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One of the capital’s original craft beer bars, this drinking den boasts a vast selection on tap and numerous bottles, supported by hearty pub fare.
A cut above the bog-standard burger and beer joint, Holyrood 9a emerged well before the capital’s current covey of craft beer bars. Back then, this welcoming watering hole, was a one-stop shop for beer geeks sick of pumps full of predictable Tennent’s swill. Today, although others continue to muscle in on the scene, Holyrood 9a, still attracts a reasonably loyal following. Probably because, like its sister outfits, The Southern on Edinburgh’s Southside and Red Squirrel over on Lothian Road, it sticks to what it does best.
Friendly bar staff help steer you as you ponder the 20-plus beer taps and the swell of bottled choices. There’s a none-too-surprising nod to local Scottish brewers, including Brewdog, Williams, Harviestoun and Stewart, along with a solid variety of rotating guest ales from Thornbridge, The Kernel and Magic Rock. The occasional appearance from the likes of Krombacher and gypsy brewer Mikkeller can’t be sniffed at either. Wine and cocktail seekers won’t be bereft of choices, and the half-litre carafe of house wine for £8 is particularly good value.
Given the type of drink on offer, it’s only right that the food menu should be hardy and hearty – and that it is. It’s mainly burgers, with a smattering of sharing boards and steaks. The best of which are the venison burger, complete with gooey melted brie, red onions and tangy red berry chutney, and the Holyrood burger, with its beer mustard, sharp Hereford Hop cheese and sticky caramelised onion.
Pithy quotes from Voltaire and Alexander Pope crop up around the place and add their own charm to a space that’s frequented largely by paper-and-pint locals and an after-work crowd.
As pubs in this part of Old Town go, it’s hard to beat, and makes a convenient stop after a visit to nearby attractions such as the Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyroodhouse and Dynamic Earth.