37 Leven Street
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You guys! Listen up you guys! I’ve had the coolest idea. Srsly. What we’re gonna do is buy an old mannies’ pub, right, and we’ll totally gut the place and then – wait for it – what we’ll do is convert it into a trendy cocktail bar where yuppies can pay £7 a pop for Victorian Mojitos. Who’s with me?
Wowsers. You’ve gotta hand it to The Blackbird: as outré ideas go, theirs is so left-field, it’s in danger of soundtracking a Guinness commercial.
In the 21st century, taking old men’s pubs and converting them into cocktail bars is de rigueur. Why? Because that’s progress apparently. Here’s a novel thought: if a developer wants to be truly daring, they should try taking a cocktail bar and turning it into an old mannies’ pub. Now that would be a sight worth seeing.
It would be fair to say The Blackbird isn’t going to win any awards for its groundbreaking, zeitgeist-grabbing business model then. In 2012, theirs is a concept that has been tried and tested more times than the missionary position. Then again, you have to ask yourself: why do we keep coming back to the missionary position – because it’s effective? Because it’s easy? Because it consistently hits the spot? Because it enables weight-obsessed women to stop fretting over the fear of their non-existent love handles sagging while performing the reverse cowgirl? The answer, of course, is all of these reasons rolled into one lovable bundle. Let’s not harangue The Blackbird for failing to invent an entirely new sexual position with which to tickle our erogenous zones – let’s just be grateful that they’re willing to fuck us at all.
After all, where would you rather let your hair down and leave your inhibitions in a crumpled heap on the floor – an old mannies’ pub or a gleaming cocktail bar?
The Blackbird Tollcross
If you’re wondering why Ed Uncovered doesn’t review pubs more often, incidentally, this is why. This is why we can’t have nice things: because some prurient blogger always has to take it to the lowest common denominator and then ramp it down several more notches.
Poor old Blackbird: they invest a six-figure sum in renovating the place and then their first proper review, destined for the first page of Google, is all about throbbing cocks and dripping pussies. Hey guys, U Mad?
It’s a shame, cos buried ball-deep in this review are some genuinely nice compliments for The Blackbird. It looks great for a start. And the drinks are great too. Like, semi-inducing, pantie-moisteningly great.
Oops, we did it again. Hang on, here’s an SFW quote for The Blackbird to put on their website when it goes live:
OK, now back to the review:
What’s in a space? What’s in a single tap of the spacebar to separate one word from another? Technically, there’s just a single space in a space, and yet those millimetres of whiteness can mark the difference between success and failure. Name your pub The Blackbird and you’ll have punters flocking there in their droves. Name it The Black Bird however and you’ll have the Commission for Racial Equality all over you. Kudos then to The Blackbird for opting to keep their pub a space-free zone.
Speaking of space, there’s plenty of the amorphous stuff inside The Blackbird: space to swing a cat, a punch or anything else you may care to wield. Even with the old mannies’ fittings ripped out, this isn’t the largest establishment, but the proprietors have made the most of their lot. Tall windows allow the light to flood in, aided by a wall of mirrors that will appeal to your inner narcissist. Fucking in here after-hours – in the missionary position of course – would be pretty god-damn awesome.
What else would you like to know before we return to the subject of sticking things in wet, warm orifices? Based on early assessments, The Blackbird’s patrons consist of a mixture of good guys and loud-mouthed wankers, which in fairness describes every pub in Britain. Tunes come in the form of a pair of TVs showing 4Music, which is an incongruous touch in an otherwise classy setting. This shortcoming can be forgiven however on account of the bar’s awesome ceiling. The tiled blackbird logo may be simple, but it’s strangely hypnotic and you just know it’s gonna look awesome after eight cocktails, in the same way that the slightly tubby barmaid will look awesome after a similar amount of lubrication. Alcoholic lubrication, I stress. This isn’t one of those smutty downmarket blogs you know.
For reviewing purposes (such a beautiful phrase), I began with a Moscow Mule: ‘Finlandia, fresh lime, ginger beer and bitters served in a vintage copper mug’. To call it a mug would be underselling this gleaming bronze tankard however. If you don’t feel an overwhelming urge to pocket one of these beauties after draining its contents, GTFO now. For the record, I refrained from committing petty larceny, but only because I felt guilty about depriving the bar of one of their copper mugs on the opening weekend. Besides, I’d already swiped a cocktail menu to aid with the composition of this piece.
With names such as The Dirty Housewife and Naughty Miss Mary, you may find yourself wondering whether you’re supposed to drink the cocktails or fap over them. My advice would be to drink them – you can always find time to fap later. There’s always time for fapping. The cocktails taste excellent, by the way, just as you would expect of a judicious blend of spirits, fresh juices, fruit and sweeteners. Short of subjecting Nicole Scherzinger to a champagne enema and swallowing the aftermath, getting drunk could hardly taste yummier.
Any old mannies wandering in for a pensioner’s pint & a nip are going to be sorely disappointed these days. Drinks prices aren’t the cheapest, but then no one ever started a cocktail bar to spend hours lovingly creating scrumptious concoctions only to sell them for the price of a Foster’s.
Elsewhere, there’s all the staples you’d expect to find in an old mannies’ pub-turned-cocktail bar: candles, exposed stonework, metal stools, canvas prints and bare lightbulbs – a flourish which would be taken as a sign of neglect in the former, but which is a sign of urban chic in the latter.
Upon quizzing my girlfriend about other attributes that warranted mentioning, she reeled off the following descriptors: funky, rustic, cosy, vintage, nice wooden tables.
Me? If I had to sum The Blackbird up in a few words, they would be as follows: This is a great spot to visit for a night of drunken debauchery with that dirty blonde secretary you’re banging on the side. Fill her with Raspberry Daquiris, give her a cheeky line in the bogs, finger her snatch under the table then take her back to the office for a quick knee-trembler while Trent Reznor screams ‘I wanna fuck you like an animal!’
And that’s why I write the reviews round here and my darling girlfriend doesn’t get to read them if at all possible.
With The Blackbird taking up the space once occupied by the Auld Toll Bar – and filling it with yuppie potions – is there a danger of Tollcross becoming gentrified? Probably, but that’s just life: first they build an old mannies’ pub, then they convert it into a cocktail bar, then a foul-mouthed blogger struts in there and leaves it indelibly associated with sex in the missionary position. But as our mothers – and our mothers’ mothers – will attest, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Drink deeply, my dears, hitch up your loins and prepare to become intimately familiar with The Blackbird – Edinburgh’s newest old pub.
★ Zombie: Brugal, Havana Especial, Havana 7, Bacardi Gold, Pampero Especial, Apricot Brandy, Grand Marnier, orange, pineapple, fresh lime and Grenadine…set alight with a Wray and Nephew overproof rum float £8
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