The Old Bell
- Telephone 0131 668 2868
- Bar open Mon–Thu 11am–12.30am; Fri/Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–midnight
- Food served Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–7.30pm
- Average price £11 (evening meal)
- Website www.oldbelledinburgh.co.uk
A neighbourhood pub with a lot going for it, the Old Bell is regularly busy with locals from the Newington, Grange and Mayfield areas. Wood-panelled and red-upholstered, it feels nicely lived-in rather than quaintly trad or just tired and old. Primarily it’s a great sports pub, with all competitions shown on the big screens and occasional racing trips organised for the regulars. There’s also a fiercely fought weekly pub quiz (Monday, 7.30pm, free entry) and occasional Sundays bring live folk music to the bar. One of the Southside’s better long-standing locals in most respects, with Harviestoun ales on cask and a bar menu. The upstairs restaurant, now operating as the Old Bell Restaurant (for a long while it was the New Bell), is under new management as of 2011.
This review is taken from the 2012 edition.
The Causewayside stalwart is a popular spot with Southside drinkers who know their stuff. This is a place with character in abundance, with walls sporting original wood-carved panels and a carillon of bells hanging from the ceiling. Low-lit lamps and artefacts of a gentler age sit somewhat incongruously alongside a clutch of plasma screens catering for sports fans, but the soothing and amiable atmosphere of the place endures, fostered by lovely and exceedingly obliging staff determined to do their best by the customer. The food is decent and plentiful: nachos are a tasty and filling option for a starter, and the leek and potato soup is smooth and deliciously salty – a perfect accompaniment to a pint of one of the selection of well-chosen real ales. Drink in the silence with a book in one of the dim corners, or join in the quiz on Sunday and Monday evenings. An old-fashioned classic that has weathered many a season, and well worth a visit.
- High point: Real ales and hearthstone tales
- Low point: Too many burgers on the menu
- Provides: Children's portions, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Nothing
- Live entertainment: Occasional music nights; Sun/Mon quiz
- Capacity: 68
- Open since: 1980
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 8