John Gibson: Musical chairs at the West End

It used to be PJ Clarke’s, a bar/restaurant owned and managed by May Paton from 1989 to 93. Thereafter functioning as Eighty Queen Street, at that address.

What brings those colourful venues to mind, where quality entertainment prevailed thanks to agents Jack Fallon (former bassist with the Ted Heath band) in London and local Tom Finlay, is that the west end of central Edinburgh again is playing musical chairs.

Property specialists Knight Frank have moved into number 80 at ground level and I understand a cocktail bar will be installed below.

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All the while May Paton has been celebrating her 17th year with Fingers Piano Bar, her own “clubby” creation in Frederick Street, unique in that it features guest pianists/vocalists until around three in the morning.

May is there some nights, hands-on and helping to run a tight ship. Remarkable how she finds the stamina. Mental and physical strain few females can rival, inherited from her Glaswegian mother. Workmanlike and with a heart of gold.

Afterwords . .

. . .according to Bruce Springsteen: “My job is to do for you what Bob Dylan did for me . . . kick open the door to your mind, reach for something higher than yourself and grovel around for something lower, too.”