Central Bar

Edinburgh & The Lothians - Edinburgh

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: A

Leith Walk
Edinburgh, Leith
EH6 8LN

Tel: (0131) 555 2006

View on: Whatpub

A down-to-earth drinkers’ pub at the foot of Leith Walk which has one of Scotland’s most stunning interiors. It was built in 1899 to designs by one of Scotland’s leading pub architects, Peter Lyle Henderson. This tall, nearly square space started life as the bar for Leith’s long-gone Central Station (closed 1972: see The Station Buffet, Stalybridge and The Station Buffet, Bridlington for historic English station buffets). Either side are entrance porches (with mosaic flooring and stained glass windows), leading into a room in which the walls are completely covered with Minton Hollins tiles. The side walls are notable for four tiled panels of sporting scenes – yacht racing, hare-coursing, golf and shooting – with tall, narrow mirrors between. The U-shaped counter backs on to a stunning oak gantry which has glazed cupboards for cigars etc, and sprouts the figures of four griffins. In the middle of the servery there is the base of a small island gantry. On the left are four U-shaped seating areas. The ceiling is papier-maché with Jacobean detailing. Window screens with coloured glass bear the name of John Doig who was the first proprietor. At the back there were originally two sitting rooms but they are now converted to storage areas. Listing upgraded to A in 2008 as a result of survey work by CAMRA.

Without doubt one of Scotland’s most stunning pub interiors. Entrance porches (with mosaic flooring and colourful stained glass windows) either side lead into a room whose walls are completely covered with tiles by Minton Hollins & Co, Stoke on Trent, including four panels of sporting scenes – yacht racing at Cowes Regatta, hare-coursing (left), golf represented by a picture of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, and hunting with pointers - and tall, narrow mirrors.

Other magnificent displays of tiled paintings can be found at Café Royal, Edinburgh, Scotland; Mountain Daisy, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear; General Havelock, Hastings, East Sussex; Rose Villa Tavern, Hockley, Birmingham; St James Tavern, Soho, London W1 Dolphin, Hackney, London E8; and Golden Cross, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales.

Built in 1899 and designed by P L Henderson this tall, nearly square space served as the bar for Leith Central station, which finally closed in 1972. The U-shaped counter backs onto a stunning light oak gantry, which has glazed cupboards for displaying cigars etc., and includes the figures of four griffins.

There is also an island gantry. The counter and tabletops date from c.2003. On the left are four U-shaped seating areas with conventional fixed seating on the right. The ceiling is Jacobean papier-mâché, and there is a tiled frieze in an elaborate scroll pattern. Window screens with coloured glass bearing the name of John Doig (the first proprietor) and appear prominently on other (modern) items round the pub. There were two sitting rooms at the back originally which have been converted to store rooms in recent years. Opens at 9am Monday to Saturday.

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