Edit: This pub is now closed, reopening as Spit/Fire later in 2014, a sister bar to The Hanging Bat.
The New Town Bar thinks of itself as “Edinburgh’s most diverse and exciting LGBT bar and club.” In the street-level bar, it seemed mostly like any modern, trendy bar, except for the posters for various theme nights like a bondage gear night or an underwear night. The decor’s mostly either white or brown (from a mixture of real wood, fake wood and brick-effect walls), with tinted spotlights and splashes of colour here and there. Some large mirrors make it seem a bit bigger. We didn’t venture downstairs for a peek, but there’s another bar down there, open at weekends.
Like most places in town on a Tuesday night, especially in an area largely devoid of tourists, office types and students, it was extremely quiet. There was just one guy sitting at the bar reading the paper. The barman was friendly and courteous, but the music was, to my ears, annoying chintzy pop. A telly behind the bar was showing revolving adverts for the same stuff as the posters on the walls, i.e. the theme nights downstairs.
All kegs: Guinness, McEwan’s 80, Tennent’s Lager, Bitter & Twisted, Stella Artois, Estrella Damm, Staropramen, Caledonia Best, Magners.
The round was £6.80 for one pint and two halves of B&T, so about £3.40 per pint, way cheaper than expected.
I don’t recall seeing any menus on the night, but the sign outside says “serving good food, chilled beers.” The website doesn’t help, simply saying “more details coming soon” on the food page.
The basement bar is open at weekends for Mens Club and occasional live music and comedy, also available for hire. It was a Fringe venue last year.
There’s a street-level patio-ish area which I imagine would have tables and chairs in warmer weather.