Port o Leith
Our Beer Man’s Verdict
We have previously highlighted the failed facelift of the Volly Arms in Leith.
The botched transformation of that notorious den seemed oddly epochal – the moment the “craft beer” bandwagon jumped the shark in North Edinburgh.
But now… But now the legendary Port O Leith – another haunt beloved of Irvine Welsh – has fallen, too. Truly, it’s the end of days.
It famed bright red painted façade is gone – with exposed brick and faded signage now on display.
That aesthetic continues inside: bare brickwork, filament lightbulbs, neon sign etc. The Port is a pub I’ve spent many raucous nights in but – on a beautiful summer evening – I’m pleasantly surprised I don’t hate its new identity as much as I expected.
It’s fine, if formulaic – with hints of its previous look: nautical flags draped here and there, and toilet doors like the old exterior. It’s fine.
While the décor nods to the hipster, almost everything else full embraces it. It feels needy.
The beer selection is, predictably, poor. Along with the usual staples, there’s Innis and Gunn, Revisionist Craft Stout and Brewdog Punk IPA on keg.
There are two cask handpumps – however, in what well may be a first, they both have the same beer on: Stewart’s Jack Back.
The Jack Back is fine. The Revisionist Craft Stout is dark, ashy and strangely acidic.
The transformation of one of Edinburgh’s most notorious and most cherished pubs is predictably lame.
I want to be angry at the demise of this institution, where I have spent so many memorable evenings at – though sadly, unlike Blythe, not on – the bar. But it’s just sad, and deeply disappointing.
Address: 58 Constitution Street, Edinburgh EH6 6RS