John Gibson: Drinking up time at the Ensign

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You can’t miss it as you trudge down from the Castle Esplanade. First pub on your left in the Lawnmarket at the top of the Royal Mile. Named after the Scottish soldier who captured the French Eagle at Waterloo.

Bryan McCann is heroic in his own way, the publican who’s been at his bar almost daily for all of 28 years. And that’s enough, he’s telling me.

“I’m about to call it a day at 67. For health reasons. A bit chesty. Also, I’ve not found enough time this past year for golf, my big passion. Not enough time to sample what you’d call the quality of life, the time to relax.”

The Ensign Ewart is named after a young officer of the Scots Greys buried yards away on the Esplanade. He captured the eagle standard of the French 45th Regiment at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The hostelry is about to come on to the market and, with its history, it’s bound to be snapped up.

Bryan, for two years captain of Edinburgh Licensed Victuallers Golf Club, has had the Capital’s archeologists verify that the pub’s cellar dates back to 1560. When I ventured deep down under without a hard hat, I appreciated his timely advice: mind yer heid.

Afterwords . . .

. . . The secret’s out from Harry Hill: “Don’t give people what they want. Give them what you want. You’ll be surprised how often they like it. That’s my whole philosophy.”