Thomson’s Bar is one of Edinburgh’s most wooden pubs, I reckon, with lots of lovely, detailed oak joinery. It’s also easily one of the best pubs in town, I don’t know why we don’t come here more often. Apparently, it’s named after and decorated “in the style of” Scottish architect Alexander “Greek” Thomson.
The walls are decked out with old beer and cigarette adverts and brewery mirrors, which I like, but some may consider a little twee these days. It seems appropriate enough to me, in keeping with the “traditional pub” experience.
As for atmosphere, it was nice and quiet tonight (a Tuesday, as usual), but it can get pretty rammed on a Friday night after work. I don’t think they’ve got a stereo of any kind on the go, so nice and peaceful when it’s quiet.
Being part of the Shilling Group, Thomson’s is a stable-mate with the likes of The Fountain, The Golden Rule and Bar Kohl (that last one’s surprising).
This time there were 5 casks on: Fine Ales Rune, Taylor’s Landlord, Orkney Best, Oakham JHB and Caledonian Deuchars. There were another three pumps off. The beer is always well kept. On keg (I assume) there was Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, McEwans 80/-, Guinness, Tennent’s Lager, Williams Brothers Caesar Augustus and Belhaven Best.
The first round of the night is always trickiest to keep a tally of, with everyone turning up in dribs and drabs. I’ll just report that my Rune was £3.30, and the other casks were all £3.30 to £3.50. That’s fairly cheap considering it’s one of the best pubs in town.
There’s a decent whisky selection too.
They serve soup and pies from the bakery across the road at lunch times (12-2, Monday to Friday), but apart from that it’s just the standard crisps etc. However, if you time it right on a Friday night when it’s busy, there’s sometimes free sandwiches on the go, bonus points.
Once again, the bogs get a special mention. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but the doors to the gents open outwards as you leave, meaning you can push the door with your foot/elbow/etc without having to wonder which part of the handle is least in contact with the great unwashed (you know who you are). If they meant it, it’s genius. All pub bogs should be like this.
There’s also an interesting book in the window for general perusal titled “A Guide To Collecting Beer Mats” (pictured right), enough to keep you occupied if you’re waiting for folk to show up.
Other than that, nothing out of the ordinary. Some tables outside on the pavement, and inside there’s a TV, usually showing football or Sky sports anyway.