For more on the Edinburgh’s Southside visit www.list.co.uk > Six of the Best
ATTRACTIONS Eating & Drinking: Southside
■ THE MEADOWS Come rain or shine there is something undeniably special about the Meadows. Since Melville Drive opened in the mid- 19th century, as part of a Southside development, it has proved a popular spot to spend an afternoon, whether lounging around with a picnic, walking, cycling or taking part in activities like frisbee, cricket or British Military Fitness workouts. In and around Melville Drive.
Susie’s Diner 51–53 West Nicolson Street, 0131 667 8729 Nestled in the capital’s student heartland, the meat-free menu has plenty to keep the taste buds tempted, from pasta bakes and stews to stir fries and flans. A mix-n-match approach allows ample opportunity to try a little of what you fancy. Exhibitions often line the walls, while communal tables encourage you to stay a while and chatter, long after the food is cleared. The Pear Tree 38 West Nicolson Street, 0131 667 7533 Ah, the Pear Tree. A firm favourite in summer because of its large cobbled beer garden, there is still plenty of reason to be cheerful in the winter. The inside bar does old-style boozer with suitable aplomb, while a well stocked bar and regular music and quiz nights ensure there’s plenty up for grabs if you fancy making a night of it.
Brass Monkey 14 Drummond Street, 0131 556 1961 Nestled on Drummond Street, and equidistant to Clerk Street and Pleasance, Brass Monkey manages to brush off the identikit pub mantle and showcase its own unique take on proceedings. A mixed, friendly clientele ensures there’s always someone propping up the bar, while the popular back room, complete with cinema, rug and scatter cushions, ensures that quirkiness is achieved here in spades.
The Engine Shed 19 St Leonard’s Lane, 0131 662 0040 Something a little special here courtesy of the folks at Engine Shed and their family friendly café. Sitting above an organic bakery where breads, cakes and tray-bakes, oatcakes and tofu are produced by trainees with learning difficulties, the incredible aromas alone are enough to make you hang around and try out the produce, whether it’s the wraps, soups and quiches or the vast, very tasty, array of homemade cakes. Negociants 45–47 Lothian Street, 0131 225 6313 Negociants has long been a stalwart of the drinking scene in Edinburgh. Bamboo chairs and a decent food menu sit alongside reasonably priced booze, making a burger or plate of nachos a surprisingly civilised option at the end of the night. Those looking to warm up can enjoy their hot chocolate, while those looking to wind down can enjoy the beers on tap before heading to the club downstairs.
Pink Olive 55–57 West Nicolson Street, 0131 662 4493 A relative newbie to the Southside, Pink Olive has injected some laidback glamour to proceedings with its stylish decor, chilled-out ambience and decent food options. Cocktails are on hand for those looking to bling it up a little, while the globally influenced menus (the pre-theatre is particularly good value) mean that this is a good shout, whatever the time of day.
■ SURGEONS’ HALL MUSEUM
With several collections and exhibitions, the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons plays host to one of the largest collections of surgical pathology material in the UK. Beginning life as a teaching museum for students of medicine, the fascinating, sometimes gory exhibits opened to the general public in 1832. Nicolson Street, 0131 527 1649.
It’s easy to write the Southside off, but with the incredible vintage offerings of Victoria Street and the Grassmarket close by, the area’s not without its charms and stands alone as something of a hub for second-hand record shops and fantastically-stocked charity shops. Heading up Clerk Street, Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation are particularly good options, alongside Cancer Research, Shelter, Barnardo’s and the Bethany Shop.
Further up, the sister store of the Grassmarket’s Armstrongs chain is an unmissable treasure trove of vintage fashions. For second-hand furnishings, look no further than Steptoes (see Don’t Miss). For retro clothing, wander the ten minutes from there to Trouve Vintage Clothing, on Causewayside, which boasts everything from 70s disco dresses to chiffon prom dresses. For homeware at bargain prices, there’s the straightforwardly titled Edinburgh Bargain Store on South Clerk Street.
The more techie-orientated can head for Nicolson Street’s Cancom, the Apple reseller store, which allows customers to try out and learn about Apple’s latest products and solutions. Close by, Forbidden Planet ensures comic lovers have plenty reason to be cheerful. While, music fans too have Varsity Music if they fancy a browse, or Ripping Records for CD and gig tickets and Hog’s Head Music of Edinburgh for second-hand records.
■ TALBOT RICE GALLERY Established over 30 years ago, this innovative gallery has showcased a wide breadth of talent and continues to draw interest both locally and internationally for its exhibitions throughout the year. University of Edinburgh, South Bridge, 0131 650 2210.
14 THE LIST 22 Oct–5 Nov 2009
Amanda Palmer at Forbidden Planet
P H O T O
: J O E G O R D O N