Nostalgia: Drinking in Capital’s culture

Ian Whyte is surrounded by some of his regulars as The Cumberland Bar receives the Evening News Pub of the Year Award 1992 from Hamish Coghill, third from right, in April 1993

Ian Whyte is surrounded by some of his regulars as The Cumberland Bar receives the Evening News Pub of the Year Award 1992 from Hamish Coghill, third from right, in April 1993

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Back in 1992, a chuffed Ian Whyte lifted the Evening News Pub of the Year award in front of his prized Cumberland Bar.

Accompanied by some of his regulars, he won a trip for two to the Ryder Cup, and told the News all those years ago that he believed in old-fashioned pubs with personal service and a traditional atmosphere.

This week, Edinburgh’s pubs were in the news again, as Historic Scotland announced the launch of a postcard book of photographs of some of Edinburgh’s most treasured watering holes. We are a city accustomed to downing pints in listed buildings, and this very special characteristic of our heritage will be celebrated in the book. Look out for images of sites such as The Guildford Arms, The Cafe Royal, and Mathers Bar.

Our love of our quirky pubs was just as strong as far back as 1987, when Edinburgh’s Oxford Bar and Cambridge Bar, positioned just along from each other in Young Street, held their own version of the Boat Race to raise money. Breathing hard on a stationary rowing machine, one of the pubs’ regulars is pictured, motivated by a pint. Cambridge Bar won the race, although one of its team members admitted at the time: “We are definitely not fit.”

In the same year the Evening News Pub of the Year was won by the Phoenix Bar in Broughton Street. Those 80s hairstyles deserve awards in themselves!

Our city’s pubs have always been places of animated discussion, and pictured in Sandy Bell’s pub in Forrest Road is none other than playwright Donald Campbell doing just that.

Whenever you sit in an Edinburgh pub you can be sure the city’s cultural icons such as this meeting of poets have sat there before you. So let’s raise a glass to our gorgeous pubs.

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