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Literary Bars in Edinburgh

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P1020974-soft-transf-u2-h552-u0.5-q50.jpg (88067 bytes)          P1020977-transf-u2-h552-u0.3-q30.jpg (82387 bytes)          Cafe Saint Honore, Edinburgh
         
  The Oxford Bar in Young Street in the New Town is known to readers of Ian Rankin's novels as  a favourite haunt of his fictional character Rebus.
Sydney Goodsir Smith immortalised the pub in his comic novel Carotid Cornucopius (1947) which Hugh MacDiarmid described as “doing for Edinburgh no less successfully what Joyce did for Dublin in Ulysses”.
A short distance away in Thistle Street is the Café Saint Honoré which features in books by Ian Rankin and
Alexander McCall Smith.
 

Milnes, Edinburgh                    Milnes of Rose Street, Edinburgh
         
  Milnes Bar on the corner of Rose Street and Hanover Street. This pub along with the Café Royal and Abbottsford Bar below are three New Town pubs particularly known as the haunts of a group of mid-20th century poets who wrote in broad Scots, of whom Hugh MacDiarmid is the best known, and Sydney Goodsir Smith is another.  
         
P1010112-transf-crp-cln-u2-720-u0.5-q60.jpg (87565 bytes)          P1010115-levmid-rot-crop-u2-h540-u0.3t5-q50.jpg (64348 bytes)          Hugh MacDiarmid       
         
  Interior of Milnes Bar. Until recently there were many portraits of the poets and examples of their work on the walls in Milnes. A painting in the Portrait Gallery Poets' Pub shows many of the writers in a setting reflecting all three bars.
Milnes Bar Website
 
         
Cafe Royal, Edinburgh               
         
  The Café Royal in West Register Street off the east end of Princes Street. By Robert Paterson, 1861. ... Paterson, a pupil of Beattie, was one of the architects who broke away from Edinburgh's Neo-Classical and Italianate tradition. This building is decidedly wilful, e.g. in its six-window front to Register Place in which the asymmetry of the off-centre door is countered by that of the dormers. ... Basket arches below, a round arcade above, the plate glass on both levels divided by the slimmest of mullions. ... In 1898 the hotel specialist J. Macintyre Henry took over. He inserted the deeply pedimented doorway at the NW corner ...    
         
                             

 

... and in 1900-1 he remodelled the interior, designing its sumptious woodwork. The Circular Bar to the E has lost its central gantry but still has Corinthian lamp-standards of brass on its solid island counter, and aedicular chimneypiece and six large tile pictures of famous inventors by Doulton, designed by John Eyre ... Seen here, James Watt and George Stephenson.

         
Abbotsford Bar, Edinburgh
         
  Abbotsford Bar in Rose Street. A red sandstone building with a corner turrett of 1902 by Peter L. Henderson  
         
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The Beehive Inn in the Grassmarket which is the starting point of the regular Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, highly recommended. Hosted by Mr Clart and Mr McBrain, they give a compelling account of Edinburgh writers.
The Beehive Inn was visited by Robert Burns, although the The White Hart Inn almost next door is better known for its Burns connection, see here
.


The Elephant House, Edinburgh     J.K. Rowling, Elephant House, Edinburgh          J.K. Rowling, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh    
         
These two cafés are known for their connection with J.K. Rowling. It was here that she started writing the Harry Potter novels. The Elephant House on George IV Bridge in the first two pictures. Nicolson's Café on the corner of Nicolson Street and Drummond Street, now the Buffet King, in the second two pictures.
Video of Rowling at The Elephant House Website.
         
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  Just along Drummond Street on the opposite corner to the Rowling cafe is the Rutherford . This was a favourite haunt of  R.L. Stevenson and of Arthur Conan Doyle. A commemorative plaque to Stevenson has been placed at the corner with an extract from one of his letters on the subject.
Closed as a bar in 2008 and now linked to a restaurant, the facade of 1899 by J. Macintyre Henry survives. More here.
 
         
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