.ue bar cafe

l0 Cambridge Street. 221 I222. Sun

l 1.30am—5pm; Mon—Tue

l 1.30am—midnight; Wed—Sat

l l.30am—lam.

A cool oasis of tranquillity just off the bustle and noise of Lothian Road. blue remains one of lidinburgh's most stylish liatiiits. combing simple pale wood. steel and glass to surprisingly understated effect. lt‘s frequented by huddles of sophisticated types and cool couples who congregate to enjoy the quiet life. Situated atop the Traverse Theatre. the cafe' serves a range of coffees and alcohol. and pushes the boat out with an interesting and innovative menu. liven at its busiest. blue always manages to give the impression that it's filled with light and space. Happy hour: Mort—Thu 5—6pni. 30‘? off all drinks; 0-7pm. 20‘? offal! drinks;

7- 8pm. [0‘1 offal] (lrinks.

Cafe Aquarius

l0 Drummond Street. 557 (i337. Mon—Sun l lam—lam.

The interior design of Aquarius is a heady experiment in kitsch and space-age luridness. right down to the metallic bucket seats and oversized cartoon spaceman mural. liven the red and purple exterior suggests that this is a place fora party. not a wake. lf boom is what's required. then it's in plentiful supply. cocktails being a particular favourite among the young. fun-loving crowd. But a party does not run on an empty stomach. and Aquarius has a small btit perfectly formed menu of meals and snacks to satisfy the hungriest of hedonists.

Happy hour: Fri 6— 9pm cheap cocktails. six bottled heers or Bacardi [freezers for

£9. ‘3

Cafe Habana

22 Cireenside Place. 558 1270. Mon—Thu \

noon—midnight; Fri—Sat noon—lam; Sun -’


The red neon sign above the door .5

welcomes you into a world of Cuban 1}

delights. Bushy palm trees guide drinkers into the main bar area where dancing. it . appears. is most heartily encouraged. The at rainbovv-coloured lighting sits at odds with the subdued dark wood exterior. which could be a more distinguished nod in the direction of the Playhouse Theatre fl, next door. However. Cafe Habana is , frequented by more than the occasional theatre-goer scores of up-for-it pre- 7 clubbers loosen up their limbs here to the sound of salsa.

Happy hour: .WUIl—Fl‘l 5—8pm. all

cocktails [2.50.

Catwalk Cafe 2a Picardy Place. 478 7771. Mon—Sun l lam—lam.

Living tip to its name by being the ~

hangout for many of the city‘s more lashion-conscious citizens. this two-

floored style bar boasts pale but 4

interesting decor (and matching clientele). If you‘re not there to be seen yourself. the lloor-to-ceiling glass frontage makes it the perfect place to watch a more beautiful world go by. Each evening the downstairs dancefloor fills to a soundtrack courtesy of various local DJs. Concrete. steel and glass are in abundance decor-wise. but this is no Mad Max film set warm lighting and enthusiastic service make it a more enticing prospect.

The City Cafe

l‘) Blair Street. 220 0125. Mon—Sun

l lam—lam.

The City Cafe is sufficient evidence to suggest that true style never goes out of fashion. This bar has kept its retro- Americana decor for many years. and is all the better for it. Patronised by the pre- club set. hardened pool sharks and genteel but sophisticated lunchers alike. it provides a hospitable hostelry and space to listen to the likes of Murray Richardson and Yogi Haughton indulging in a bit of turntable trickery of an evening in the basement.

Euba Norte

192 Morrison Street. 22l 1430. Mon—Sun l lam—lam.

As the west end of the city’s little Havana. Cuba Norte is sure to defrost the coldest lidinburgh residents in an instant. Despite its peculiar shape. this warmly decorated. comfortable bar provides generous helpings of both drink and authentic food for an extremely varied crowd and all to a luscious Latin. salsa and Afro-Cuban soundtrack. Look out for salsa dance lessons on Monday and Wednesday and merengue lessons on Thursday. Remember to treat yourself to a genuine Cuban cigar afterwards. if you're brave enough.

Happy hour: Mon—Fri 5.30—8pm. jugs of cocktails [7.95. selected beers [1.50.


air fe

The designers

In the recent explosion of design~led hip kids' hangouts, Glasgow-based company Graven Images have led the field in the creation of cool yet comfortable social spaces. This may be down to their committed approach; Managing Director Ross Hunter emphasizes that every project is approached With an eye not on the latest interior design gimmick, but on atmosphere and organisation of the

space itself.

’Choosing the right bits of bendy metal is secondary,’ he notes, referring to the craze for bare wood and



EH1 Bar and Brasserie

l‘)7 High Street. 220 5277. Mon—Sun 9am— I am.

Housed among the tartan tea towels of the High Street. EH1 appeals to those in need of a satisfying lunch as much as those who pack both the bar and the back room for pre-club sounds. Multi-coloured walls welcome all-comers. and access to boom is easy at a bar which stretches down the front room. The clientele vary from city centre workers to a whole host of lidinburgh's club regulars. ensuring a mix of people that's as vibrant as the decor.

Happy hour: Thu—Sat 6—-8pni. 3-for-2 offers on wine. spirits and pitchers.


19—20 Teviot Place. 220 (i880; Leven Street. 22l I800. Mon—Sun 8am—3am. Favorit blends the best of 90s design with the best in retro kitsch. Decked out like a 50s diner. the attention to detail is second to none. right down to the Happy Days- esque booths and the dinky stands on which the menus hang. Because of the table service. it's a great place for the lazy to enjoy a few swift halves and the kind of snacks (salads. sandwiches and tapas) that satisfy but don't interrupt your drinking. Despite the fact that the original Favorit is to be found on Teviot Place. you're as

likely to see older folk enjoying a latte and

a read of the paper as gaggles of scholars taking a break from their studies.

wrought iron that still hasn’t loosed its grip on our cities. ’We did that at The LiVing Room [Glasgow] with a specific mood in mind kind of agricultural kitsch. But it’s very easy to copy any

charlatan can tear off plasterboard and expose brick.’ Hunter feels that designers tend to follow fashion blindly. ’Often they forget about the basic operation of the place, never mind the personahty,’ he notes. Graven lmages’ own approach to Edinburgh's Favorit bar/deli/cafes, by contrast, took into account the premises' multiple functions and used as a reference pomt the traditional Scottish/Italian cafe. 'Certain subtle things like that have more impact than whether the walls

are blue or green.’ (Hannah McGill)

lgl J .i i"

-ll Lothian Street. 220 4288. Mon Sun ‘)am-— I am.

Adjacent to Bristo Square and the city's main educational establishments. Iguana has. unsurprisingly. its fair share of students propping up the bar. The food. coffees and chill-out mood provide the focus during the day. while the evening sees the clientele reappear dressed tip. The regulars are by no means exclusively students. more a party crowd who make the most of lguana's entertainment when the cream of lidinburgh’s l)Js (including Manga's (j-Mac and soul and funk master Bob Cairns) show tip to show off. Special offers: Well ‘2 /lpm. I’ri 5 7pm. 2-vfor-l al/ pitchers. cocktails shorts and drought.

iilLii'} ' I ‘~ 7 Charlotte Lane. 220 5(i03. Mon Sun 8.30am—lam. Open until 3am for festive

Indigo Yard makes innovative use of a space that feels more like the bit between two buildings. The glass ceiling. balcony and rough stone walls show imagination even if the obligatory ‘style bars‘ jars of fruit do not. The stone-floored main area serves the needs of the post-office hours \Vest lind crowd. while the more intimate back area is perfect for those more intent on sampling the extensive menu or getting on with deep and meaningful discussion. A good choice for those who want an early start to the weekend bun.

Happy hour: Thu 5 7pm tasting sessions with special offers afterwards ; Fri

5- 7pm 2-for—l pitchers. draught beer and shorts.

The List Bar Guide 199913