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Volunteers Arms, Musselburgh

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user reviews of Volunteers Arms, Musselburgh

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

Don't go to Stagg's much these days, mainly because the rotation of ales has all but dried up. As another commenter points out, it's nearly all pale ales with most of it from Oakham breweries. There seems to be a penchant for hoppy ales in this bar, also some citra ones on tap regularly. The only non-pale is Silkie Stout, which can get a bit sickly on the palate after the third pint.

Bring back the old days of rotation and I'll start coming back. Not that they'd miss me for the bar is always busy.
Coldie_Redux - 26 Apr 2019 09:25
Wonderful pub on the backstreets of Musselburgh that was unfortunately packed to the rafters on the day of our visit, necessitating standing in the corridor and continually having to move to get out of people’s way. Oakham Citra was on and as excellent as ever.
BoehmBawerk - 21 Jan 2018 09:51
The Volunteer Arms is CAMRA's pub of the year for Scotland and Northern Ireland. So I had really high hopes and had booked accommodation in Musselburgh to take full advantage. This is undoubtedly a good pub. But I wonder if I'd built this up in my mind too much, as I wasn't as overwhelmed as I'd expected. I'd visited the Grey Horse in Balerno earlier and whilst it would be difficult to chose between the two, I thought the Grey Horse was marginally the better. Nevertheless, this pub is certainly worth of a 7/10. The ale range is mostly pale ales, which was part of my disappointment - Oakham JHB, Bishop's Farewell & Green Devil IPA, Fyne Ales Jarl & Stewarts Crossfire. The availability of Moles Black Rat cider tempered my disappointment. Whisky also appears to be a speciality. I sat in the main bar area which has lots of wood panelling and is a perfect environment for conversation. TVs normally detract from conversation. But the live football showing on 2 TVs was actually a talking point of many conversations and complemented the bar without detracting from the convivial atmosphere. This is without doubt the best pub in Musselburgh and worth seeking out. Apparently it was CAMRA's national pub of the year in 1997.
blue_scrumpy - 5 Jan 2017 22:44
Good well patronised locals pub with a good selection of ales in good nick.
Snarling_Mallard - 17 Apr 2016 18:06
Gem - this pub is well worth a visit from hub-bub of city centre. 7 ales on mostly golden...all good quality. Highly recommended.
kernott1 - 19 Mar 2014 21:16
Enjoyable return visit to 'Staggs'. Beers on tap included Fyne Ales Avalanche and offerings from Highland and Tempest. I've been here a few times now and they seem to favour hoppier beers, which is fine by me! My pints of Avalanche were excellent. The pub was very busy for early afternoon on a Wednesday.
The pub was given a spruce up last year and looks fantastic. An essential detour from the city.
holbornboy - 29 Apr 2012 22:23
Nearly six years since I first posted about Stagg's. It remains a splendid ale pub with knowledgeable staff. Buses from central Edinburgh are principally the 26 and the 44. The Lothian Buses day ticket is now £3.50 (exact fare only) against a single fare of £1.40. Stagg's is well worth visiting. Watch out for bus diversions in the city centre because of the alleged tram works - details on the lothianbuses website.
joegreen - 21 Apr 2012 21:28
Three of us visited this pub last Sunday night after travelling up from Manchester and spending a day at the races. A taxi driver told us that nobody ever called it The Volunteer Arms - it was always known as Staggs Bar. It was in a quiet part of town which suited us as the High Street had quite a few drunks staggering about following the races. My mates were on the Magners, but I was spoilt for choice with 5 real ales to choose from. I tried the Thornbridge Kipling and the Fyne Ales Avalanche. Both were in superb condition. We sat in the back room which was fairly quiet. The main room busied up as the evening went on, but the atmosphere was lively rather than rowdy. There seemed to be a good mix of people in, all enjoying a good drink. The Landlord helped carry the drinks through to the back room which was a nice touch. The main door was locked around 9.30pm - I presume to keep undesirables out- but there was a steady flow of customers coming and going through the side door until closing time. All in all a top boozer and highly recommended to any real ale fan visiting Musselburgh.
Budcon - 29 Sep 2011 23:41
Been going on and off for a few years. Great old-style victorian pub, though the lounge through the back can get a bit lively at weekends. Excellent range and rotation of ales and a great place to eavesdrop on the men's banter. Dog friendly bar, too!
Bar staff attentive bar one, who may be the head-honcho. Often stands with his arms folded at end of bar, yakking to his chinas and can be very offhand. Not conducive to a quick return but the others make up for his sullenness.
Coldie_Redux - 26 Jul 2011 06:16
A nice looking wood pannelled interior and three separate rooms. All old blokes in there yesterday afternoon so I didn't feel out of place. I had two Dark Star beers- Hophead and American Pale Ale- which were both good.
jagsfan - 7 Nov 2010 09:16
Holbornboy is correct in all respects, the ale choice was different on my visit of course but a different Thornbridge beer was on offer together with a number of Scottish brews. The pub was recommended to me by a local I met in the Cafe Royal and the effort to visit did not disappoint. Not far from perfect as a local, and I wish it was mine.
Stamfordian - 13 Aug 2010 11:09
A splendidly traditional boozer. The main bar is wood-panelled, with a couple of partitions around fixed seating and has a giant TV sitting on a shelf behind the bar, straddled by two large beer barrels. A second TV hangs in another corner. Through a doorway is the 'Bar Lounge', a smaller room with another TV. There is a larger lounge bar further back but the doors leading in to it were locked on this visit. The pub has won numerous CAMRA awards which hang in frames on one wall.
Six pumps dispensing two beers from Blue Monkey, Deuchars, Orkney IPA, Oakham JHB and Thornbridge Jaipur. I tried the Orkney IPA which was okay, and the JHB and the Jaipur which were both superb.
This is an excellent pub well worth a detour from the city. Take the No.44 bus from Princes Street and get off at the Brunton Theatre. The pub is just behind the theatre.
holbornboy - 11 Apr 2010 15:52
Fantastic selection of ale (week after their beer festival in Nov 09) all beautifully kept. Nice atmosphere with attention to detail having a room for the footie and a room for the rugby.

Would travel from the opposite side of town to sup here.
Boongie - 15 Dec 2009 21:45
Excellent beer, very friendly staff and customers. A must if visiting Edinburgh - bus ticket great value.
JBGatelad - 12 Jan 2009 22:10
Great old style pub with a good selection of ales. Pub website is for details.
anonymous - 21 Nov 2008 13:56
Staggs is a superb wee pub. Freindly staff & punters, quiet enough to have a conversation without shouting comfortable seating, and a small but ever changing range of perfectly kept cask beer. WELL worth the journey from Edinburgh...or any where else for that matter.
budvar_1 - 2 Oct 2006 10:54
Lothian Bus Route 44/44A also stops within a few yards of the Volunteer Arms - known to all as Stagg's - but goes nowhere near the Goth. Ask to get off at the Brunton Hall. Frequent service on both routes. The Day Ticket is still £2.30, great value compared with £1 for even the shortest single journey. Stagg's is also within walking distance of the racecourse.
joegreen - 19 Jul 2006 14:03
A great wee boozer, with guest ales.
Coldie - 6 Jun 2006 09:54
Hi All Real Ale Drinkers.

The Volunteers Arms is a must when visiting Edinburgh and being on the 26 Lothian Bus Route for some Very Good Real Ale.

You can also Visit if you get back on in the 26 in the direction of Seton Sands and visit The Gothenburgh (A Home Brew Pub)in Prestonpans it is well worth a Visit (whichbecause it is just a short distance further On).

A Tip For Real Ale Fans don't forget to ask for an All Day Ticket £2.30 and have the correct monies as the Buses carry NO CHANGE.
GeeGeeStables - 21 Feb 2006 12:47
Former winner of best pub in Britain. Traditional bar at the front with 2 TVs; a snug with a TV and board games; a lounge through the back with bar, jukebox and large projection screen; and a beer garden out the back. Friendliest pub in Musselburgh which also boasts a different real ale each week and an annual beer festival.
Neilypeel - 2 Aug 2005 08:38

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