Comment: Changing a reputation is never easy

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the arrival of 
upmarket brewer Innis and Gunn may well come to be regarded as a watershed moment for Lothian Road.

Slowly but surely the street has been establishing itself as a place to go for high-quality food and drink, thanks to chic modern bistros like The Hanging Bat and Red Squirrel. The opening of a destination venue like The Beer Kitchen will only help to cement that reputation.

Instead of passing through on the way to the King’s Theatre, the Usher Hall or the Filmhouse, more of us are now likely to stop and enjoy a little more of what the area has to offer.

It is quite a remarkable turn around for an area which once enjoyed an unsavoury reputation as the home of all the worst elements of Edinburgh’s drinking culture.

Just five years ago the street effectively found itself in the dock as Edinburgh Sheriff Frank Crowe condemned the “perennial problem” of young men getting drunk and involved in violence there. Students arriving in the Capital were warned to give it a wide berth.

But those problems have subsided as the make-up of businesses on the street has changed. Few tears will be shed over the closure of the Club Rouge strip club. The stag do crowds that it and other such venues attracted to the area were a large part of what put off so many people from going there in the past.

Changing your reputation is never easy. Just asking the city fathers of Glasgow who spent millions on marketing before the wider world caught on to how much the city had to offer. A good reputation takes years to build, but can be lost almost overnight.

There has been no marketing budget for Lothian Road, just word-of-mouth recommendations spreading across the city. There appears to have been a fundamental shift in the neighbourhood and those living and working there are enjoying it.