GAZING up to Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street while munching on a high-quality steak could soon be a reality as plans launch for a restaurant on the Capital’s main thoroughfare.
Currently occupied by clothes store New Look, which is due to vacate the property, the unit at the west end could be transformed into Bar + Block, a smart steak restaurant chain.
It would be the first street-level eatery, bar fast-food joints, on Princes Street in decades which developers have said will create something “special and new”.
Donald Anderson of Playfair Scotland on behalf of the applicant said: “Quality dining at ground floor level can only help improve the Princes Street experience for everyone.”
Proposals also include an extension to the existing Premier Inn with 50 additional rooms, accessed using the current entrance door on the main street leading up to the hotel.
Planning consultants Montagu Evans submitted a detailed report to the council for consideration.
It stated: “Notwithstanding the overall loss of retail floorspace the delivery of refurbished hotel space with additional rooms, together with the introduction of a high quality restaurant would be of great benefit to Princes Street, particularly in this west end location. There continues to be a natural gravitation of retailers towards the east end of the city, which is likely to be further exacerbated by the opening of the St James development in 2021.
“The introduction of alternative and complementary uses within Princes Street will ensure that this area remains vibrant and successful.”
Chains such as Bar + Block moving to Edinburgh is a trend seen across brands, explained head of licensed trade and leisure agency for Graham + Sibbald, Peter Seymour. “Edinburgh has one of the best dining out experiences in the UK, with some very high quality establishments within the city. Therefore other brands will want to be seen in the same locations. As long as the expansion is well considered and we do not see a dip in consumer spending then I think it is a good decision.
“The West End of Princes Street is concerned about the gravitation towards the east of the city and there is a strong concern that visitors will soon take the train to Waverley, go to the St James Centre and then head home again, which will dampen footfall at the West End.
“However there is a strong office and residential area in that part of the city and with the development ongoing near to Haymarket, and possibly more to come in that area, then we would suggest that Edinburgh has not yet seen a complete move away from the west.”