Tucked in half way up a narrow close between Market Street and Cockburn Street, the Halfway House is probably Edinburgh’s smallest pub*. It’s another one of my personal favourites.
The room is about twice the size of what you can see in the picture below, maybe slightly more, with a couple of small tables off to the left of the picture and 2 or three more on the right, behind where I’m standing. You’ll bump into regulars and tourists alike, and it’s almost impossible not to get chatting to someone you don’t know, even if it’s just the friendly bar staff.
They won the CAMRA Edinburgh & South East Scotland Pub of the Year in 2009, and there’s still a big banner up behind the bar to that effect. I found a page on the Independent claiming they won Scottish pub of the year in 2009, but I can’t find anything else to back that up. Wikipedia refutes it though.
* The “pub” in the Grassmarket attached to Biddy Muligans which claims to be Edinburgh’s smallest clearly doesn’t count. It’s really just an extra room on the side of a large pub. There isn’t even a door that closes between the two, just an empty doorway.
There are 4 cask taps of which three were on while we were in: Stewart’s Pentland IPA, Cairngorm Stag, Strathbraan Look West. Kegs were Caledonia Best, Stella Artois, Tennent’s Lager, Guinness, and Addlestone cider.
Various malts are available, perhaps around 30 or so.
The round was £8.75 for 2.5 pints, so about £3.50 per pint. They do a 10% discount for CAMRA members.
We’d forgotten that they served food in here and, had we remembered, would have come here instead of the Doric round the corner. It’s only a small menu, but it’s more down to earth and a good deal cheaper. The most expensive was a beef casserole at £7.95, everything else was £6.50 or under, with lighter options for under a fiver. Their website says that they try to get local produce.