close (next to that casino). What the locals would call ‘a wee pub’ (meaning a small pub), the menu is as Scottish as it could get. This is a great chance to taste food which is unpretentious and honest, with Scottish specialites haggis, tatties and neeps on the menu, and not to be missed. Favoured by the local folk for featuring ‘real’ cask beer rather than mass produced drinks, the drinks menu is also ever-changing with the tiny size of the pub meaning that storage of large amounts of beer is impractical, and means that you will get the freshest beer that is likely to be different from week to week! A short work from the local train station means its easy to get to, so find out why this tiny pub was named Edinburgh Pub of the Year.
These are only meant as starting points, every person you meet will have a recommendation for you. Edinburgh is full of choices, but venture into these watering holes and you won’t be disappointed by the experience you have there.