#70: Shakespeares, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Shakespeares, Lothian Road, Edinburgh (exterior)

This place has been reinvented a few times over the years, but always kept the same name (at least since the mid 90s). These days it’s a John Barras pub so a similar vibe to a Wetherspoon’s with cheap food, cheap beer, live sport etc.

It’s a large-ish pub, almost twice the size of when we knew it from our student days. This can make it seem pretty dead, but we’ve not seen it this busy for a very long time (not that we come in very often). We didn’t even get a table and had to sit on stupid high stools over by the puggies. Until this visit, Colin had this place earmarked for when he wanted a guaranteed seat in a quiet pub, but that appears to be kaput.

Doug was grumbling that the cask taps weren’t all together so you don’t realise there are more on through the back. There’s no board on the wall telling you what guest casks are on either, which would have achieved the same end.

John Barras only has one other pub within the scope of our tour, and that’s the McCowan’s over in Fountainbridge. Barras is part of the Spirit Pub Company, owners of a number of other pub chains like Taylor Walker.

The Bar

Shakespeares, Lothian Road, Edinburgh (interior, bar)

Two casks were on for this visit, out of a possible four: Black Sheep Best Bitter and Wells Bombardier. Kegs: Carling, Kronenbourg 1664, Peroni, Stella Artois, Budweiser, Caledonia Best, Tennent’s Lager, John Smith’s, Guinness.

The round was £6.50 for two pints, so around £3.25 per pint on average, though that’s not a very big sample.


Pub classics like beef and ale pie, fish and chips etc from £4.99 to £6.39. Burgers from £4.99 to £6.29. There’s a daily offer of burger, chips and drink for £5.79.

I don’t like the sound of the “Donor Kebab” burger. Let’s hope that’s just a misprint and not some sick, twisted way to get rid of spare donated organs from the NHS!


“Kaberoke” every Saturday night. This is described as a cabaret and karaoke disco.

Puggies, TVs, big screen with sport.

Castle View

Shakespeares, Lothian Road, Edinburgh (exterior, castle view)

By the slimmest of possible margins, and only from out the back door of the pub and right to the back of the property, yes, you can see the edge of the castle. In the photo, the bluish sliver of building in the top right corner is the castle. I feel cheated.


Web page: Shakespeare
Parent: John Barras
Parent’s parent: Spirit Pub Company


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