Name: The Leith Beer Co.
Location: 58 The Shore, Edinburgh
Note: This is Ale to the King‘s review of The Leith Beer Co. on its opening night. As pubs do, The Leith Beer Co. may change and grow as it settles into itself.
Beer Selection: The leaflet that popped through the letter box promised “an eclectic draft and bottled drinks range”. True enough there was a good range of bottled beers available, both lagers and ales. You won’t immediately notice them, they’re tucked into the fridges behind the bar. I was actually left a little disappointed upon first arriving; before ordering you’re best to pop your head round the corner to the steps, where a massive blackboard displays all the beers they sell. There’s nothing here that’s particularly new or unusal, but it does cover all the bases. And I do mean all.
That was a relief as I was a tad disappointed by the draft beers on offer. It was the standard range you’d find in any Edinburgh pub that didn’t specialise in ale. The pint of the week was the now ubiquitous Blue Moon from Coors. The only beer I’d not seen before was the Belhaven Black Stout, which was rather tasty, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t particularly regard Belhaven Best.
Atmosphere: Having never visited in its previous incarnation, The Waterline, its impossible for me to compare its atmosphere now to what it once was. On opening night The Leith Beer Co. was bright and airy, if rather subdued and quiet. A thirties crowd seems to frequent this place (with three groups of people talking about Zombies at once oddly). You’ll easily find somewhere quiet where you can keep yourself to yourself.
Staff: Very helpful and quick to serve. They seem to know a thing or two about beer and are happy to advise and chat. There’s an encouraging air of professionalism here with this welcomeness as well.
Interior/Exterior: This may be hard to judge, since on a morning drive-by people were clearly still putting the finishing touches to the innards. As a result the whole place smelt strongly of B&Q. It was a very strange experience, to the point it almost interferred with my bottle of Orkney Brewery Dark Isle.
The decoration is very stock, with generic prints of general old-timey-brewy-stuff on the walls and hung on canvas. The chairs are comfortable and the main material used is wood. I don’t know whether its the newness that makes it seem somewhat cheap, only time will tell on that matter.
I can see what they’re going for, a clash of rustic and industrial; the old-timey prints are nicely teamed with ultra-functional looking metal hanging lights, suspended from their most appealing flourish, the solid wooden-planked roof. The Leith Beer Co. seems to be straining for individuality against a tight leash imposed by its owner Belhaven.
There’s a pleasant area out front packed with pub benches where you can watch the ducks and swans on the Water of Leith.
Unfortunately it doesn’t do enough to warrant a near return, especially because its sat so near to three of the ten best ale pubs in Edinburgh.
With a greater range of beers this would have potential to grow into a welcome addition to the Shore, but sadly it falls below what’s already on offer at other pubs.
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