Edinburgh's Au Bar opens under new management in time for Christmas

Shandwick Place drinking establishment Au Bar has opened under new management just in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 5:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 6:47 pm

The bar has laid empty since its previous owner abandoned the venue in August and has been taken over by the former assistant manager of William Street’s The Green Room, Kym Charleston.

“I’ve worked in bars for about seven years and I’ve always wanted my own place,” she said. “I didn’t think it would happen any time soon but the lease here came up and I previously only worked a street away.

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The bar will undergo a full refurbishment in the new year

While the ultimate plan is a whole rebrand of the bar, for the time being they are working to clean up the abandoned premises to get the bar back into working order.

They have reopened Au Bar for business for the festive period and plan to close in January for a complete refurbishment and rebrand of the bar.

“We’ll close maybe 5 January and hope to reopen again on Burns Night.” Kym explained. “We want to make the decor inside more modern, upholster the seats, we would love to get the fire working in here so it’s got a real cosy feel to it.

“Our chef is really good, food wise I think we will go quite traditional, but making it in to something a bit different when it is on the plate.” And Kym hasn’t been short of people in the local area popping their heads around the door to check on when they will be opening up.

Kym added: “We’ve had people in the offices surrounding pop their head in to ask if we are open, and people in the area who used to drink in here when it was previously open ask about us opening up. Everyone has been really supportive, though, everyone from The Green Room has said they’ll pop in for a drink, but it’s been a really good project for me, it’s massive.”

Au Bar closed at the beginning of August without warning, leaving mixed reviews on TripAdvisor.

It is understood that the previous owner up and left the establishment unexpectedly and never returned, leaving behind everything – including full kegs of beer which Kym had to clear out when she took on the venue.

“I think the Au Bar name is a bit tainted now,” Kym added. “After it was run into the ground I think it would take quite a long time to build that back up again. While we want to open our doors in December we want to make it clear that at the moment it is only the name that is the same.

“When it comes to January and our refurbishment, we’ll open as our own bar, brand new.”

Kym and her team hope to inject a new lease of life into the bar, which is situated at a prime location between Princes Street and Haymarket, and ensure it becomes a staple drinking establishment in the city centre in the coming months.