The Jolly Judge

The Jolly Judge
7 James Court, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2PB
  • Telephone 0131 225 2669
  • Bar open Mon, Fri/Sat noon–midnight; Tue–Thu noon–11pm; Sun 12.30–11pm
  • Food served Mon–Sat noon–3pm; Sun 12.30–3pm
  • Average price £5.50 (lunch)
  • Website
Photo of The Jolly Judge
Eating & Drinking Guide

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Set just far enough back from the Royal Mile to avoid being spoiled by excessive tourist footfall, the Jolly Judge enjoys a peaceful basement spot on James Court, which belies just how enviable its location is. The low, beamed ceilings are familiar to connoisseurs of the city’s more traditional pubs, although a recent makeover has sucked a little of the well-weathered charm from the place. On the upside, though, the bathrooms are much smarter than one would have a right to expect in a pub of this age, while the surviving collection of banknotes from around the world pinned above the bar reaffirms the Judge’s popularity with visitors from abroad. Outdoor seating is a godsend during summer months, while a warm drinks menu of hot toddy, brandy and port, Irish coffee and Bailey’s latte keeps regulars cosy in winter. Other attractions include a Monday night pub quiz (8.30pm start, £1 entry per person), a range of around 30 malt whiskies, and cheap and cheerful home-made soup and toasties at lunchtime.

  • High point: Cosy and full of character
  • Low point: Recent refurbishment has been kind only to the bathrooms
  • Average price: £5.50 (lunch)
  • Provides: Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Nothing
  • Capacity: 42
  • Open since: 1979
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 2
  • House wine: £11.50 per bottle

Reviews & features

Edinburgh's Royal Mile takes in hundreds of years of history and drama

16 Feb 2011

A haven for tourists and the centrepoint of historic Edinburgh

The Royal Mile begins as you leave the castle. On the right is the Scotch Whisky Experience – the perfect introduction to the history and alchemy of Scotland’s national drink – complete with a dram at the end. On the left, the tower with the…

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