On another one of our Sunday walks we went to Summerhall, a sort of arts centre/studio space thing near us in the old veterinary school. I had only been in there once when it first opened (a couple of years ago?) and not been back, which was partly because it was on the wrong side of town for where we used to live and partly because it’s not exactly very public-friendly, they do do exhibitions that are supposedly for anyone, but when you walk in there is no signposting whatsoever and it’s just a big maze of relatively small rooms on long corridors, so you have no idea where you’re meant to be going, so chances are you just leave. That’s what we did when we walked in when it opened. Also, it’s really not accessible for wheelchair users, which I know since I tried to get in with the buggy. There’s a side entrance where you can buzz to go in, but the only way you would know about it is to ask at reception, which requires you to go up at least ten steps and to open a heavy non-automated door, which is a bit pathetic really for a building that is supposed to be for the public.
Oh dear, I appear to have started off this post with all the bad things about it!
Because now we live on that side of the city, and they do yoga classes in there, I went back and then I discovered that my friend works in the building next to it that’s affiliated with it, so I met her for coffee, and that’s when I discovered that there’s a pub, the Royal Dick, in the back courtyard AND it has a 10pm kiddies licence! This is so exciting to me, few pubs allow under 18s at all here, and then always just til 8pm. I think maybe this pub is classed as a restaurant, hence the later time.
So anyway, Dave and I went back on a Sunday lunchtime to check it out. It’s a really lovely place, lots of quirky decoration. The reason it’s called the Royal Dick is because that was the name of the vet school, and the decorations are vet, and more generally science, based. There’s lots of science tools and even more skulls. If seeing a cat skull upsets you, maybe this is not the place for you! It’s quite a big pub, with two smaller rooms off the side as well as the two main ones that could easily be rented out by groups.
The food was really tasty too, and good value. They just had a tapas (or sharing platters, as they call it) menu when we went, but there’s usually a bistro menu too, they were just in the process of updating it, so it wasn’t on for a couple of weeks. The tapas are not hugely veggie friendly, we had all the veggie options but one, but what there is is very good. Those patatas bravas were really quite excellent and not the stodgy filler they usually are.
The thing was, the pub was absolutely deserted, for ages we were the only customers, and by the time we left only three other tables were taken. It’s such a shame, because it’s really nice, and I’m a bit worried it won’t survive. I’ve mentioned it to loads of people and no one seems to even be aware that it’s there, which is not really surprising, given that the only sign of it from the outside of Summerhall is a small handwritten blackboard. I did ask them if it was always this quiet and the guy I spoke to talked about these functions they do for vet students, so I guess that keeps them going. But with a bit more promotion and word of mouth this could be a fabulous Sunday lunch type place.
The outside pictures are from the second courtyard. The colourful huts and posters are the remains of a music installation, 7×7 street, that was there during last year’s festival. And there’s also a microbrewery there, Barney’s, Edinburgh’s only one, which is actually just a guy called Barney, who still bottles every bottle himself apparently.
So, despite my negative intro, any Edinburghers or visitors reading this, I’d recommend a visit!
And yeah, Milo pretty much passed out for the whole duration of the trip! He does that sometimes!