The Crafters Barn is a “Belgian Beer-infused Brasserie,” located near the top of the Mound and offering enviable views of the National Gallery and Princes Street Gardens.
Despite the obvious love of beer, it's primarily an eatery that has proved popular in the highly competitive Edinburgh dining scene.
Beer cocktails and a sharing platter in the beer garden — Photo courtesy of The Crafters Barn
The interior very much conforms to the trend for contemporary industrial style fittings complemented by minimalist furnishings and decor. Polished metal scaffolds support long, slim tables ringed by high chairs, and the high-backed leather pews that line the walls of exposed brick are draped with soft, neutral-colored blankets.
The airy space is lit with a series of pendant lights and the natural light that streams in through the huge front facing windows.
The Crafters Barn also has a delightful cobbled courtyard to the side of the building, with a number of simple metal tables and chairs. This welcome outdoor dining area is very popular, particularly during the festival in August; tables are jealously guarded by the lucky ones who have taken possession of them.
Inside The Crafters Barn — Photo courtesy of The Crafters Barn
The menu at The Crafters Barn focuses on offering small tapas-style plates and sharing platters, supported by buffalo steaks, stone-baked pizzas and mussels. There's a distinctly hoppy quality to many dishes, from the blond beer-infused lamb and Belgian fish stew in a Hoegaarden sauce to the decidedly delicious beer chips.
But the pizzas present a pleasantly different face for diners not looking to drink and eat beer, and the buffalo steaks are a triumph.
The beer menu is a sizable affair, with much to recommend it. The Crafters Barn freely admits that they are not beer connoisseurs, and there are certainly some omissions that may disappoint aficionados.
But they do offer an impressive selection. They stock 50 bottled beers, four draft beers and four guest taps for Scottish and Belgian beers.
A small plate and a bottle of beer — Photo courtesy of The Crafters Barn
The wine menu is more limited, as you would perhaps expect. But there's still sufficient choice to prove tempting. Where The Crafters Barn really comes into its own is in the beer cocktails. Tin Tin (named after the ever-popular fictional Belgian reporter) is particularly good fun and well worth a try.
There's also the presence of the rare and critically acclaimed Westvleteren XII, made by Belgian Trappist Monks and consistently rated the best beer in the world. However, it's decidedly expensive, so perhaps best left to true beer-lovers and those with a special celebration in mind.
At The Crafters Barn, they clearly appreciate good beer. But their informal and relaxed approach makes for a pleasantly relaxed ambiance. The food is good, and the price tag pretty reasonable, given their prime location.