Revealed: Edinburgh Evening News’ pub of the year 2017

Evening News Pub of the Year, the Bunch o' Roses
Evening News Pub of the Year, the Bunch o' Roses
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A pub owner is proud that he will be going out with a bang after winning the Evening News Pub of the Year award.

David MacDonald, 58, has been pulling pints at the Bunch O’Roses for almost 16 years and has scooped the accolade of being number one pub in Edinburgh.

The Restalrig Road South boozer has been on the market for the past year with David feeling the award, voted for by Evening News readers, is a last gasp attempt for him to remain behind the bar.

He said: “It is a great feeling to have won. I’m proud to call us the best bar in Edinburgh.

“We have a good atmosphere at the pub with a mixed clientele of young and old.

“I am very pleased to have won this award. I’d like to thank everyone who has 
supported us and voted. It would be great if I could go out on this high. I am certainly not in a hurry to leave but I do still intend on selling up. It’s as though this award is from the customers who don’t want me to go.”

The pub remains at the heart of the Restalrig community and fought off tough competition against hundreds of other pubs across the city.

Whether it was a traditional ale house to a gleaming city bar, thousands of punters voted for their favourite place to drink with Bunch O’Roses pipping runners-up Harbour Inn in Newhaven and The Black Rose on Rose Street to the crown.

Heavily reliant on locals for his custom, David says the trick of the trade is providing an all round experience with pints priced at £3.20.

He said: “I think what sets us apart is we serve the customer as we would like to be treated.

“The majority of our customers are locals because we’re in a small neighbourhood.

“Some of my staff have been with me 15 years so we have a familiar face behind the bar and have a great relationship with our customers.”

The pub owner has continued a number of community events in the bar including weekly poker nights, race nights, bingo, quiz and karaoke while also showing live sport.

David said: “We introduced some events around six months ago and they are doing really well.

“I think these kind of events are what the locals want. They keep the community together, which is what a pub is all about.

“We are a good local bar. We treat people right. We offer something different to those city centre pubs. We have to offer an experience of clearing glasses away quickly, not being on our phones and providing beer mats. Little things which make a difference when you have repeated custom. We keep our standards high.”

David employs one full-time member of staff in addition to four part-time employees.

They, along with their loyal customers, raised a glass to celebrate winning the gong.

Evening News deputy editor, Euan McGrory presented Bunch O’Roses with the award – which has been won in the previous two years by The Bowlers’ Rest.

Euan said: “This is a great accolade because it is voted for by the people of Edinburgh.

“It was a hard fought contest in the end. Congratulations to our winner of the Pub of the Year and to all the finalists. The Bunch O’Roses is a very worthy winner.

“I’d like to thank all our readers for voting and we look forward to next year.”

The Bunch O’ Roses in Restalrig got its name after a secret warning sign which was placed in the window to alert railway workers when it wasn’t safe for them to slip in for a fly pint.