The Waverley Bar
Owned by the same family since the 1920s, the Waverley bar was closed for over a year after the death of the legendary ‘Captain’ Ian Walker in 2016. There were real fears that the bar would be lost forever, turned into a pastiche for tourists, another ‘tartan-tat’ or, as rumours went at the time another Starbucks! Thankfully, it was bought by local pub operators Caledonian Heritable, who have carried out minimal renovations and left the character of the bar very much intact. They have got rid of the sticky shag-pile carpet on the stairs and sorted out the rather iffy plumbing in the men’s toilets, but, otherwise the bar is pretty much as it was – a microcosm of a different time.
There’s a traditional horse-shoe shaped bar, wood panelled and maroon-painted walls and small brass-topped tables. One of the real joys of drinking here is the wealth of historical flyers and posters from Fringe productions of the past that can be seen pasted on the walls and ceiling, some of which are almost unreadable due to many years of nicotine build-up.
There is no cellar so the beer kegs sit right under the bar-top, and spares under some of the seats throughout the bar. This means that there is very little line for the beer to sit in and while the section is limited to Guinness, Tennant’s , Belhaven Best and cider, you get a perfect pint every time! There are over 60 whiskies and 40+ gins on offer too.
In the Captain’s day there was a bowl on the bar stocked with Tesco value crisps that could be had for free or for a donation to the charity box. The food offering has moved on slightly with toasties, soup and hot-pies available throughout the day.
The upstairs room has regular folk sessions on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons and is a free Fringe venue during August. It can also be booked for private parties or meetings.
Address: 3-5 St Mary’s St, EH1 1TA
Phone: +44 131 557 9855