Beer can – and should – make you feel good.
Of course, too much can leave a bad taste in the mouth or make you feel bad – familiar pitfalls for those of us who enjoy a pint or two.
But what if having an honest pint not only made you feel good, but did good for other people too?
That is the simple aim behind the Southside Social, which has just opened on Buccleuch Street on the former site of the Moo Bar and Meadow Bar.
It is Edinburgh’s first social enterprise pub. Young people are trained in bar and hospitality work and they receive a certificate after a 19 week programme confirming their suitability for work. And it also donates some of its profits to local charities.It’s a laudable venture. All you need to do is buy a pint. A perfect example of win-win scenario, surely?
I decided to pop along and check out the Southside Social shortly after the end of the Festival to find out.
First impressions were good. It’s been nicely refurbished – an informal canteen-style set-up with wooden benches and tables bathed in the sun pouring in through big windows. I really liked it.
More importantly, the welcome from the staff was warm, and they were charming and cheerful throughout. It’s testament to the quality of service that I had absolutely no idea if I was being served by trainees or not. If the success of any operation rests on the quality of its staff, then it feels like the Southside Social is in safe hands.
It was fairly quiet on a midweek late afternoon, with only a group of locals in one of the corners, but I could easily have lingered a lot longer.
There’s a TV in one corner. They offer live music in the evenings, when I could imagine it getting pleasantly raucous. And they also offer a small menu of burgers for sustenance.
What about the beer, though? Well, not particularly exciting. I had the house beer Soc-ale (brewed by Belhaven) and it was a fairly ordinary heavy, while the Theakston Barista Stout was cloyingly sweet with no coffee to offer balance.
But that’s not really the point.
The Southside Social is an establishment with an excellent ethos, helping local charities and young people.
Pleasingly, it is also a welcome – and distinct – addition to Edinburgh which deserves every success.