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The Lord Nelson
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The Lord Nelson
8 Trafalgar Street,
City of Edinburgh,
0131 555 6777
Opening times: Mon - Wed: 16:00 - 23:00 Thu: 16:00 - 00:00 Fri - Sat: 12:00 - 01:00 Sun: 12:30 - 23:00

Conquering hearts in Leith

Is there anything better than a cosy pub on a cold, dark winter evening? Preferably with a solid wooden bar, comfy armchairs, an array of glistening brass taps and a vast collection of spirits. And a real log fire.

This is what we found when we joined some friends in the recently refurbed and reborn Lord Nelson in Leith. OK, I lie, there wasn’t a real fire, but there was a sparkly Christmas tree, hot mulled wine and mince pies so the cosiness factor was high. While the espresso martini and orange espresso martini were both very tempting (a bargain at two for £8), we stuck with the naval theme and chose Broadside dark ale and Kraken rum with ginger beer.

The pub was re-opened by its current owner in October 2017, after sitting pretty much derelict for a year and a half. Thankfully, while there has been a fair amount of modernisation to make the place comfortable, pains were taken to preserve the original features both inside and out, including a huge island bar. The result is a welcoming home from home that draws on its historical origins – a portrait of Lord Nelson still hanging proudly. You can see pictures of the refurbishment process on the pub’s Facebook page if you’re interested to see the transformation.

Despite its close proximity to The Shore, cocktail menu and trendy gin selection, the Lord Nelson feels very much like a traditional, local pub; the owner is friendly and chatty, dogs are warmly welcomed and there are two changing ale taps. Regular events run by the bar serve to bring people together, including Vinyl Sundays, Boozy Book Club and a weekly quiz night, as well as frequent live music. The prices are also very reasonable, and while there isn’t a kitchen, the owner encourages people to BYOF, so by the magic of Deliveroo, any cuisine can be enjoyed in the bar.

The instant success of the new Lord Nelson spells hope for the traditional, friendly pub, but with a modern twist. When it came time to leave, we reluctantly exchanged the bright cosy interior for the icy rain outside, all resolving to return soon.

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