Once upon a time the premises at Summerhall were the University of Edinburgh’s vet school but the animal doctors moved out in 2011 and a multi-purpose arts centre moved in. It has subsequently established itself as an important creative hub in the city and one of the main venues during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; on site it also has a café, craft brewery (Barney’s), a gin micro-distillery (Pickering’s) and a bar that shares a name with the old vet school itself – the Royal Dick.
It’s not the most obvious place to go for a drink as it’s inside the Summerhall complex and across an internal courtyard but that just makes it all the more discreet, especially during low season afternoons when it can feel like a secret hideaway. During the mania of the Fringe in August, or when there’s a major show in one of Summerhall’s performance spaces, it functions more like a busy theatre bar.
Fittings and décor owe something to the Royal Dick’s veterinary history while Pickering’s gin is piped in from next door and available on tap (“23 metres from still to till”). You can also eat here – the menu features salads, sandwiches, burgers and traditional pub grub mains.
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