Lucy Ribchester’s AAA Edinburgh

Lucy Ribchester was born in Edinburgh and grew up in Fife. She studied English at St Andrews and Shakespearean Studies at the Globe in London. In 2013 she won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. This year her short story The Glassblower’s Daughter was shortlisted for the Costa Short Story Award, and her first novel The Hourglass Factory was published. Her new novel The Amber Shadows has just been published. She lives in Edinburgh wth her partner Alex and greyhound Buster.

  • Most memorable capital event?

Hogmanay at the Millennium. Me and my pals had street tickets and some bottles of dubious booze and the atmosphere was amazing, with people from all over the world.

  • Who would you choose to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay?

Haha, Edith Piaf. I know, it’s not possible, but couldn’t you just imagine her singing ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ at the bells?


  • Favourite old-fashioned boozer?

I love the Dagda Bar on Buccleuch street where I used to host the pub quiz – so many great ales and whiskies. But my other half works in the Cambridge Bar and I have to say (completely unbiasedly) they do make the best burgers in Edinburgh, as well as serving a magnificent smoked porter.

  • Favourite style bar?

What is a style bar? Is it the same as a cocktail bar? If so, I like Lucky Liquor where they host Hush Hour. But writer Lynsey May and I also love our sessions at Panda & Sons where the cocktails come with fire paper and smoke-filled cloches. I think that’s as close as I’ll get to a style bar.

  • Favourite restaurant?

The steaks at Shebeen are unbelievable. I am hungry just thinking about one. But a place I went recently and can’t wait to go back is Bodega – amazing tacos.

  • Do you love or loathe the Festival?

Three weeks of non-stop circus, theatre and dance? I love it.

  • Favourite art gallery?

The City Art Centre has fantastic exhibitions, and for the permanent collections I love the two Modern Art Galleries.

  • Favourite cinema?

Definitely the Cameo. For the programme, the building, the bar…(I do really like the Dominion – my Mum’s fave – but their seats are a bit too comfy and I’m prone to falling asleep in them).

  • Favourite live music venue?

I don’t see an awful lot of gigs, but on the odd occasion I’ve ended up in the Jazz Bar on Chambers Street I’ve had a lovely time.

“Come for the

festival, stay for

everything else”

  • Favourite walk in or around the city?

My usual walk is to Murieston Park as it’s fully-enclosed and the only place I can let my dog off the lead – he’s a greyhound and they don’t have much road sense. But I love the walk along the Roseburn path from Haymarket to Cramond – and then a pint at the end in the Cramond Inn.

  • Favourite shopping area?

Newington has fantastic charity shops, as does Stockbridge.

  • Favourite piece of architecture?

Oooh, lovely question! The tiny little lodge house for Dalry Cemetery is beautiful – I love everything about it from its gothic windows to its fishscale roof. I love it so much I wrote a story about it for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Runners-up are Lamb’s House in Leith and the art deco windows in Spoon café.

  • What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the city?

Some of my earliest memories of Edinburgh are arriving at Haymarket to go to the dentist. Back then it was a dank, filthy place with brown plastic everywhere. But it had a certain charm. Now it’s all glass panelling and an M&S. An M&S at Haymarket! Times are changing.

  • Favourite festival?

Probably the Fringe – but only just. The dance programme at the International Festival has been fabulous the past few years.

  • Favourite Edinburgh-set novel?

Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey is fantastic – it’s a re-imagining of Jane Austen’s novel set during the Edinburgh Festival. But also Trainspotting. I picked it up off my Dad’s bedside table when I was about 13 and Edinburgh has never looked the same since.

  • Favourite local hero?

Dave McBryan has been writing the questions for Edinburgh’s best pub quizzes (including Dagda, see above) for many years now. His quizzes are absolutely brilliant, with questions on classics, astrophysics, soap operas, NFL, etc etc. He’s a proper unsung hero and a very nice chap. And he recently won 15 to 1. Not just one episode but the entire series.

  • Sell Edinburgh to a tourist in no more than ten words…

Come for the festival, stay for everything else.

To find out more about Lucy Ribchester, click HERE to visit her official website