Waxy O’Connors pub bid hopes for Charlotte Chapel

The chapel is set to be converted into a pub. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The chapel is set to be converted into a pub. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A MAJOR pub chain is bidding to transform the historic Charlotte Chapel into one of Edinburgh’s largest bars – with a capacity big enough to rival the Three Sisters.

The stunning Rose Street building – which is more than 200 years old – would be converted into a huge Waxy O’Connor’s pub under plans being hatched by Glendola Leisure Group, which owns Frankenstein’s on George IV Bridge.

A 900-capacity wood-panelled venue would be created over five floors should planners approve the bid, which is still at an embryonic stage.

Three Waxy O’Connor’s bars have opened – at London, Manchester and Glasgow – in the last two decades and owners have been working on launching an Edinburgh version for three years.

In a bizarre tradition at the Irish-themed superpub, a huge tree is planted within the bar area – something that is expected to be replicated in the Capital.

Euan Robb, a spokesman for Waxy O’Connor’s, said once completed the venue “would be one of the most iconic” in Edinburgh.

He said: “The Charlotte Chapel building is a massive space and while there will be some re-configuration done I don’t doubt when it’s completed that it will be a fantastic-looking venue.”

He explained: “The decor is constructed out of old salvaged material from houses and churches – it’s very wooden and ornate.

“A lot of people say the venues are a bit like a labyrinth that you can get lost in it quite easily.”

He added: “Waxy’s always has that wow factor when you walk in, and I don’t doubt we’ll have that here as well.

“I think we will have a cracking venue, a big venue and a lot of opportunity for music and private functions and parties.”

Asked if the size of the pub would compete with the Three Sisters, Mr Robb said: “I would assume so. They have a fantastic outside area which we wouldn’t have in Rose Street but capacity wise it would be quite comparable.”

The transformation hinges on a change-of-use application, which has been submitted to the city council’s planning department.

The congregation at Charlotte Chapel is still attending services in the building before its relocation to the St George’s West Church of Scotland building in Shandwick Place.

Congregants raised more than £1.3 million in a fortnight to push through the move and are expected to take up their new residence next year.

No-one at the Charlotte Chapel was available for comment.