West End pub set for Scandinavian-style makeover

Harry's Bar is now owned by the Boda Gorup, who also run the successful Sofi's.
Harry's Bar is now owned by the Boda Gorup, who also run the successful Sofi's.
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Tucked away down basement steps in a hidden corner of the Capital’s West End, it has been one of the capital’s most popular nightlife spots for discerning socialites for more than 20 years.

And now Harry’s Bar is set to be given a new lease of life.

The team behind the award-winning Boda Bar Group, owners of the popular drinking destinations Sofi’s, Joseph Pearce and Akva, have just announced that they have taken over the popular watering hole, with plans to relaunch to the public just in time for the festive season.

Now the seventh venue in the Boda portfolio, owners Mike and Anna Christopherson say they are keen to retain the community-led ethos that has made Harry’s the destination of choice for revellers looking for a good night out since its opening back in 1986.

Mike Christopherson said: “It’s an amazing venue, especially because its a landmark bar in Edinburgh. It had lost its way a little and we want to take it back to a place that is rooted in the community.

“The whole of the West End has been changing with quite a few independents on one side and some big chains on the other. What we want to do is create more of a community spirit in the area and as part of that we will be looking to reposition Harry’s Bar back to what it was originally, which was a really great nightspot.”

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Co-owner Anna added that they will be working with other local companies to make the West End “the place to go”.

She said: “Right now the West End is really underrated. There is so much to do here and it’s very easy to get to and get into town from.”

As part of the relaunch, the bar has been given a makeover, as well as a new food menu and extensive drinks offering, with Mike and Anna explaining that they have brought the Scandinavian style, tongue-in-cheek humour and “hygge culture” that the group is so well-known for.

Anna said: “Don’t worry, we’ll be keeping it as a regulars bar, where people know each other and can meet new interesting people who live in the area.

“We have changed the interior a little, we want to create a warmer atmosphere, so previously it was very black and brown and that’s not our style at all. Someone said recently that it’s been ‘anna-fied’, meaning it’s now cosier and more welcoming.”

The pair stated it’s important that the bar regains its reputation as a top late night venue and as such will be opening the bar until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

They’ve added a new roster of events to enjoy too, with live music once again being a key feature including the addition of acoustic music sessions on Sundays.

Anna Christopherson said: “We pride ourselves on offering customers a fantastic time in any of our bars, and we know that Harry’s Bar is synonymous with enjoyment. We can’t wait to welcome a whole new generation of customers to this iconic bar, and of course, welcome back everyone who has loved Harry’s Bar over the years too.”