Bars and pubs Old Town
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
Ben Roberts

Please note, Blackfriars is now closed. Jan 2017.

Blackfriars appeals squarely and exclusively to the middle-class drinker, and is in no way ashamed of it. From the bare brick walls, wooden floors and exposed girders to the small but carefully curated selection of tastefully pricey craft beers sold by the schooner, via the just-this-side-of-pretentious snack menu (olives, churros, chips with béarnaise sauce), it’s meant for the career professionals who don’t have a theatre ticket on this particular night (otherwise they’d be in the Traverse bar) but fancied a swift one before heading home to watch the ‘Bake Off’ finale on Sky Plus. In fairness, this clientele needs a local as much as anyone else, so credit to the Blackfriars crew for providing not only their perfect bar, but an adjoining restaurant next door that ticks many of the same boxes. It’s also home to what is possibly the capital’s most secretive beer garden: a high-walled basement-level number where you can smoke your organic roll-ups beneath the fairy lights in peace.


By: Niki Boyle


Venue name: Blackfriars
Address: 57-61 Blackfriars Street
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
3 people listening
3 of 3 found helpful

I'm not even sure where to begin. But, I imagine many of the TimeOut readers are left feeling a little lost given that this so-called review failed to mention much of anything about the food and service at Blackfriars. Did Niki Boyle even step foot in the door? Doesn't seem that way. For starters I consider it highly unprofessional that he might choose to take a dig at the patrons of the establishment, this isn't an outlet to nurse the chip on your shoulder Boyle. Not exactly upholding the reputation of TimeOut here.

Food wise, Blackfriars hits the mark. Andrew Macdonald has paid his dues in some well regarded Edinburgh venues (do your research Boyle) but the menu however is no fuss, just great quality, locally sourced, seasonal food. I can't rave enough about the fish burger in the bar! Battered fish served with homemade tartare sauce in a freshly made bun. Let me focus on the words 'homemade' and 'fresh'.. that goes for everything that comes out of the kitchen here. I also hold them solely responsible for my new obsession with beetroots! My goodness I've been dreaming of that dish for over a year now. A lot of the menu in the bar is shareable, almost tapas style plates but there are normally a couple other big dishes. Although lets not forget the beers! A constantly rotating selection of craft beers on tap, delicious. There's also a superb selection of wines and spirits.
The restaurant has your expected dining set up, starters, mains and dessert. You're likely to see a range of seafood dishes, poultry, game, and always an amazing vegetarian option. The menu changes daily which is nice! It's great to be able to go to a restaurant, with a cosy relaxed atmosphere and get a meal that has been so excellently prepared. The service is wonderful, professional, unobtrusive and friendly. The staff go beyond to make sure you have an enjoyable experience.

 I could ramble on but I won't. I simply wanted to cover the necessities that Boyle failed to. Hope this is of some help to the readers out there. 

3 of 3 found helpful

 Is this actually meant to be a review or is it simply a slight against the patrons? I think this is more a reviewer having issues more than a truly wonderful venue being reviewed. Surely this needs some self moderation??

As opposed to the review I can comment that food wine and surroundings are fantastic and if you like me like that vibe then go here its well worth it 

10 star for the venue 0 star for the Time Out review to leave a 5 star (and also thats the most I can give)

2 of 2 found helpful

Wholeheartedly agree with the comments already posted.  This review seems to be mainly passing judgement about middle class people and completely fails to notice the fantastic food, exceptionally tasty drinks served in this bar and restaurant and also the extraordinarily friendly, helpful but not intrusive service always offered in both the bar and restaurant.

2 of 2 found helpful

A truly bizarre review that completely fails to mention the extremely high quality of food and drinks served in both bar and restaurant and has no mention of the friendly and helpful staff and great atmosphere. I'm not exactly sure when serving chips and olives in a bar was considered pretentious but i guess I don't drink and eat in the same sort of places as the reviewer. Blackfriars is truly one of the best restaurants and bars in Edinburgh. 

2 of 2 found helpful

Excellent atmosphere, great drinks, friendly staff, awesome food. Unfortunately, I didn't read any of that in your 'review', which is what I assumed the point of a review would be. I don't particularly go to a pub for the patrons, which is all your snotty reviewer seems to concentrate on.

Away and have a look at yourself. 

One of the best bars in Edinburgh. 

1 of 1 found helpful

Like every other comment here, I wanted to read a review about the artismal food and friendly service of Blackfriers Bar/Restaurant, but instead we get one man's rancid opinion about his run in with 'middle class patrons'. I personally didn't encounter any middle-class people on my visit. But then again, the place is nicely and darkly lit, so Hunter wellies and deerstalker hats are harder to see. All rather hypocritical really as Blackfriers is an honest business, back-breakingly run by a small group of folks who are passionate about food and drink. Then comes some self-promoting, so-called critic who decided to cut and paste a passage from their personal diary and present it as a restaurant review. Hey Boyle, yeah its very trendy and easy to have go at pretentious, middle-class people, but think twice about this next time you decide to do it at the expense of someone's livelihood