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Abbotsford, Edinburgh

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user reviews of the Abbotsford, Edinburgh

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

A great pub for whisky – I forked out £7.40 for an Ardmore fifteen year vintage – which given I know as much about whisky as pole dancing – was perhaps a bit silly. It tasted good though, as did the beers n another visit – dark Munro mild was especially impressive.
BoehmBawerk - 21 Jan 2018 09:49
Another unassuming pub from the outside which reveals a gorgeous interior.

Again, its the ceiling and the island bar that make this special.

Decent local ales.

Visit blogged at
Mappiman - 25 May 2017 13:33
Old favourite of mine while visiting Edinburgh. This place used to be a regular Friday lunchtime pint or two for me in the late 80's. It has not changed much apart the nicotine stains it had back then. Beers are still good and fairly handy for the station.

Still popular with office workers, tourists and Rose Street pub crawls.

Food can be expensive but it looks and tastes very good. You get what you pay for.

Only criticism is that the service can be pretty hit or miss depending on who serves you.
droggs - 14 Oct 2016 16:57
The first stop on our first visit to Edinburgh. An amazing interior and an interesting choice of ales, served by the traditional Scottish water-engines. A great introduction to a great drinkers' city.
scoobybooze - 14 Aug 2015 17:10
Just time for one more pub on my first day in Edinburgh. The Abbotsford is at the eastern end of Rose Street. I understand the western end is much busier. It was very quiet in here. Although it was late on a Sunday evening. Has a lovely interior and as I remember, service was fine. Ales were Windswept Wolf & Aurora, Strathaven Old Mortality, Orkney Pale Ale & Oakham Citra.
blue_scrumpy - 30 Jul 2015 21:18
Great pub with a largely original interior and fantastic ceiling.
Some very interesting beers all well kept.
My favourite stop in Edinburgh.
maxipop - 8 May 2015 20:28
An early evening visit found this bar to be full of office workers, shoppers and tourists enjoying an interesting choice of ales and no arrogance at all from the staff who all appeared polite and friendly. Easy to see why it's on the Camra list of heritage interiors. I would have no hesitation over another visit.
yellowfever - 10 Dec 2014 11:14
I last reviewed this bar in 2006 on this site and NOTHING has changed with regard to the staff attitude. It positively reeks of arrogance. One guy, and Irish fella, is actually quite polite and attentive but the other guys seem to prefer talking loudly to each other or with regulars they are familiar with. Sometimes, trying to catch their attention for another drink can be frustrating. The two or three women that are sometimes on shift can be attentive but don't come across as being too friendly.

There is a closed-shop, boys' own attitude in this place and it RUINS one of Edinburgh's finest bars! And the habit of loudly cleaning and tidying up around 10pm really puts you off wanting to hang around any long, which is what I did. And no 'thank you' from any of the staff as I left. I guess they don't give a f***!

Stewarts need to get a grip on what's going on in here.
Coldie_Redux - 15 Oct 2014 09:33
Great pub. Tourist prices admittedly, but damn good beers on. They had a great Black IPA from Alchemy Brewery on and Oakham Bishop's Farewell too plus numerous others. The food was OK too.
littledrummerboy - 29 Sep 2014 21:52
Weird reviews! Always fine when I go in. Food fine, beer decent, friendly staff, tourists looked after but drinking fellas looked after too. Solid 8. They do a half portion of haggis too for under a fiver which is nice.
dry_riser_inlet - 17 Aug 2014 19:16
Ho hum. 4 good real ales, décor and island bar attractive. Prices touristy. Staff up themselves, and much more interested in important admin tasks and each other, than serving customers. Does no-one understand the importance of looking around you to see who's waiting? Not here anyway. Much better service in the Kenilworth, Ma Scott's & even the Café Royal these days. No WiFi.
deuchyboy - 30 Jun 2013 19:34
All the main ale bars around Waverley are okay - much of a muchness and worth dropping in to but nothing that special.
anonymous - 18 Apr 2013 20:30
Very nice pub to visit but not the best we went into last weekend. Pleasant pint but not much else.
paulbeckett - 12 Apr 2013 19:01
This is very recommended in the pub guide as the best pub in Edinburgh but it didn't live up to its billing. Good décor and typical Scottish ales but nothing made it stand out above the other good pubs in the city.
busker999 - 8 Apr 2013 20:34
FULL of the scotch. Couldn't wait to leave. Be warned. Thanks, Edward and Catherine, Surrey.
benton - 8 Apr 2013 16:05
Interesting old pub with impressively knowledgable staff who know about beer. Good choice of ale.
Floyd - 29 Oct 2012 15:40
Thought it was a good, busy pub with good selection of ales and whiskies - unfortunately it is in Rose St which I don't particularly think is that nioce an area of Edinburgh.
kernott1 - 24 Oct 2012 20:16
I used to like this pub but my recent experience has now put me off it. I was pleased to see Fyne Ales "Jarl" on sale - this is one of my favourite beers - so I ordered a pint. Sadly it didn't taste like the pint I had just had in Thomsons Bar so I suggested that it might be near the end of the cask. I got the usual bumff - everyone else is drinking it; nobody else has complained' it was alright at lunchtime etc etc. Another barperson was furiously pulling off pints of the stuff into a jug but I was not told why. The barman took a sample from my glass (via a straw!!!) and went over to discuss the beer with the manager. Nothing wrong with that he proclaimed. Fair enough I said and walked out (yes I know I should have asked for a nother beer or my money back but I was so annoyed I didn't want any more hassle). This pub has lost my vote!
mcroyal - 12 May 2012 17:28
Tucked away on Rose St just back from Princes St this pub is another traditional pub

It has an island bar from the early 1900's which had 5 ales on draught, 3 from the same local brewery.

Atmosphere was pleasant for early on a Saturday evening.

Would probably come back, preferred it to The Guildford.

lezford - 19 Apr 2012 13:30
Pretty crowded but excellent beer and quick service given the number of people in the pub. Worth a visit.
paul154 - 31 Jan 2012 16:47
half a glass of beer poured, then left to stand while barrel changed. Pint topped off thereafter. I requested a fresh pint and was told to 'take it or leave it'. I said I dont want it and was then told I was no longer being served - I asked for the manager and was told that the person serving me was the manager.
I have never been refused service in my life, and am disgusted at this attitude - my colleague and I had been drinking happily for several hours before this stupid and offensive incident. To insult me further, the 'manager' gave the poured beer free to a customer standing beside me and gave my colleague his drink 'on the house'. My views: stuffy atmosphere, poor attitude to product quality, lack of customer focus and belligerent and insulting attitude. DONT DRINK HERE. I went a few doors along to Milnes of Rose Street - great atmosphere, friendly and cheerful staff, good beer and a nice chap called Charley who told me he had been refused drink in the Abbotsford too - because he tried to pay with coins...odds of that seem pretty high so there are bound to be more of you out there.
I will never set foot in the Abbotsford again, warn your friends and colleagues.
steved2512 - 31 Dec 2011 13:21
A City centre pub 2 minutes from Princes Street, with superb decoration within and a fine 'Island Bar.' Four beers on which were well kept
ahscum - 25 Jul 2011 21:46
Friendly pub on Rose Street with a good choice of real ales
arihall - 3 Dec 2010 16:18
Attractive looking pub in the inside with a restaurant upstairs where I had a very Nice Haggis Neeps and Tatties, the beers were from Micros mainly , the only one I remember was the Houston Texas. The beers were on ok form only. I went in the afternoon and found the Dark bar downstairs led to every punter looking particularly miserable,maybe it was the rain,or them being on the fringe of the Fringe.
Henners - 18 Aug 2010 19:00
This is one of a dwindling number of pubs on Rose Street worth visiting, a distinctive red sandstone building with one of the most impressive interiors in Edinburgh. The pub is a single large room with an intricately carved mahogany island bar and a decorative ceiling in green and cream painted plaster. There is fixed seating around the walls with and stools around the bar. In one corner, opposite the bar, is an equally impressive mahogany food counter with back gantry and mirrored panels.
Five handpumps dispensing Orkney IPA and Dark Island, Wylam Gold Tankard, Stewart's Copper Cascade and Strathaven Avondale. I had a pint of the Avondale which was a refreshing amber ale.
On my visit I found the pub to be harshly lit and lacking in atmosphere. Nevertheless it is one of the most beautiful pubs in Edinburgh and should not be missed.
holbornboy - 16 Apr 2010 00:04
One of Edinburgh's classics which now seems out of place around the chain stores and bars that surround it. Classic sandstoen building with rustic sign and half-frosted windows (see picture). Inside, an excellent gantried mahogany island bar serves 1 large room which is full of brewery mirrors in typical Edinburgh style. Leather seating and traditional chairs, and a large gas fire at the back of the pub create an unspoilt, timeless feel. Real ale is served through traditional Scottish fonts and is predominantly from Scottish microbreweries, had one from the Ayrshire brewery which was spot on. Wit h the exception of the Kenilworth, this is the only place to head to amongst the ordinary bars of Rose Street. Two minutes from Cafe Royal and Guildford makes it easy to get to.
Carlurmston - 23 Dec 2009 13:18
Good Pub, good beers but vicious and vindictive Bouncers.
Do not use your mobile within earshot of them. If they do not like your conversation they bar you without any right of appeal. The 5 others in our party all left because I was not allowed back in. I voiced my opinion of them to another person on the phone. The first time I have ever been barred from a pub. I am sorry to say I will not be visiting the pub again.
KentishScot - 25 Jul 2009 09:06
Paid a couple of visits on a recent trip to Edinburgh. This is the best pub on Rose Street that I found (and I tried most although not all in one day !). Really nice interior and Island bar. Welcoming staff and good quality ales. I especially liked the Stewart ESB. Made use of the seats outside on Edinburgh's one hot day of the year. This is a nice pub don't miss it.
Grailhunter - 10 Jul 2009 17:02
Best pub on Rose Street by far. Went in here a couple of times on my recent trip to Edinburgh. On both occasions it was welcoming and not too busy. Enjoyed ales from Stewart Brewing (the ESB was very nice). The decor and Island bar are terrific. Don't miss it.
Grailhunter - 10 Jul 2009 16:56
Late comment from August. Another new one for me, and enjoyed beers from Hadrian and Border, Strathhaven, and Cairngorm. Good selection.
gillhalfpint - 15 Jan 2009 10:02
Normally pop in the Abbotsford when in Edinburgh. I do like the island bar and the place has a canny atmosphere too. Beer was ok as well. Not a bad little bar at all!
scoreboard1 - 8 Dec 2008 16:28
From the outside this pub doesn't look very appealing. The windows are now half coloured black, so you can't see inside, and a tv screen has been placed in the middle of each window normally showing menus (although some pictures of the inside do pop up.) Once inside though, you are inside a traditional pub, as mentioned, a great ceiling (as in lots of edinburgh pubs) and a cracking island bar. 5 stewert ales were available, poured using one of the traditional scottish air dispense taps. We tried 4 different ales, all got good marks, but mine had a few lumps in the head. (first out of the cask that day.) Would certainly visit again.
barcelona26051999 - 28 Oct 2008 05:05
beer very variable
driefontainen - 25 Aug 2008 14:09
Its not the same since Stevie left.
kelvnz - 7 Aug 2008 00:47
A really beautiful city pub, especially the ceiling. Must visit if you're in the centre of Edinburgh.
malone - 18 Jul 2008 14:40
I too "want" to like this pub. But the ales I have had in the last three visits (Jan, Mar & May 08) have been flat and lifeless. More often than not the bar staff pour until any head that develops is sliding down the glass to the floor. Ladies are annoyingly up stairs and often less than clean.
Boongie - 17 May 2008 19:35
Very nice looking pub, unfortunately with the dubious overflow return system for their cask ales. The couple of ales I had seemed to be in good condition though. Did not eat.
Sigmund - 20 Dec 2007 02:17
Always a good pint here. It was pleasing to read that a top up was not questioned. Generally well staffed.
Can get busy at lunchtimes and early evening
LickeyEndBooze - 12 Oct 2007 10:05
Popped in for a swift pint after work and generally impressed with the bar.

Staff seemed friendly enough but served an extremely short pint - even the generous head never got near the top of the glass. But it was topped up without quibble when I asked.

What an amazing ceiling.

GrahamA - 29 Mar 2007 12:41
anonymous - 9 Feb 2007 22:18
I wanted to like this place but I'm sorry to say that I have to concur with the views expressed by mtaylor and Coldie. The pint of Hyde's I was served was rank and had bits floating in it something that the staff didn't seem particularly concerned about. There are too many better pubs nearby where the ales are properly taken care of to bother with this place.
johnkn7 - 23 Oct 2006 16:03
I pop in here maybe twice, three times a year. Was in last week, and let me tell you this: the barmen in there do not deserve that title! Next to no service, with no conversation at all from the guy I ordered and paid my coin to; not a word of acknowledgement or thanks. They put the TV on around 6pm, wherby they all jumped up and down to see their pub and their boss(?) on the telly, then shut the thing off again once that news bulletin was done. 'Can I see the rest of the news?', said I, and was ignored by all barstaff, too busy chatting with the pot-bellied suits that normal shore up that place.

Gone downhill. Bigstyle! Still, if you are lucky you can get a frisson of excitement sometimes, rubbing shoulders with cast members from Take the High Road!
Coldie - 29 Aug 2006 16:31
I used to drink here years ago when I was a student in Edinburgh. I was delighted to find that it hadn't changed, a small but well kept range of cask ales, including Broughton Greenmantle IPA, which was superb! They also had Abbotsford Ale, which is actually Atlas Brewers Three Sisters, rebadged for the Abbotsford, and again, another crackin' beer.On my visit Anchor Steam Beer was also available on draught @ 3.40/pint!!! I passed on that one.I hear great things about the food avaliable here but as I haven't tried it I can't offer an opinion. I can however highly recommend this superb bar.
budvar_1 - 23 Mar 2006 00:31
One for lovers of great pub interiors, but real ales not great - many better options close by
mtaylor40 - 8 Feb 2006 21:45
Great looking 1 room pub with an island bar.The IPA wasnt the best I've had,but the surroundings are excellent.Dark wooded walls with really well crafted wooden triangular lintel.Bright freshly painted stucco appreciate the room whilst trying to work out which real ale to try next
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 19 Nov 2005 11:00
Such a lovely pub, proper old school and Stevie the barman what more do i have to say!
francie_star - 22 May 2005 23:19
Still a fine place. Real ales, efficient staff, good food.
joegreen - 22 Apr 2005 13:01
Whenever I'm in the Capital the abbotsford is a must let alone the upstairs' restaurant.
Mr M Ollikainen - 12 Sep 2004 17:01
I've eaten Haggis in a lot of places in Edinburgh, but if you want the best, go here! Their littel restaurant upstairs is top knotch!

John Harrison - 7 Mar 2004 03:33
If you must go to the bog inn Edinburgh, go here! Awesome Victorian fittings and incredibly comfortable wooden seats..........
Joe_Cundy - 26 Dec 2003 20:53
The first, or last, pub at the east end of Rose Street. Despite the uninspiring exterior this is a nice looking pub inside. There is a large island bar with good service and a good range of real ales. Seating around three sides of the pub is popular for lunchtime meals and there is a restaurant upstairs.
Millay - Milla[email protected] - 28 Nov 2003 16:57

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