The Fiddler’s Arms, Edinburgh

By | June 15, 2013

Fiddler's Arms, Grassmarket, Edinburgh

It is frustrating when, having stood at a bar waiting to get served for almost five minutes, I get overlooked by a barmaid in favour of a Johnny-come-Lately who waltzes in and has a pint in his hand within 30 seconds.

This has happened to me countless times over the years and it occured once again at the Fiddler’s Arms.

I wouldn’t have minded so much if the place had been packed, but I was the only punter at the bar for four and a half of those minutes.

I was perilously close to walking out when the manager saw the steam coming out of my ears and poured me a pint. Thank crikey for that.

And what a nice pint it was too – Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted (4.2%).

It’s a blonde beer, light, zesty and thirst-quenching. To use a well-worn phrase, it was worth the wait. However, that doesn’t mean the barmaid was off the hook.

The Fiddler’s Arms is smart boozer on the corner of Edinburgh’s quaint Grassmarket area which, in many respects, is a microcosm of the city itself.

It’s had various names and paint jobs over the years, but its current incarnation can be summed up in three words; small, cool and cosy.

Despite it’s relatively recent revamp it feels lived-in and strikes me as the kind of venue where punters could be equally at home reading a newspaper in the early afternoon as they would taking in a gig in the evening.

Which brings me on nicely to the undoubted highlight of my visit to the Fiddlers Arms, the live music, which is in plentiful supply in the Scottish capital.

A two-man band called The Mutineers played a guitar and a drum and sang classic tracks from the last 40 years. These two guys gave the pub life and soul.

There was no need for huge sound systems, big fanfares or hollering and whooping from the crowd, but there was every need to just sit back, relax and enjoy their assured acoustic performance. I loved it.

If only my local back in London had nights like that.

To be honest, there are better boozer’s nearby, so may I suggest you head to the Fiddler’s Arms early in the night, have a beer or two to whet your whistle then head off somewhere slightly more exciting.


ADDRESS: 11-13 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HY. 01312 292665.

ATMOSPHERE: *** Intimate. A mixture of diners and tourists.

DECOR: *** Modern but classy, with stone flooring, patterned wallpaper. Televisions showing Sky News were unobtrusive.

PRICE: Couldn’t tell you I’m afraid. Such was my relief at getting served that I could have paid a tenner for all I know.

SERVICE: * I got served, eventually. That deserves a star.