The story of Greyfriars Bobby, the little Skye Terrier who loyally stayed by his owner’s graveside for 14 years leaving only for food, will tug the heartstrings of even the toughest of men.
The legend is synonymous with Edinburgh and in 1961 was made into a Disney film starring Laurence Naismith. There is a number of framed stills that hang on the walls of this pub which, like the film, takes its name from the wee dog.
In fact, you’ll find it hard to visit this boozer on the quaintly-named Candlemaker Row without noticing a mounted statue of the much-loved mutt which stands just yards from the entrance.
Bobby’s has been given a lick of paint since my last visit in 2006 and it’s hard to argue with the pub’s pristine appearance.
But I will.
I couldn’t help but think that Bobby’s was a little too nice, sacrificing some of its old character and charm to offer punters a rather bland gastro-pub experience.
I like my pubs just the right side of gritty. Bobby’s was about as far away from that as you can get, which is good news for tourists, bad for those of us who prefer their pubs a little more lived in.
Once through its doors you’ll find a raised dining area and comfortable padded window seating to the left, while down some steps to the right is a small cosy little den ideal for a quiet pint.
Naturally, I turned right, after parting with some pounds and pennies for a pint of Harviestoun Natural Blonde (4%). Quite honestly, I found it hard to ignore the bright pink label featuring a busty blonde carrying a tray loaded with beer.
I’d like to tell you that what the pub lacked in atmosphere it made for with cheerful bantering punters, but it didn’t. They too were a nice bunch, happy to keep themselves to themselves and have a very nice time. Yes, if you’re after a nice pub then this’ll do, well, nicely.
Greyfriars Bobby is most definitely the kind of boozer which you could bring the mother-in-law to knowing full well she won’t complain a bit.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY
ADDRESS: 30-34 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, EH1 2QE Tel: 0131 225 8328
ATMOSPHERE: ** Low level music and even lower level conversation.
DECOR: *** Tartan carpet and wooden floor with pictures of prominent figures from the cities past on the pastille green painted walls. There were also flowers on the table.
SELECTION: *** Jaipur, Nicholsons Pale Ale, Deuchars IPA, Foxy Blonde, Harviestoun Natural Blonde
PRICE: *** Harviestoun Natural Blonde £3.55.
SERVICE: **** Friendly, bright and bubbly. Smartly dressed.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: There’s a good food menu and, from what I saw service was very attentive.