I’ve always thought this place was a bit full of itself, but yet again I’m proven wrong. It;s presented as a mildly swanky and luxurious bar, but their prices are more down to earth than I would have thought.
In the front half there are various metal-topped tables, high stools and a central bar. Through the back there are some leather sofas, larger tables and generally a more loungey feel. The music certainly suited this loungey-ness, a mixture of 60s soul, Bacharach etc. I don’t think the fireplace is functional.
We were surprised to be served by the barman from 52 Canoes. He’s jumped ship since the spring when we were going there regularly, but he still has the banter.
According to this 2006 Scotsman article, Element, formerly known as Brecks, was one of the first pubs in Edinburgh for Signature Pubs, along with the Black Bull in the Grassmarket. They also now have The Huxley and the Queens Arms, maybe more. There’s more than a loose connection between Signature Pubs and the Speratus Group (almost identical board of directors).
Just one cask: Caledonian Deuchars. Kegs mostly from the Heieneken stable: Blue Moon, Carling, Kronenbourg 1664, Coors Light, Heineken, Belhaven Best, Guinness, Fruli and Magners.
Our round of 5 Deuchars was £16.25 for 5 pints, so a mere £3.25 per pint. Most draught beers are £3.50 or under and all but two are under £4.
The menu’s not huge, but the food was good. Mains from about £9 for a burger to £16 for steak, then fish and chips etc. All slightly more imaginative than your average pub grub. The burger was good, but perhaps a fraction smaller than average.
As with most pubs on Rose Street there are a few tables outside, even at this time of year.