The Espy

The Espy
62–64 Bath Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 1HF
  • Telephone 0131 669 0082
  • Opening times 12:00–00:00
  • Bar open Sun–Thu 8am–11pm; Fri/Sat 8–1am.
  • Food served Sun–Thu 8am–9pm; Fri/Sat 8am–10pm.
  • Average price £15 (lunch); £15 (evening meal)
  • Email

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Eating & Drinking Guide

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This review is taken from the current (2015) edition.

Most bars in Edinburgh would give half their beer taps to occupy a spot as unique as the Espy’s, and on a summer’s day this Portobello institution is a destination of choice not just for locals but beachgoers the city over. An old-fashioned kind of a space with a wooden horseshoe bar separating the bar from the dining area, it fulfils the dual task of being local pub and versatile family eating place overlooking the sea with style. In fact, if anything it’s winningly over-enthusiastic: it opens early for coffee and starts serving breakfasts (egg dishes including Spanish, Aussie and huevos rancheros are a speciality) not long after. Then from lunchtime onwards there’s a lengthy burger list, nachos and daily specials like pork belly on mashed potato and carrot puree or baked Portobello mushrooms – of course – stuffed with onion, feta and spinach. Add these to milkshakes, cocktails, decent wines and a range of social activities including film nights and you have a local worth travelling to find.

  • High point: Unique location right on the seaside, especially if you get an outside chair
  • Low point: Trying not to be jealous of whoever’s at the single bay-window table
  • Notable dish: The MacEspy burger, topped with haggis and cheddar, served with salad and chips
  • Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Live entertainment: Weekly movie night.
  • Capacity: 65 (16 in winter, 32 in summer)
  • Largest group: 90
  • Open since: 2008
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 10
  • House wine: £12.95 per bottle

Reviews & features

The rough guide to Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside

24 Mar 2011

Neighbourhood Watch: The best bits by the beach

What’s it like? An utterly charming, slightly wonky area of Edinburgh, characterised by the city’s only beach and a very distinct, anti-corporate local community ethos. Formerly the holiday destination of most Central Belters, a lack of investment in…

Comments & ratings

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9. Debs T7 Apr 2015, 5:13pm4 stars The Espy Report

Fantastic nachos loaded with lots of salsa, guac and jalapeños, there were no skimping on the topping whatsoever here. The spicy Cajun chicken burger was pretty impressive too. Washing it down with fiery homemade ginger beer is a must.

Will definitely be returning to The Espy.

8. MagsD29 Jan 2013, 9:44pm4 stars The Espy Report

At The Espy again this evening and had a great experience as usual. Just can't understand the negative reviews. Food tasty, wine of good quality and all reasonably priced. Staff attentive but not over-bearing and we had lovely chats about their film nights and dog-friendly policy. Only complaint would be with the toilets but I understand the place is closing over the next couple of weeks for a bit of refurbishment. Go and try The Espy - if you don't like it, blame me!

7. Seaside baby4 Dec 2012, 7:58pm5 stars The Espy Report

Lovely place for food-great specials board selection and delicious guest beers. I love meeting friends here for food and catch up. Wines are wisely chosen also. I go most months and have never been disappointed. Sometimes they have live music, which has always been of a good standard. the Espy has a friendly, warm vibe.

6. emily1428 Oct 2012, 2:28pm1 star The Espy Report

I went to the Espy for dinner a few nights ago, and I was very disappointed afterwards.
The food is OK, and it has a good location, fantastic views of the sea, and most of the staff are pleasant enough.
Except for one member of staff, who I assume is the "owner". Service through out the meal was abysmal, it seemed like it was a hassle for "the owner" to serve us. When it came to the paying for the bill the owner was incredibly rude, she shouted across the restaurant (for everyone to hear) asking other members of staff if I had paid for the meal. Insinuating that I was trying to dodge the bill. This person is definitely not a people person. I will not be going back or recommending to friends, or any one else for that matter.

5. porty punter22 Jun 2011, 10:38pm4 stars The Espy Report

I have been into the espy a few times over the past year and think that the food is really delicious and there is a chilled out atmosphere when i've been in and the staff are very friendly and accomodating. would definatley recommend.

4. Yumbo Gumbo3 Mar 2011, 5:36pm5 stars The Espy Report

Great spot, great local pub, fantastic burgers and friendly efficient service. What you really want in a local.

3. Iain7031 Dec 2010, 6:25pm1 star The Espy Report

Being a local, this pub has the potential to be a great little place BUT every time since new management has taken over, I have felt nothing but a second class citizen! From over pricing the bar bill by £15 on a few occassions, to being refused food because I was only ordering side orders for my 2 children (even although the kitchen was still serving other customers and there was at least 7-8 free dinner tables), I am very disappointed indeed.

Coming from the lovely little place of Portobello, this pub has the potential to be great, but from the bad and negative experiences I have had from this place, I will certainly not be back which is a shame indeed because once the summer trade goes, you have to rely on the locals to keep an establishment going!

I will definitely NOT recommend this place to my friends and family and will never go there again.

2. Juliet19 Jan 2010, 11:00am5 stars The Espy Report

Mmm, the burgers are AMAZING! Huge (I couldn't finish mine) but very, very good.

We will definitely be back.

1. Lennie the lion.15 Jul 2009, 10:01pm Report

An o.k. place but DONT expect the bar to keep to its advertised closing time. I had just settled at the bar with a couple who were visiting me when I was told that the bar would be closing shortly, WELL BEFORE closing time. I was told that "there aren't enough people in to justify remaining open". I just pray that when the owner desperatly needs to buy something from a 24hr. store like Asda, she is met with the same response !

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Average rating 3.5/5 from 8 reviews of The Espy.

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