The Black Bull is a fairly large traditional pub. It’s got old pictures and mirrors, old pub tat, wooden panelling, a long wooden bar, wooden floor, a jukebox, victorian-esque lighting and lots of TVs for sport.
It wasn’t all that busy on this Saturday afternoon visit, but it seemed a little busier down the front. Colin reckoned the pub often gives the illusion of being totally rammed, but if you just head up to the back, past the bar, it’s not bad. There was Sky Sports or something on all the TVs with football tickers etc. This made Iain and Colin happy, having both placed accumulators on at the bookies before the first pub of the day.
Back in our skint student days I remember sneaking cans of Tennent’s in here and decanting them into pint glasses under the table. That was the same night somebody managed to scar the palm of their hand while trying to put out a flaming sambuca. Classy stuff.
Part of the Signature Pubs group, so sister pub to Element, The Queen’s Arms and The Huxley.
This was pub 2 of 19 on our random February blowout. We started out with the aim of ticking off 8 pubs in the Grassmarket, but got very carried away and did a lot of the Cowgate too. The quality of these posts will deteriorate towards the end as notes become thinner and memory hazier. I’m not particularly proud of the achievement, it was pretty stupid.
A good cask selection, probably the biggest in the Grassmarket: Caledonian Deuchars and 80, Scottish Borders Foxy Blonde, Inveralmond Thrappledouser, Edinburgh Gold (probably Caledonian, but maybe Stewart’s), and one cask off. Kegs: Belhaven Best, Carling, Magners, Dry Blackthorn, Coors Light, Grolsch, Kronenbourg 1664, Blue Moon, Estrella Damm.
The round was £12.45 for 3.5 pints, so about £3.56 per pint.
Mains mostly about £9 up to £11 for fish and chips or £13 for a steak. Nachos £7.50. Burgers from £8.75.
Live music, live sports and some outdoor seating.
Despite not being able to see the castle from the outside, there’s a sneaky view out of one of the windows near the bar, pictured on the right.