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Leslies Bar, Edinburgh

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user reviews of Leslies Bar, Edinburgh

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

Unchanged pub from 1899 - with a central bar that takes some getting too... the snob screens on the left hand side mean you cannot see the beers - the alternative is to fight your way through the bar hangers on stools on the right hand side.

Plenty of old school pub memorabilia to look at.

Was in the 2018 Good Beer Guide but not the 2019.

Timothy Taylor Landlord a lovely find.
Mappiman - 13 Aug 2019 12:39
A magnificent interior remarkably unspoilt but I have to agree with holbornboy about the beers. I was not inclined to have a session.
maxipop - 8 May 2015 20:31
I first visited this pub a couple of years ago and can confirm that the interior is indeed quite magnificent. However, the selection of beers on that occasion was poor and low in quality. I paid a return visit last week and nothing has changed. There are six handpumps (two were not in use) dispensing an uninteresting range - Landlord, Deuchars, McEwans 80/- and Stewarts 80/-. My pint of Deuchars was warm and flat and as dead as a dodo.
If you want to see a beautifully unspoilt bar you will not be disappointed. Just don't expect a decent pint.
holbornboy - 26 Apr 2012 22:19
Good pub, proper clientèle, what a good pub should be, friendly and knowledgeable.
scotscott - 24 Sep 2010 12:12
CAMRA National Inventory gem about 2 miles south of the city centre in the suburb of Newington. There are feasts for the eye almost everywhere, from the etched windows (John Leslie, any relation?)It features two superbly traditional long rooms along a central island bar, with doors connecting the two at the front and back. The left room has snob screens near the window which creates a separate, snug feel, with its own access to the bar- as noted this is a hatch at waist level and you have to duck if you wish to see the staff! I recommend you do as they are friendly and welcoming to the outsider.
The bar itself is made from carved dark wood and features a clock at the top end. There is a similar clock outside the front door. Above the screens and bar is a handsome plastered Victorian ceiling, similar to the one in the Abbotsford. Real ale was Deuchars, Landlord and guests from Scottish microbreweries such as Stewart of Edinburgh and Hebridean- a good selection. I had a Hebridean Gold which was in good form and served with a smile.
Funnily enough, the pub this reminded me of most is the Princess Louise in Holborn, although without the tiling or mirrors. It's equally resplendent though, and is worth any bus trip from the centre. Not to be missed if you're a traditional pub lover.
Carlurmston - 9 Dec 2009 16:48
A wonderful pub that those with a liking for beautiful pub interiors should seek out. To the right of the entrance is a traditional bar counter whilst going to the left and through to the snug you'll find a wood and glass panelled bar with four serving hatches rather like train station ticket booths. There's a wonderfully decorative ceiling and hanging chandeliers provide low lighting. There are separate panelled rooms leading off each of the two bars decorated with old oil paintings. I believe the architect was the same one who designed the Abbotsford in Rose St. The seating is comfortable and the tables are small with inlaid brass/copper. Everything is clean and tidy and with four handpumps this place is a must visit. From the City Centre you can get there on bus numbers 42 or 67.

Millay - 24 May 2009 22:42
Well worth seeking out (not that it's hard to find). Well-kept pint of Deuchres, unpretentious interior, pleasant bar-staff, friendly locals. A proper drinkers' pub.
ETA - 28 Nov 2008 14:13
A beautiful interior, absolutely magnificent in fact. I asked the chap behind the bar if it was listed and he said it is but it has only become so in the last couple of years. That means some mega-chain like GK wouldn't be able to 'standardise' it if they got their corporate paws on it.

Leaving my bugbear to one side... I only popped in for one as it was in the wrong direction from the other Edinburgh pubs I wanted to visit but the beauty of the interior, friendly staff and great ale made me stay for a total of three.

This should be a definite if you like good pubs and are in Edinburgh for a night or two.
Killian42 - 25 Aug 2008 13:25
Yes, Mr Nogbad, you're a lucky bloke.

Leslies Bar is a marvellous watering hole situated at the foot of a tenement block in the Edinburgh suburb of Newington. Get a bus if coming from the City Centre, or if you've been climbing Arthurs Seat in nearby Holyrood Park, leave the park by the St Leonards Gate and its down one of the side roads past the Commonwealth Pool.

Its a splendid old fashioned pub built in 1899 and has polished wood in abundance. Note in particular the unusual ticket booth type counters on one side of the island bar and the splendid decorative moulded ceiling.

The pub is listed in CAMRA's National Inventory of Unspoilt Interiors. There is an interesting information plaque in the pub giving its history. There is a tiny snug at the front as you go in and a further room at the back past the island bar.

My handpumped Deuchars IPA was in good form - there's other real ales as well if you want something else.

This is one of Edinburghs most well known watering holes - seek it out if you get the chance
JohnBonser - 24 Oct 2007 17:38
My local, and that makes me a lucky bloke. The bar on the right is busier and has more stand-up drinkers, while the one on the left has the odd hobbit-holes that you have to bend down to look through (unless you're a hobbit) and exchange money, drinks etc with the relaxed bar staff. You can see over the top if you're 6'7" or more, and there's a bloke who drinks here who is at least that, but the ornate if slightly grimy Victorian ceiling leaves him plenty of headroom. Deuchars IPA is always good and there are always interesting guest beers. Can be a bit noisy and packed when the football's on the telly on Saturday afternoons, but head for the left-hand bar and find a seat. Good for out-of-town visitors who seem to find it amusing that the pub appears to be called the John Leslie. Can't think why.
nogbad - 2 May 2007 11:53
visited in november w/several friends before the scotland/pacific islanders rugby match. place was real nice: had a superb deuchers along w/decent toasted sandwiches. i think i saw the same woman (now 89 i suppose) playing the fruit machine as mentioned in the previous post. she and her husband hung out at the table across from us in the side room...just reading the paper, sipping real ale, and playing the machine. place was recommended to me by a local who is now a bartender at a rib/beer joint located in Boston/USA. I give it a 9 and will return next time i'm in EDI.
chipawayboy - 31 Dec 2006 04:49
An authentic old bar with an adequate selection of well kept beers. Some unique features. Friendly management and clientele.
I didn't appreciate blinking fruit machines in Victorian surroundings - until I watched Dorothy (88) having a great time in front of one.
Finn - 28 Oct 2005 19:08
A cosy two room bar a bit outside the city center. Friendly and easy going atmosphere. The bar retains most of its original features from the late 1890s. You can order beer through ticket boot openings in one of the rooms. "Sip before sup" taste of the beer. Lardlord, Deuchars and some good guest beers from Cellernan's and Harviestoun when I visited the place. A great place to be for a Norwegian in Edinburgh.
rune - 23 Oct 2005 13:50

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