Edinburgh's Cramond Inn pub bans phones, laptops and tablets to encourage social conversation

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The Edinburgh pub hopes to create a friendly atmosphere

The newly re-opened Cramond Inn has branded itself a ‘digital detox pub’ after having banned customers from using mobile devices in an attempt to encourage more human interaction.

The pub, which opened to the public again on Wednesday after being closed for three years, has created a ‘mobile, tablet and laptop free zone’, with signs dotted around the pub including on beer mats and staff t-shirts. The signs, which ask customers to put their digital devices away, say the aim is to make the pub “a haven for social conversation”. Manager Chris Robinson told the Evening News that he thinks it’s a great idea.

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He said: “It’s the brewery’s idea, all their pubs have this rule. No mobiles, laptops or tablets. It’s about making people more likely to talk to each other instead of everybody sitting with their heads down looking at their devices. This is a traditional pub, where everybody talks. It has always had an atmosphere. And this rule should help keep that going. It’s about getting people talking to each other, and not just to their friends but the next table. It’s about traditional pub values of community and friendliness.

The Cramond Inn has branded itself a 'digital detox pub' and has banned phones, laptops, tablets and other devices.The Cramond Inn has branded itself a 'digital detox pub' and has banned phones, laptops, tablets and other devices.
The Cramond Inn has branded itself a 'digital detox pub' and has banned phones, laptops, tablets and other devices.

"So far some people love it, some people hate it. We only opened yesterday and we were so busy. A lot of people said it was a great idea and it was good to see people speaking to each other. I think the rules are great. The other rules include no swearing and no standing at the bar, which is a great idea, as it gets everyone sitting down and mingling. We will enforce all the rules, and staff have t-shirts with ‘let’s just talk’ on them, while our beer mats have the rules also.

"We don’t want people in here sitting on their phones going through their messages. I do it myself, it’s a bad habit. So this is a good thing. I’m not going to break our own rules. It’s just lovely to see people having conversations with other tables, so I think the rules definitely work in terms of creating a better, friendlier atmosphere.”

The pub manager was delighted to re-open the 300-year-old B-listed pub yesterday, with locals and tourists having popped in for a pint. Chris said: "It was really busy. All the locals have been coming back in. I grew up in Cramond and it’s the third time I have been back here. I worked here when I was 18, and my partner Kerera Finlayson and I also ran it for a while.

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“Now we are delighted to have got it open again for the community. It’s a shame it was shut. All the locals and tourists had nowhere to go really. I have been desperate to get this place open again. This pub has a hold on me. Seeing it shut for so long was too sad, so we decided to get involved in opening it up again and here we are.”

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