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Malt Shovel, Edinburgh

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user reviews of the Malt Shovel, Edinburgh

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Here again, following the Camra Pub Walks for completion. Prices have gone up peaking at £4.70 for a Greene King Amplified.

A functional pub.

Visit blogged at
Mappiman - 13 Jul 2017 17:51
Was out for a beer with an old friend recently and we decided to visit our old haunt. Shouldn't have bothered!

Ridiculous prices - pint of ale for me and a Schiehallion lager for my mate came to a spit off ten quid!! The ale tasted ok but rapidly turned into something like cold black tea. Like a lot of city centre bars, there is a heavy focus on food and bar staff are taken up dealing with that in preference of serving those just wanting a drink. For instance, I was stood at the bar for a couple of minutes whilst the harried single bar-girl rattled up diners' drinks and continued to take drinks orders from a floor waitress. The bar was half-empty and I waited nearly five minutes before I actually got a chance to order.

No way was I staying there with the prices, and the quality of the ale. I think that was my final visit to The Maltshovel.
Coldie_Redux - 31 Oct 2015 11:44
Glad I wasnt the only one to question the prices. I was quite incredulous that my pint was £4.10 and a diet coke was £2.25. Actually questioned the bar man.

The Loch Ness was excellent and its probably only slightly more expensive than other pubs visited but for some reason It stood out.

Nice enough place and breaks up the stiff walk up Cockburn St.
Mappiman - 6 Oct 2014 21:01
First pub on day two of my recent visit. Lovely inside with friendly locals and keen bar staff. I made the mistake of not checking the blackboard for the prices. I was stung big time, £4.10 a pint!

If Edinburgh is trying to imitate London, then they're succeeding. Even if I was a millionaire, on principle, I would refuse these prices.

Get a grip.
realalerules1983 - 13 May 2014 13:47
It's sad when you see one of your old haunts on the skite.

Stopped the regular visits about 4 years ago though have made small forays into the 'shovel now and again, just to see if it's improved. Took my Irish GF in there when showing her the sights and found the MS is now a garlishly lite students' bar. All things must change, I suppose, but the service was offhand, right down to the dropping of change from a height into your hand.
Coldie_Redux - 26 Jul 2011 06:57
In for lunch last Sunday: place empty (unlike most places in the city centre) but we couldn't see why. Very good, enjoyed it, food a bit pricy but what do you expect ? Good selection of beers, as said by previous reviewer.
davercox - 27 May 2011 09:38
4 ales on when I was there, Duchars IPA, Caledonian 80/, Harviestoun B&T and Stewars Edinburgh Gold - I had the last one as I not seen it before - it was good and barman took sparkler off and topped up pint without me requesting he do so. Good mix of locals and tourists - good pub 8/10.
kernott1 - 23 Dec 2010 14:46
Vistied this pub for the first time in a few years just to have a couple of drinks. Not only were the drinks good, but I luckily went on a Tuesday night to find a folk music duo called Espial playing. Ended up staying the rest of the night, superb entertainment from this young duo. Will definitely go back to see them again. Lovely pub, great staff, great drink, brilliant music! Recommend highly!
jim_d - 2 Apr 2010 14:21
This was a really nice edinburgh boozer until like so many it got the customary makeover , the emphasis shifting to food for tourists .

The place has gone downhill without a doubt , and the staff look like they couldnt care less.
beersteer - 20 Jan 2010 17:57
good ale, good music - folk, jazz and blues - worht a visit - not sure on the whisky front but certainly a cracking vibe at weekends.
upyourpub - 31 Dec 2009 10:58
I had been told that this was a great place for a single malt (not my usual tipple) so was sorely disappointed to see the shelves on the back bar filled with the usual dodgy looking house wine, it seems Punch has struck again. Still the atmosphere on a late afternoon was relaxing and the staff wre well able to chat with a stranger in town and serve other customers at the same time! Deuchar's IPA and Caledonian 80/- were great and I had no trouble with the bar stools. Will be going back next time I am in town.
wiwwyp - 4 Jul 2009 09:50
Really nothing wrong with this pub. Friendly bar staff and the ale was fine (Deuchars ipa). Commended
darloexile - 2 Apr 2009 21:35
Spent 10 mins in there trying to get served. The bar was quiet and there was no queue, but there was only one barmaid on and she was trying to take food orders and serve the tables! It was Saturday afternoon...

Beer wasn't very good and the stools (I tried three) were as wobbly as fcuk! I'm glad I wasn't too "far gone" as the stool would have gotten the better of me!

iamspartacus - 21 Jan 2008 01:23
And yet again.

Mate and I popped in there last Friday around 8pm. Place was dead bar one guy at the bar. Whilst I was scanning the whisky gantry, I caught the (new?) Elmer Fudd-a-like barman doing the nudge-nudge and the nod-of-the -head to his pal at the bar about us. We sat in complete silence; the vibe was appalling, so we just got up, left the drinks, and went. Awful, and a bloody shame to see a once-vibrant boozer going downhill. Doe anyone know who's running this bar these days?
Coldie - 11 Jan 2008 13:36

Disgruntled? No. As stated, the bar is an old haunt of mine that I loved, and it was being run into the ground by successive bad management. However, I did pop in last night, and what a change! Will have to try an afternoon stint again, before I an convinced, though.

You sound like one of those scowling cooncil wallahs that live in there,. Are you?? :-)
Coldie - 15 Dec 2007 12:19
I'm afraid I have to disagree with the last posting. I was due in here for a leaving do so checked it out the day before as well. On both days the staff were really pleasant and friendly. The beer was clear as a bell and although Deuchars and Landlord weren't on early doors, both came on later that evening. Nice pub, well kept beer and happy smiling staff. I think the last poster may have been very unlucky or very disgruntled for some reason ...
SCFC1883 - 14 Sep 2007 18:46
Well, I have to change my tune.

I've been watching the demise of this pub since the beginning of this year. The crap make-over, the cessation of food orders in the affy, and the un-hygenic, unrepairable gents' toilets! They've had four price hikes since January, and the beer - ale and lagers - is not being kept right. Popped in there yesterday with a mate to see if any improvements, but no. Soul-less, and a shit pint. One step away from a jakey's den! Drew Nicol would be alarmed at what's happend to a once vibrant boozer!
Coldie - 5 Sep 2007 13:33
The decor's a bit new, bright and shiney for it to have a proper 'pub' feel to it but it was friendly and fun.
MrScott - 6 Nov 2006 14:55
An excellent Boozer, and most probably my fave! Quaffing here since 1990, and the current management are pretty good and keep the pipes clean. Nice big windows, where one can sit and relax and watch the panoply of human life that traipses by, in all its glory!!
Coldie - 6 Jun 2006 09:00
Fairly relaxed pub-lot of seating with limited standing areas.Decent pint on draught.Didnt like the way they dropped leaflets on your tables at 7.15pm to say `these tables are reserved from 7.45pm`.....This is not very customer friendly to say the least!
Worth fortifying yourself in here before attempting the @125 steps-opposite the pub- upto the Royal Mile.
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 19 Nov 2005 11:38
I learned to drink Scotch there. Wonderful place in a wonderful town. The Malt Shovel exemplifies Edinburgh as on of the most romantic towns in Europe.
Nicko - 12 Jul 2004 02:06
quiet old style pub. good selection of beers cask and draught. good for a relaxing pint and chat with friends
Jock Wilson - 24 Jul 2003 14:05

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