Tall order

Edinburgh catches up with Glasgow as a new Wetherspoon pub, The Standing Order. opens in the capital. Words: Jonathan 'I’rew

Last year, when the Watford-based pub chain, Wetherspoon, opened its first Scottish pub, the Counting House, a former bank on Glasgow's George Square, it was difficult to predict just how successful it would be. Just under a year later, the Counting House has the highest food turnover in the entire Wetherspoon chain and, perhaps unsurprisineg given it's location in the heart of Glasgow's office land, sells more wine than it does beer. The converted bank is huge but is almost always busy; people just can’t seem to get enough of the Wetherspoon formula.

The Standing Order on Edinburgh’s George Street looks set to emulate the pulling power of its Glaswegian cousin. Set in another former Bank of Scotland building, which has been converted at a cost of £l.l million, the Standing Order has been renovated and restored over a five month period. As a Grade A listed building, the Standing Order boasts many of its original fittings

Le Sept

7 Old Fishmarket Close Edinburgh

Lunch and Dinner Monday to Thursday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday open all day

telephone 0131 225 5428

including genuine Adams fireplaces, huge chandeliers and a mind- bogglingly large safe which weighs in at twelve tonnes and stands six metres deep. There had been plans to remove the safe and use the space more effectively but after it took six weeks just to drill a hole through the thing, wiser counsel prevailed and decided to let it be.

Like all Wetherspoon pubs, the Standing Order is resolutely untrendy. Up-to-the minute banging house tracks by the latest happening DJ are notable by their absence, as is all music. The decor boasts not one heavily designed chair, metallic bar sculpture or garish wall daubing. Instead, the seats are comfortable, the bar is functional and the walls are easy on the eye. By no stretch of the imagination could it be called a style bar. Which, for many people, is about as close to heaven as a bar gets. Imagine a traditional Edinburgh boozer with all the attendant burnished brass, polished wood and snugs; multiply it in size by a factor of ten and give it a good clean that's the Standing Order, Manager Paul Beales sums up the pub's lack of flash aspirations

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The biggest Standing Order in Edinburgh

admirably: ’It will appeal to a variety of people who enjoy a meal or drink in quiet and comfortable surroundings.’ Those who do prefer their meal and drink in quiet and comfy surroundings will probably be impressed by the choice which the Standing Order offers. There are always at least six cask conditioned ales on sale along with regularly changing guest ales. Ten different wines are available, either by the glass or by the bottle. All the prices are significantly cheaper than most city centre pubs. Deuchar’s IPA goes for £1.50 as does Director's while their large wine measures cost £2.50 and

imagine a traditional Edinburgh boozer with all the attendant burnished brass, polished wood and snugs; multiply it in size by a factor of ten and give it a good clean - that's the Standing Order.

contain a third of a bottle. If there's enough demand for any particular drink which they don't sell then they'll happily track down the brewery and order up a cask.

As for food, the Standing Order does a relatively wide range of pub grub. Salmon fillet Provencale is perhaps the only dish that stands out from the burgers, baguettes and baltis, but then Wetherspoon pubs have never pretended to offer the cutting edge in culinary innovation. What there is is reasonably priced, well prepared and it comes in manageable portions. At the moment they are running a promotion, Mon—Sat, 4—7pm, offering two dishes for a fiver. Around a quarter of the Standing Order is a no-smoking zone and they also have very good wheelchair access from Rose Street.

What Wetherspoon provides are pubs which have few frills yet don‘t cut corners. Thrill seekers Will turn up their noses but I don't think that will stop the Standing Order becoming one of Edinburgh's busiest bars.

Edinburgh, The Standing Order, 62-66 George Street, 225 4460.

Side Orders Potting Shed Brasserie

Top chef David Cumming has moved from one of Glasgow's most prestigious restaurants, Rogano, to the Potting Shed Brasserie in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh. No stranger to Edinburgh, Cumming was head chef at the capital’s Witchery Restaurant for eight years from 1984 to 1992.

New menus have been created for the Potting Shed, all with a strong, modern European flavour. Sample dishes include grilled sea-bass roasted with chicory and sweet pepper; duck stir-fried with bean sprouts, served with glass noodles and honey roasted duck with ginger and lime.

The a‘ la carte dinner menu changes daily and the set menu changes twice a week with two courses at £15.50 and three at £19.50.

I Edinburgh: The Potting Shed, 69 Bruntsfie/d Place, 229 7393.


Glasgow has a new cafe bar in the form of Yello on Mitchell Street. An eclectic menu is available noon—8pm and all the food is made freshly on the premises. As the name suggests, yellow is a central component of the interior design although the piranha fish in the tropical fish tank are a more unusual eye-catcher. Watch out for more details in future issues.

I Glasgow: Yello, 33 Mitchell Street, 221 7226


Word reaches our insensitive lugs that Catwalk, the new ultra-style bar on Edinburgh's Picardy Place, is likely to open at the end of July after much delay. Details are a bit thin on the ground at the moment but soon as we know more, you will be the first to know. Some have said that it’s going to turn the already trendy Broughton Street area on its head.

Malmaison Edinburgh hotel Malmaison, a former seaman’s mission, has scooped a Catey in the Group Hotel Of The Year categOry. The Cateys are the hotel and catering equivalent of the Oscars. Opened in 1994 by Glaswegian entrepreneur Ken McCulloch, Malmaison has carved itself a reputation for being comfortable and stylish without being stuffy and is often used by rock 'n’ roll bands touring in the area. The fact that every bedroom has a CD player doesn't do the place any harm in the cred stakes either. (Jonathan Trew)

I Edinburgh: Malmaison, 7 Tower Place, 555 6868.

Edinburgh's Malmaison: Group Hotel Of The Year