Hearts pub Robertson’s becomes family restaurant

Colin McKendrick outside the bar. Picture: Jane Barlow

Colin McKendrick outside the bar. Picture: Jane Barlow

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A “spit and sawdust” pub once a second home to Hearts supporters has seen a change of colours – after being relaunched as a family-friendly bar and eatery.

But before Hearts fans start a mutiny, the pub has gone from maroon to blue, not green.

Robertson’s Bar in Gorgie Road, near Tynecastle, previously had a chequered reputation, with online reviews warning “unless you are in Gorgie to watch a Hearts game as a Hearts fan, you should probably avoid this bar at all costs” and a food menu described as limited to “crisps, peanuts and pies”.

However, the newly renamed and refurbished Pryde’s Bar is hoping to open a whole new chapter.

Manager Colin McKendrick said: “The way it ran previously was entirely dependent on the proximity to Tynecastle and the custom of Hearts fans before and after the games.

“While this was a welcome busy period, the bar would otherwise sit more or less empty.

“You can’t run a pub that’s only busy for one day a fortnight. We really saw the potential of the building operating under a different model.”

Pryde’s, which is holding a family day on Sunday, is aiming to draw the crowds with an improved food and drink menu and live entertainment.

Mr McKendrick said: “We’ve transformed it into a place that’s friendly, cosy, easy to relax and enjoy a meal with live music, too.

“Food will be served all day, and we’ll be improving the range of real ales, whisky and wines, as well as cocktails and liqueurs. Children will also be welcome.”

In April 2012, the licence for Robertson’s Bar was temporarily suspended for a two-week period following a review application submitted by the police. It is understood that the management was replaced soon after.

The establishment was one of the first visited by officers during a 2011 crackdown on licensed premises being used as safe havens for criminal activity.

Local SNP councillor Denis Dixon said he was “optimistic” about the bar’s new 
appearance.

He said: “It was always a bit of a problem for the area. Not that it was a battleground or anything like that, it was just a bit “spit and sawdust”. 
Hopefully this revamp will be good for the area.”

A spokesman for leaseholder Raeburn Hospitality said the firm took over the lease in September 2013 and the refurbished establishment was the result of “significant investment” between it and Trust Inns.

jen.lavery@edinburghnews.com