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93 Buccleuch Street,
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0131 667 9773
Mon-Sat 12.30pm-12.55am; Sun 1pm-12.55am

August 2010

Dagda was the father-figure of the Celtic Gods, presiding over crops and fertility, and he is often referred to as 'the good god'. The pub in question, previously called Proctors, lies out past the central university area along Buccleuch Place, opposite the Hall of The Royal Company of Archers - one of Edinburgh's hidden treasures.

This body of men (women are not permitted to join!) is the official bodyguard of the monarch when in Scotland, and on ceremonial occasions dress in traditional uniforms to escort the royal carriage. Members are often keen archers in real life, and compete for some of the oldest known prizes in the country, including the silver Musselburgh Arrow, dating from the 17th century.

The pub's clientele are a mixture of students and local residents, and on a busy night it is a mystery how they all fit in as this pub's floor area must be one of the smallest in the city! The manager described it as “a bar for the community", and it holds a quiz night on Tuesdays. In addition to beer, there is also a healthy choice of whiskies and a few Belgian beers.

There are always a number of guest ales on offer, trying to achieve a mixture of light, medium and dark, and as far as possible they are chosen from small, local breweries. I tried three recently: firstly, Kelburn Gold Hops (3.8% abv, £3.00); this was the light option, very clear and refreshing on the palate. Then I turned to the medium ale, Blathen Tryst (4.0% abv, £3.00). Slightly darker, tangy, with a hint of elderflower. But the real delight was saved to last, Rudgate Ruby Mild (4.4% abv, also £3.00) What a delight! Dark, ruby red in colour with more than a hint of port about it. Absolutely fantastic, and worth every penny of the extremely reasonable £3.00. In fact, all the ales sell at the same price, even the Raj Tryst (5.5% abv).

Altogether a charming pub, friendly, and conveniently located near The Meadows for a post-jogging refreshment, for example - or even instead of a jog if one felt so inclined! (D. Albury)


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