The Potting Shed is where the Woolpack and Native State used to be when I were a lad, just off what used to be the big car park that is now the Edinburgh University Informatics buildings. I apologise in advance for what seems to be a relatively negative review. The bottom line is that the beers genuinely are well picked, with some great stuff you’d be just as likely to see in The Hanging Bat on occasion. My main beef is with the decor, something I really shouldn’t care so much about, and the price. I will go back with an open mind at some point, in the hope that it was just the booze clouding my judgement. Perhaps it makes me a hypocrite complaining about the decor, I’m usually the one that says “never mind that, look at the beers!”
Before I start moaning, it’s worth pointing out that The Potting Shed is a finalist for Best New Pub/Bar 2014 at The Publican Awards. (Thanks to Pat for the pointer)
Here are my entire notes from the night:
Super fake shit
Smells of whisky or wood
That’s pretty harsh, but I was slightly the worse for wear for drink, seeing as this was the 15th and final pub of the day. On the right is the beer board from the night. Not too shabby. Looking at their beers online right now, I’m actually wishing I was there, assuming that’s what’s on just now. They’ve got Magic Rock Salty Kiss on for flip’s sake, so they at least know how to pick a good beer. My problem is that it’s just so unashamedly twee and cutesy, for no real gain if you ask me. Just have a quick skim of their Inside The Shed page, it’s like reading a children’s book. I really wonder who their target audience is. Just let the beers speak for themselves.
The lads’ notes are more positive, albeit written after the fact:
Banter: incredible [qualifiers, anybody?]
Ambience: Quite nice. Young-ish professional-looking clientèle.
Decor: A lot of fake stuff. A lot of old tools – mostly well fixed to wall. A door that opens onto an incredible countryside tableau.
Just look at the place (not my photo, it’s from their website). It looks like the photo’s been doctored with +100% Lightroom “clarity”, but I think it is that crisp, contrasty and level-histogram-y in real life. I really want to like this place, but I think my drunken instincts were right at the time – nice beer selection, but they’re really trying too hard with the decor and the back-story.
By the time we got here I was almost literally being dragged around, somewhat comatose from the previous 14 pubs. The lads wanted to carry on afterwards to Le Monde on George Street, despite it being off the radar due to having to pay to get in. I bowed out and headed home before I became more of a liability. They all happily paid the £8 to get into Le Monde, so they could pay their £5 per Heineken or whatever it was, just for the simple pleasure of standing there in their Asda jerseys, having a laugh at the young’ns in their fashionable garb.
The beer choice was well above average. I think the first 12 might be cask and the other 6 keg, but I’m not sure, they could all be keg for all I know. They’re all “craft”, of course. There was Brewdog Hoppy Christmas, Williams Joker IPA, Alechemy Anti-Christmas, Adnams Dry-hopped Lager, Williams Black Ball Stout, Kernel Table Beer, Blackjack Dopplekopf, Wyld Scarlet Fever, Camden Ink and Stewart’s Grigor’s Grog, Bitburger, Antwerp Davel, West Hefeweizen and St Mungo, Inveralmond Lia Fail, Cornish Orchard Cider.
They’ve got a modest cocktail menu too, all £6 or £7 each, mostly unique twists on a classic.
I don’t think anybody actually ordered any beer, all opting for the “coffee & cake” deal for £3.20. The problem was that the “cake” was just a tiny Mr Kipling tray bake. As the lads’ notes say, “not sure that is cake.” It certainly wasn’t going to soak up much booze.
The beers are quite expensive at £3.50 per schooner (the most they will sell you of the first 12 on the board), which works out at about £5.25 per pint. The last 6 are a bit cheaper and they’ll serve you a pint (why the discrepancy?), averaging out at £4.65. Overall, they’ll go in the spreadsheet at £5.02 per pint.
They do food, but I didn’t look at the menu at the time. Check out their online menu, but it seems fairly well priced, almost all under a tenner.
Another destination pub for the zombie apocalypse. There are all sorts of useful tools on the wall: saws, axes and various sharp but rusty gardening implements.