Owned by the same Walker family dynasty since it opened its doors in the 1920s, this wonderful traditional- eccentric watering hole, complete with original taxidermy crocodiles hanging behind the bar and eclectic Festival fringe fliers from years gone by adorning the ceiling, is one of the Capital's iconic and much loved pubs. Not least due to it playing host to a number of famous patrons, showmen and musicians of recent times...Some of whom still take centre stage in our toilets, should you care to pull up a pew.
Standing on the site of the 16th century Old Flodden Wall and tucked away just off the Royal Mile, the Waverley Bar is steeped in history from its foundations up. From street level, the original Victorian 1891 exterior sets this bar apart from its neighbouring craft beer bars, chain eateries and modern look contemporaries with its smart unassuming black and white frontage, arched barley twist mullions and deep dental cornicing, flanked by Bacchus the God of Wine. It certainly hints at least at the possibility of something rather unique inside.
It was in the 1960's, when the next generation Walker, lan and his brother, were to take ownership of The Waverley Bar, that it developed its most loyal and devoted following. It was at this time that the upstairs lounge built a reputation as a foot-stomping folk venue' growing talent and nurturing some of The Greats on Waverley soil. Billy Connolly, The Clancy Brothers, The Corries, Gerry Rafferty, The Dubliners and Barbara Dickson all cut their teeth and succumbed to the charm and draw of this place where folk, ballad and storytelling magic was made and will still be made today. A genteel and welcoming landlord, lan was know to his patrons as The Captain' and the bar "His Ship'. If you didn't like the way he steered it, you took your business elsewhere."
His formidable ways included a zero tolerance policy to bad language, prohibition of under 21's and mobile phones were heavily discouraged. Other Waverley-centric traditions included free Tesco's own-brand crisps to his patrons (multipack for variety, we are reliably told) and sometimes (in a slightly more questionable approach to business husbandry) operating his opening and closing hours as he pleased (even if you had just been served a fresh pint!). Since opening her doors again in May 2017, the bar has changed very little. As her new custodians, we have restored her with the gentlest of hands, literally dusting her down, reinstating the toilets to put an end to 'the faint smell of urine', however fondly that was recalled by locals and regulars, painting her where needed and then opening the doors. The ship sails again.
an Edinburgh institution for over 8 decades.