A Quiet Pint In Edinburgh, In The Guildford Arms Interior, Scotland UK
One of my favourite watering holes in the city of Edinburgh. Delightfully tucked away off Princes Street and away from the rowdy bars of Rose Street. My default choice in there is Weihenstephan - 'älteste Brauerei der Welt' (lierally Dedicating Stefan - oldest brewery of the world), which is a lovely pint, in its own special tall glass. A plaque outside details its history.
The origins of the site was the Guildford Arms Hotel. This was more or less totally rteworked by Robert Macfarlane Cameron in 1898. It was modelled on the then popular victorian gin palace theme echoing the Phil in Liverpool and the Crown in Belfast among others. Most pubs were at the time male dominated and frankly dingy and possibly a little dangerous. The temperance movement is said to have encouraged the design of more luxurious pubs, particularly suitable for the fairer sex rather than just men.
The current configuration dates from 1940. However the centrepoint of the Guildford’s late Victorian opulence is the magnificent Jacobean style ceiling which can be seen in this image. A row of real ale pumps on the bar all have the logo of DM Stewart, owner since victorian days.
A grand old Thorne Brothers Mirror hangs at the end of the bar. Just below the cornice height, wood panelling conceals a hidden room: legend has that this was aparently used to store spirits and other liquor which was pumped to the room from street level. A narrow walkway
leads from this room around the inner walls to the Gallery. This gallery now provides an ideal spot for diners to marvel at the superbly decorated ceiling or gaze down at the punters in the Public Bar. Both lunch and dinner are served in the Gallery Restaurant with lunch and snacks (Chilli Cashews is my weakness when in there) also served in the Lounge & Public Bar areas. I can vouch for the excellent range of real ales. Usually a wider selection from Scotland (including the islands) than the neighbour to the south too. Readers of The Edinburgh Evening News voted the Guildford Arms Best City Bar in 1999. If you are in town and have a spare hour or so for victorian time travel, pop in!
(2010 week 13)
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