We have a new contender in the quest for Edinburgh’s darkest bar or pub, possibly just pipping The Bon Vivant and pushing The Blind Poet into third place. As you can tell from the photos, it was dark enough to give the camera a hard time obtaining focus, something it’s usually not bad at.
It’s another basement bar, typical of St. Stephen Street, with wooden floors, dark walls, exposed stone, antlers, the odd mirror, two open fires, mismatched tables, a few large leather armchairs and, say my notes, “a demonic skull”, though I don’t remember that. When we walked in there was a fantastic, almost overpowering smell of oranges.
There was a respectable turnout from the punters for a Tuesday night in a “cocktail saloon”, mostly a bit more well-to-do than us (not difficult), all mid-20s to mid-30s. Once again, Murphy (Westy’s dog) was welcome, and he wasn’t the only dog in there.
It doesn’t take a genius to guess that this might just be named after The Last Word cocktail, made with gin, Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime. Also, the presence of Chartreuse on tap would suggest I’m not far off the mark.
Sister bar to Bramble and Lucky Liquor Co, both on Queen Street. Surprisingly enough, the barman recognised us from the Lucky Liquor visit, or maybe nobody else ever asks to take a photo of the bar, and that’s what tipped him off. Friendly chap either way.
You know already that we’re not cocktail drinkers on this tour. There’s not much to choose from beer-wise, but at least they made some effort to get something interesting instead of just some overpriced, mass-produced lager. There were two kegs, Williams Draught and Alechemy Black Aye PA.
Obviously, their main thing is cocktails. From an uneducated perspective they seem to be pretty proficient too. There are also weekly whisky deals and other drink combos like “beer and a bourbon for £6”.
There’s no record of how much the round was. It’s likely to be in the same ballpark as the Lucky Liquor Co, which was none too cheap, something like £3.30 for a schooner or, scaling up, almost £5 a pint.
I was about to say they had nothing, but a quick skim through their twitter feed showed up some interesting toasties. How does a “peanut butter, bacon and banana” toastie grab you? Sounds frickin’ awesome to me.
I will definitely head straight here when the zombie apocalypse comes. First of all, they might think there’s nobody in cos it’s that dark, but any wise zombies will be swiftly dispatched with “Pixie”, possibly the most endearing name for a chainsaw I’ve ever heard. That’s right folks, there’s a chainsaw on the wall behind the bar.
Toilets haven’t had a mention on these pages in some time. These particular ones were remarkable only in that they had an Eddie Murphy stand-up routine on the stereo in there. It could get awkward if you want to hear the punchline, you’d have to hang around or hide in the cubicle.