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In Scottish folklore, Ghillie Dhu was a gentle and kind-hearted mountain spirit, or a rather unusual nature fairy that guards trees. In Edinburgh pub terms, Ghillie Dhu is a West End watering hole that’s warm, welcoming and full of charm.
Situated at Rutland Place, this grand bar’s central location – just a few steps from Princes Street – makes it a popular stop for locals and tourists alike and, with live music every night from 9.30pm onward, it’s often rammed in the evenings, especially at weekends.
As you’d expect from a former church – the building was once the St Thomas Episcopal Church – Ghillie Dhu is very impressive from the outside. Inside, it’s even better – totally atmospheric, there’s winding staircases, high vaulted ceilings lit by chandeliers, and large arched windows. Were you to choose a venue to impress an out-of-towner, you wouldn’t go far wrong here.
Set over three floors, Ghillie Dhu boasts a large auditorium which holds events and can be booked for private parties and weddings, a good-sized bar area with occasional live music, live sports on the big screens, and a restaurant that serves up hearty Scottish fayre made with local produce.
There’s also a Wee Rascals menu, which has plenty of tasty options for kids, who are permitted in the restaurant until 8pm.
Back to the bar area, and the booths with bells are a nice touch, it has to be said – just ring for instant service.
On Friday nights, the Ghillie Dhu hosts its Burly Ceilidh Club, a weekly event that is always rammed and sees punters jigging the night away until the wee small hours.
Ghillie Dhu, Rutland Place, Edinburgh, 0131 222 9930, www.ghillie-dhu.co.uk
Words: Marius McKee