If you’re willing to walk around 15 minutes north of Princes Street into the heart of the New Town, the Cumberland is a great find. From the hanging baskets and beer garden outside to the warren of rooms inside with their simple, traditional décor (wooden tables and chairs, wood panelling) you can tell this is a highly civilised pub. But given that the neighbourhood is one of Edinburgh’s swankiest and forms part of a World Heritage Site it’s no more than you would expect.
The beer is good with eight cask ale taps including examples from the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh and Fyne Ales in Argyll, there is craft keg from the likes of the Williams Brothers of Alloa, the wine list is decent for a bar – they have Laurent-Perrier Brut for those special occasions – while the food menu offers everything from sandwiches and burgers to pan-fried hake fillet or caesar salad, plus roast beef on Sundays.
Where some bars have a time of day, or year, that suits them best the Cumberland is more multifaceted. You would be as happy here with a seat in the beer garden on a summer’s night as you might hiding away from a Scottish winter some dark January afternoon.