NOW this is an exciting new opening – or exhumation rather. The remains of the Edinburgh Castle pub have long been an Ancoats eyesore. It was begging for some canny operator to restore it to life in its prime site near buzzing Cutting Room Square.
Step forward the folk from Cottonopolis, arguably the Northern Quarter’s best bar.
They are not bringing that template with them, though, to this abandoned Victorian pub, which dates back to 1811 and will finally reopen on Thursday, November 14 with the first floor 36 cover restaurant following on November 26.
The Edinburgh Castle ethos is to be the ideal local – a ‘proper boozer with a proper pint’. The pub, on the ground floor, will serve food ‘with a traditional angle’ from 12pm-8pm Monday to Friday. Expect to see pies, game and favourites such as fish and chips. There will be a weekend brunch menu (10am-3pm) and a roast each Sunday (12pm-8pm).
Upstairs in the 36-cover restaurant, the focus has been to bring good British food with provenance to the menu. Kiwi chef Julian Pizer (above) has put huge emphasis on seasonality and local suppliers here – not working just on calendar season, but the strong, close relationship that he and his team have with the suppliers. There is a dish on the menu which is already destined to be the signature; Bees Waxed Aged Beef. There is a wonderful story behind the development of this dish - we don’t want to give too much away but we urge you to find out on your visit.
Gethin Jones (above, expect it to be friendly) is the man behind the drinks element at Edinburgh Castle. Not only does he promise that the pub focus will be on a good pint, Guinness on tap and a ‘solid’ Irish Coffee, guests can expect cocktails, plus considered whisky and gin lists.
As you’d expect from Cottonopolis, sympathetic design plays its part. Artist and tattooist Gre Hale has designed many of the elements such as menus and wallpaper within the space and the signage outside, re-working the old pub sign using the dominant typeface of Ancoats industrial past – hand-painted in 24 ct gold by street artist and designer Lei-mai.
Edinburgh Castle director Nick Muir, director told us: “We hope to be a welcome addition to Ancoats. The Edinburgh Castle pub has been popular and serving locals for centuries and we can’t wait to add our stamp on its legacy.
“We look forward to becoming a part of this wonderful neighbourhood and will ensure we give the area, our neighbours and visitors what they want – a quality place to eat and drink and a stylish twist on traditional with exceptional standards.”
Edinburgh Castle Ancoats, Blossom St, Manchester M4 5DH, will officially open to the public on Thursday, 14 November from 8pm with the following opening hours thereafter: Sun-Thu 10am-11pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12pm. Follow developments on Twitter @ec_ancoats