Abbotsford Bar & Restaurant

Edinburgh & The Lothians - Edinburgh

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: B

3-5 Rose St.

Tel: (0131) 225 5276



Real Ale: Yes

Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

Nearby Station: Edinburgh Waverley

Station Distance: 354m

Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Edinburgh Waverley) and Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

The Abbotsford was built in 1902 to designs by one of Edinburgh’s most prolific pub architects, Peter Lyle Henderson, for Charles Jenner of Edinburgh’s famous department store and features one of the finest examples of the typically Scottish island-style servery. Unusually there is no gantry in the middle, which no doubt explains the mahogany superstructure on top of the counter. Although such features, normally designed to hold pot-shelves, are now very common in pubs, they are usually no older than the 1960s and this example is a very early and ornate precursor of the type. The panelled walls have inlaid mirrors and there is a richly decorated high plaster ceiling. In the far left corner is the original snack counter, with a fine balustraded and mirrored gantry and various drawers. On the back wall opposite Rose Street is an annunciator box, which indicates that at one time (in addition to the main bar) there was a dining room, a private room and a smoking room. Alterations took place in the 1970s when the first floor was acquired for pub use and a staircase inserted.

One of the finest examples of an island-style pub built 1902 and, apart from changes to the rear of the pub, barely altered since. It is owned by Jenner's Edinburgh's famous department store. It is believed to have been built by Charles Jenner so that his workmen could spend their wages in his own establishment! Unlike the majority of these pubs, the Abbotsford has no island gantry. Instead, the there is a carved mahogany structure with a balustrade around the top perched on the bar counter similar to a modern day 'pot shelf' - Leslie's Bar has a similar arrangement. Designed by one of Edinburgh's most prolific pub architects, Peter Lyle Henderson, it is a red sandstone ashlar building with a corner turret.

In the far left corner is the original snack counter, an unusual survivor still in use for ordering meals at lunchtime, with a good back gantry with a balustrade, and bevelled mirrored panels. The dark, dado-panelled walls have inlaid mirrors; there are mahogany fittings including pediments above the doors, and a very decorative high ceiling in green and cream painted plaster. There was a small lounge at the rear of the bar but this was lost when the first floor was acquired for pub use in the early 1970s and a staircase built in its place. The upstairs restaurant has quality fittings including a small circular bar counter and panelled walls with inset mirrors but all date from the 1970s. The Abbotsford is one of only a handful of pubs in Edinburgh still using the traditional Scottish method of dispense - the tall fount (the 'u' is silent) - to dispense its range of real ales.

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