New Edinburgh hotel and ceilidh venue proposed for Cowgate

PLANS have been tabled to transform an Old Town nightclub and festival venue into a boutique hotel and ceilidh hall.

By David Bol
Monday, 22nd July 2019, 6:01 pm
The Cow Shed on Cowgate
The Cow Shed on Cowgate

Proposals have been handed over to city council planners to turn the Cow Shed and Bar Bados into the new hotel, as well as a bar/restaurant and function room which could be used for weddings.

If approved, the current buildings on Cowgate will be refurbished into the 18-bedroom hotel, next to the Virgin Hotel site, currently under construction.

The bar and restaurant is set to be established in the Cow Shed part of the site, under the bridge arch, while the hotel rooms will be formed above the current Bar Bados nightclub. The adjacent Subway nightclub is set to remain operating.

The overhaul proposals have been lodged by Bruce Taverns, which already runs a host of city centre venues including Stramash, Whistle Binkies, The Royal Mile Tavern, George IV Bar, The Globe and the adjacent Cowgate premises, Opium and Subway.

The 26-bedrooms in the boutique hotel will “have a Scottish feel to them with a modern twist”, while permanent lighting will be added under the George IV Bridge arch on Cowgate, which is only lit up during festival periods.

Planning documents on behalf of Bruce Taverns, said: “The proposed offer would have a boutique Scottish feel to it with the bar/restaurant offering a street food market place atmosphere within the stone walls.

“The function room to the rear would be used for a variety of more casual events including live music with a Celtic culture music bias, arts-type events and exhibitions. To be able to supply food to the gallery level gives rise to a greater variety and flexibility to the types of events that are possible within this space.”

It added: “The first floor function room within the groin-vault is proposed to be called the Cowgate Ceilidh Club which would be used for traditional ceilidh events, Scottish shows and also be used as a wedding venue. Having a gallery overlooking the main floor space provides an anti-space for the main floor and food being available at these levels are a critical part of the offer.

“This space being positioned under the groin-arched vault is particularly dramatic and magical so there is little required internally other than particular attention to lighting. The sheer presence of the existing space along with the surrounding stone work should in itself provide a suitably dynamic and memorable experience.”

A courtyard behind the current Bar Bados, has been labelled by the developers as “a very barren concrete no man’s land” that “has been occupied from time to time by drug users who have a tendency to leave drugs paraphernalia lying around”.

If granted planning permission, the developers will remove the existing roller shutters along Cowgate and install a new glazed frontage including glass doors. The current windows would be “unblocked and revealed” while all existing window bars will be removed.

Members of the public have until Friday 16 August to submit comments on the proposals online.