Known amongst many for its stunning Castle, Hogmanay and the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh is regarded as one of the most beautiful and quaint cities in the world. Though there is much more to such a popular city than events and landmarks. Some may prefer to point out its old-world hotels or Arthur’s Seat, former students may be particularly proud of their world-renowned university. For me, however, it is something not so obvious that elevates Edinburgh on my list of cities visited, and enables me to better appreciate the city I am able to spend a part of my life in: its pubs!
Growing up in London meant that I was never a ‘pub person’ so to speak. Instead, its restaurants and bars are what take precedent – and maybe rightly so due to the demographic. Famed for having more pubs in a square mile radius than any other city in Europe, it is no surprise my regularity of trips changed quickly when I came to study in Edinburgh. Not only this, but the history behind certain pubs can create a feeling of nostalgia – even to many centuries ago.
The citizens of Edinburgh take a lot of pride in their pubs, and the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour wonderfully demonstrates this. It starts at the Beehive Inn on Grassmarket, a prime location for many of Edinburgh’s finest pubs. Not only is it one of the oldest pubs, it was also a favourite of Willie Wordsworth and Robert Burns. Another pub on the tour is the Ensign Ewart Pub, which is acknowledged for its assortment of horse and military collectibles, and situated on the distinguished Royal Mile.
Having not discovered as much of Edinburgh as I would have liked, Bruntsfield remains one of my favourite places. With the links and views of the castle, it is a charming place to be both during the day and at night. The Golf Tavern pub, by the Links, encapsulates both this beauty and antiquity that I have grown to love. The tavern dates from the 15th century, and it is said that James IV used to play on the course, too. Such nuggets of information make it all the more pleasurable when I am able to enjoy a drink at one of Edinburgh’s pubs.
In the space of eighteen months, I have changed from someone who used to rarely go to the pub to someone who not only goes, but also appreciates everything they stand for. Yet this would not have been the case had I have chosen to study in any other city.