It’s almost closing time in the hunt for the best pub or bar in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Today, we reveal the top ten hostelries as voted for by readers with just a week to go until the ultimate winner is unveiled.
Our Best Bar 2014 competition has had a fantastic response with fierce voting to whittle down the contenders to the final shortlist. Those who have made the cut have been submitted for a wide array of reasons, from oustanding entertainment offerings to extraordinarily friendly staff.
But they all have one thing in common – their regulars think they are the best in the business. Now your favourite needs your help more than ever with just days left before the final votes are counted.
Darren Glasgow, who manages top ten nominee Cafe Habana, said they maintained a steady stream of regulars by striving for the best and brightest in entertainment. “We’ve always got something on, be it DJs, cabaret or live music, there’s always something to see,” he said.
“That’s definitely our greatest strength.”
Gina Wilson, of Dalry Road’s Dickens Bar, said the key to their success was continuity.
“I’ve worked here for 21 years, and not a thing has changed,” she said.
“That’s something that our regulars really enjoy.”
Meanwhile, Harbour Inn manager John Martin reckons the most important thing is to be sure to listen to customers.
“Everything comes down to our staff and how they are with our customers,” he said.
“We treat everyone warmly, whether they’re daily regulars or just passing visitors. We do our best to make everyone feel welcome, and it feels just incredible that we’re being recognised for that.”
Some of the pubs on the final list have been nominated for their extensive selection of real ales, others for their outstanding food offering or range of entertainment. Many will have made the list simply because they make their customers feel at home.
Whatever the reason, they can all raise a glass to their achievement today and celebrate being named the cream of the crop in a city which is not short of watering holes.
According to Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, the Capital’s top ten bars were sterling examples of a city scene that had started to embrace new and innovative business practices.
“I think the pubs and bars in Edinburgh are experiencing a sort of renaissance at the moment,” he said.
“That’s because they are adapting to a tough financial climate and working incredibly hard to innovate the way that they operate and do business.
“As a result, the city’s bars and pubs offer a unique customer experience.”
But Lee Thorburn, who manages top ten nominee Thomsons Bar on Morrison Street, said their biggest selling point was tradition.
“You get so many bars now that target certain markets,” he said. “Everyone tries to have their niche.
“But Thomsons Bar is just a traditional Scottish pub.
“Great food, ales and customer service are all at the basis of what we do, but our biggest draw is the fact that we’re genuinely Scottish.”
Johnston Press regional marketing manager Tim Donald said there had been a fantastic response to the competition and encouraged everyone to get behind the final push.
“It’s been great to see so many people get behind their local bar and show their support and loyalty.
“Good luck to the final top ten and a huge thank for everyone who has been involved over the past few weeks.”
Whether you submitted a nomination or not, now it’s time to help your favourite bar become this year’s winner of the Edinburgh Evening News Best Bar 2014.
Voting is easy, you can either send us a text or fill out the voting form on this page and post it to us. So get behind your bar before we call time on 2014.
HOW TO VOTE
BY POST: Fill in the coupon and post it to: Edinburgh Evening News, Best Bar of the Year 2014, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, Edinburgh, EH4 2HS.
All postal entries must reach us by noon, Tuesday, December 16.
You can vote as many times as you like, but you must use the official coupon from the paper. Photocopied or defaced coupons will not be accepted.
REMEMBER: A POSTAL FORM IS WORTH TWO VOTES
BY TEXT MESSAGE: Text your votes before 9am on Tuesday, December 16, to 65550.Simply start your text with the words EENBAR followed by the 3 digit code of the pub/bar you wish to vote for. Follow this with a space and then your name, address and email address. For example EENBAR007 Joe Bloggs 99 Nowhere St Edinburgh EH00 firstname.lastname@example.org. Text messages cost £1 in addition to your standard network charge and should contain no more than 160 characters
THE TOP TEN
001 Mercat Bar and Grill, Whitecraig Road, Musselburgh
003 Norhet, Main Street, Davidson’s Mains
004 Mash Tun, Easter ROAd
005 Staggs, North High Street, Musselburgh
008 Café Habana, Greenside Lane
009 Tynecastle Arms, Gorgie ROAd
016 Harbour Inn, Fishmarket Square, Newhaven
020 Ye Olde Inn, Main St, Davidson’s Mains
023 Thomsons Bar, Morrison Street
038 Dickens Bar, Dalry Road