Guest post by Doug. Cheers!
Beer & Skittles is a newish bar that opened in early 2014. It’s got a sporty feel to it, not surprising given the owner is ex-Scotland rugby player Simon Taylor. The entrance is just inside the front door of the Restaurant ‘Steak’, a little hard to find at first but the staff at the restaurant seemed used to sending patrons towards the side door and down the stairs. The staircase was reminiscent of a night club scene from Grand Theft Auto, all mirrors and neon lights. This continues in to the bar which has a very slick modern interior with low level lighting and plenty of booths and nooks and crannies to relax in. It is a basement bar with the added bonus of a beer garden (or courtyard) out back which was too tempting to miss on a lovely bright day. This is a pleasant area with what looks like the makings of an outside bar / bbq, could be very nice on a hot summers day (or for a private function?). The beer garden is as smart as the bar, a fresh bright area with quality furniture.
We visited on a Tuesday night as usual, around 5:30pm. Initially we were the only folk around, but two blokes showed up before we left. They had the same idea as us and headed straight out of the dark bar into the beer garden.
The bar’s tag line is “Travel the world, one beer at a time”. So, a new basement bar in Edinburgh which isn’t aimed at the speakeasy cocktail market but beer drinkers, how refreshing! How far can you travel beer-by-beer? The answer is pretty far, 39 nations are represented by over 70 bottled beers. Although some countries have a limited offering of one lager there is enough available here to keep the attention of most beer lovers. Cocktails aren’t out completely though, there is a range of Beer Cocktails and Boiler Makers. There is also a good alcohol free beer option and a limited but good choice of ciders.
Draught beers include: Beer & Skittles Craft Lager (brewed by Belhaven), Blue Moon, Menebrea, Riegeler Pils, Vedett Extra Blonde, Innis & Gunn, Heineken, Belhaven Black (served in a goldfish bowl!), Krusovice.
There are no notes on the price of our round, but the average draught beer on the night was a whopping £4.98! The cheapest was £3.70 for the Belhaven or house beer and the most expensive, of course, was Innis & Gunn at £6.85. Pitchers of some of the beers are available for £10 for 4 pints, which is much better. Loyalty cards are also available.
We didn’t have any food here but bar snacks are available in the shape of “Beer bites”, food designed to be consumed in between sips.
Apart from the aforementioned beer garden, there is a pool table and some electronic games consoles. Plenty of TVs for sporting events (World Cup 2014 was being advertised). According to twitter, darts are also available.
Perhaps ironically there are no actual skittles which is a pity. As compensation here is an interesting fact about skittles: the origin of the game dates as far back as c. 3300 BCE in Ancient Egypt. (Note: If you are interested in a lively game of skittles, try visiting “Edinburgh’s oldest pub: The Sheep Heid Inn in Duddingston)
You would have to be around 200 ft tall to get a view.