This friendly bar has been serving ales and spirits to thirsty commuters, local revelers and tourists for many generations and has changed very little in that time.
Inside Ryrie's bar — Photo courtesy of Ryrie's
Haymarket station was constructed in 1842, but there was a weigh house at the site, which was probably converted to an inn when the station opened. The first ordinance survey map of the area records a Railway Inn at this location, which was soon to be joined by the Haymarket Inn in 1862.
These two buildings soon merged and were redesigned by Robert MacFarlane Cameron for Ryrie’s & Co. Whisky Merchants.
The iconic Edwardian bar Cameron designed has been beautifully preserved and has been granted listed status by Historic Scotland. The facade of the bar is a fine example of the classical revival style popular in the late 19th century, and the brightly colored windows of the downstairs bar are a particularly fine example of stained glass from that period.
Inside, there are also many original features. The carved wooden bar has been somewhat altered, but the beautiful clock that sits above the wines and spirits to warn travelers that their train is due is still in good working order. The floor is of beautifully polished oak, and long beams support the white plastered ceiling.
Along the bar stand high stools upholstered in soft blue tartan, and the comfortable booths lining the walls are clad in the same rich fabric. The function room upstairs is also furnished in wood and tartan and the walls lined with beautifully polished wooden panels. One of the few nods to the modern world is the flat-screen TVs to be found in both the downstairs and upstairs bars.
Ryrie’s stocks a very respectable range of real ales and craft beers, as well as an excellent selection of spirits and wines. There's an entirely separate menu dedicated to whiskey, as befits the premises of a whiskey merchant! It's also pleasant to discover many local brews on the menu, as well as some well-chosen beers and sprits from around the world.
They also serve a wide range of food, from salads and light snacks to main meals. Their lunch menu is a very good value, with two courses for five pounds. The evening menu centers around pub classics, such as burgers, fish and chips and steak pie (as well as delicious chunky chips), but their premium haggis is a real treat not to be missed.
If you want to enjoy a pint or a bite to eat in a traditional Scottish bar, you'll find Ryrie’s is both charming and friendly. On a summer's day, the outside seating is a great place for people watching, and on a cold winter's night the welcome is warm and the atmosphere lively.