The Empress of Broughton Street
- Telephone 0131 556 6754
- Seasonal times Festival: extended opening hours.
- Bar open Mon–Sat 10–1am; Sun 11–1am.
- Food served Mon–Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 11am–10pm.
- Average price £14 (lunch); £14 (evening meal)
It’s a grand old name for a new Edinburgh bar which sees the team behind Jeramiah’s Taproom on Elm Row taking over the former Mathers, calling time on brown wood and brown beer by exposing some stonework, stringing up assorted light fittings and clearing the bar for a lip-smacking range of craft beers. The main turn from the kitchen are flatbreads topped with combos such as grilled peach and prosciutto or harrisa salmon and squid rings, with burgers, mussels and shareable small plates offering alternates. The impressively inked Empress herself is one Maud Wagner, an early 20th-century US tattoo.
Not to be confused, or associated, with the Lioness of Leith, this new update of old Broughton Street favourite Mather’s has all you might want from a modern city centre local. There are two levels – a bustling bar area below and a quieter upstairs seating section. Customers can choose from a well-chosen range of six rotating craft beers, pale ales and dark beers and around 30 beers in bottles and cans. There's also a strong list of bespoke and classic cocktails, made with an impressively diverse collection of rare malt whiskies procured from auction sites, small batch Scottish gins and other assorted spirits. Alongside a couple of standard pub food items like fish and chips or macaroni and cheese, the emphasis is on filled flatbreads and diverse, substantial burgers. Fillings include paprika-coated halloumi or Perthshire beef, the latter set off nicely by Orkney cheddar and smoked bacon in the signature Empress burger.
- High point: An unfussy, good quality welcome addition to Broughton St
- Low point: Old regulars may bemoan the end of live sports on television
- Notable dish: Beef burger with Orkney cheddar and smoked bacon
- Provides: Children's high chairs, Free wi-fi
- Capacity: 50
- Largest group: 20
- Open since: 2016
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 10
- House wine: £15 per bottle