The Castle Arms is essentially a traditional pub with a few modern touches to bring it up to date. There are old features like the cornices, picture rails and the snug upstairs, and old stone walls and, if I’m not mistaken, the original kitchen range hiding behind a bench. There are also old pictures of Edinburgh and big mirrors, some not-so-original fitted leather benches and some weathered-looking bar stools and tables. An assortment of modern lights and gaudy wallpapers remind you that this is no “old man” pub.
Downstairs is a small lounge room that always seems to be empty. There’s also the back door down there, leading out on to the terrace, with several tables looking out over Victoria Street. This is good for catching some sun during the day, but by evening it’s in shadow.
It was quite busy, but we managed to get one of the last remaining tables. At a guess the punters would have been mostly tourists. This is good going for a Tuesday night, although up here near the castle there are a lot of tourists looking for food by this time of night. There was a mostly decent mix of stuff on the stereo from Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, R.E.M. and Supertramp, but one or two annoying tracks too like No Doubt.
Four casks: Caledonian Flying Scotsman, Stewart’s Copper Cascade, but two taps off. Kegs: Tennent’s Lager, Leffe, Carling, Guinness, Stella Artois, McEwans Red, Magners, Stowford Press.
We partook of the pint + burger offer, so that complicates the price of the round. Pints are normally £3.60 to £4 though.
It was £8.99 for a burger plus any pint, and it seemed well worth it. The burger was very tasty, and you can shove extra toppings on at 80p a pop. I didn’t write down any of the other food on the menu and I think the one on their website’s a bit old as the prices seem way too low. The drinks menu is certainly several years out of date price-wise.