Evening News readers spill beans on what makes a perfect pub
They are our home from home, a place where we can meet pals for a pint, a prosecco or even a pina colada.
And as the seasons change and the nights draw in, the welcoming lights of a regular haunt will be like a beacon on many of the cold winter evenings ahead.
But with pubs under more pressure than ever before, the need to celebrate all that is best about our public houses has never been more important.
So as the Evening News launches its annual hunt for the very best watering hole from the Capital and the Lothians in our Pub of Year competition, we decided to ask both the experts and, more importantly, the customers who spend their cash there, just what makes the perfect pub.
From foaming pints, the big game on the telly, roaring fires or rocking juke boxes to a simple welcoming smile of recognition at the end of a hard day, the reasons we love our pubs are many and varied.
But what is always important is that level of excellence that lifts the best above the competition.
Last year’s winners, the Bunch of Roses on Restalrig Road South, thought what made the pub great was “the good regular clientele, as we are quite a local pub. That said, we do get a few tourists in, more this year than ever before, due to the Airbnbs opposite.
“We also have a bingo/race night on Sundays.”
The runners up, The Harbour Inn at Newhaven, put their popularity down to their policy of “pretty much caring about what we do”.
They went on to say, “We are very customer focused and put in great care for the products we provide. We have great outdoor seating all year round. Although we are dominated by locals we do get quite a few tourists coming in and they are always very welcome.
“We have live music every Saturday, acoustic night Thursday and a complimentary cheese board every Monday.’
At the Chanter in Bread Street, Samantha Golding, said: ‘I like a pub that has something special about it, something going on inside, a good feel. Also those that cater to different food needs – we do a lot of vegan food here. We do a Scottish Brewery and some of the best events are the Tap take-overs.”
For punter Angus Bloom the culinary experience is important. He said: “Really nice food which caters to everyone. Affordable too! Has to be a great location with events such as poker night and quizzes.”
Marta Heath said: “Pubs need to have a good range of products that try to accommodate everyone with a great atmosphere. The Blue Blazer is my favourite pub. I’ve came back to work here three times.
“It’s great with the Gluten Free options and how the staff are aware of various eating requirements and then catering that to the menu.’
Rob Marshall, said: “Friendly atmosphere with good quality beer is vital. It needs to be a welcoming atmosphere to keep coming back with friendly staff. It’s a meeting hub. Long may it continue!”
The Evening News search for Pub of the Year starts on Monday.