Restaurant with 'hottest table in Edinburgh' to close doors permanently

Last orders at the Tower Restaurant.

One of the city’s popular restaurants has closed its doors for good in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Twenty two years after first opening, the Tower Restaurant, located above the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, is one of many businesses in Edinburgh that will no longer be running post-lockdown.

Once called ‘the hottest table in the city’ by food critic AA Gill, proprietor James Thomson has concerns about how the business would be economically viable with social distancing restrictions in place.

Tower Restaurant on top of the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street

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“The Tower was the first rooftop restaurant in Edinburgh and quickly gained a worldwide reputation for great food and service which has stayed with us down the years,” Mr Thomson said.

“Covid-19 presents us with some insurmountable difficulties and, with our lease coming to an end anyway, we’ve had to take the decision not to reopen.”

Redundancy consultations have started with 37 members of staff, adding to the toll of jobs affected by the current crisis in the hospitality sector.

“The longevity of our success has been down to our loyal customers and the hard work and dedication of our incredible staff. Some of them have been with us for years so this is a sad time for all of us,” he added.

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Mr Thomson also owns The Witchery and Prestonfield in Edinburgh. It’s hoped both those businesses will be able to reopen on July 15 following final confirmation from the Scottish Government.

On behalf of National Museums Scotland, Director of NMS Enterprises Peter Williamson said: “We are saddened by the closing of the Tower restaurant after 22 enjoyable and successful years of working with James and his team. The hospitality sector has been hit very hard by Covid-19 and we now need to take stock and consider the long term future of this space so that visitors and guests can continue to enjoy what remains one of the best views in Edinburgh.”

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