212 Cowgate


Tel: 0131 5563254

Most piss-heads pay more attention to the floor than the ceiling of the bar they’re drinking in, not least because it’s usually where they’ll end up face-down by the end of the night.  Should they find themselves in such a prostrate state in Bannerman’s however, they would do well to cast their glazed gaze heavenwards, for this is where most of the action can be found.  Look up and you’ll discover that the subterranean pub’s vaulted ceilings are awash with rugby tops, flags and even old records.  Indeed, this place pays more attention to its ceilings than most pubs do to their food menu.  Even the urinals in here are not to be sniffed at, so to speak, with curved reflective mirrors enabling you to admire your member while you pee.  While Bannerman’s are to be congratulated for the kaleidoscopic Artexing of their ceilings, it is closer to earth where the real magic happens.  Behind its well-stocked bar, a mind-numbing orgy of beers and shots vie solely for your affection and not your life savings.  With a generous selection of drinks available for just £2 most days of the week, Bannerman’s achieves the impossible by being cheap without attracting complete binge-drinking scum.  This is accomplished largely thanks to the bar’s rock music policy, which precludes the majority of the Cowgate’s clientele from daring to set foot in the door.

Bannerman’s puts on live music six nights a week, which is a great thing if you love noisy guitar outfits, probably less so if you’re in for a quiet pint.  With upcoming bands such as Lords Of Bastard and Giant Monster Attack to look forward to, it’s safe to assume that the only way you’ll be hearing a Justin Bieber song in here is if it’s a down-tuned ironic screamo version.  Like most Edinburgh pubs who boast of serving guest ales, Bannerman’s range consists of the obligatory Deuchars and Caledonian offerings, but hey, it’s better than bloody Carling at least.

The pub’s decor, in keeping with the music policy, is strictly rock-only.  This means framed pictures of tattoo designs, wall-mounted guitars and t-shirts proclaiming the venue’s allegiance to all things rock and whisky-related.  Why are Jim Beam, Jack Daniel’s et al  synonymous with rock music anyway?  Why not chablis or Tia Maria?  It all gets you smashed at the end of the day, doesn’t it?  If getting paralytic is your thing, you’ll be pleased to know that Bannerman’s serve up all manner of nasty looking shots and Jager shooters.  At the time, such elixirs always seem like a wonderful proposition, but bear in mind that there are few things in life more painful than a Jagermeister hangover.  While the drinks selection is commendable, the food selection can only be described as startling, with toasties and paninis available in a range of flavours including ‘pizza’ and Nutella.  It’s all the peckish drinker could ever wish for crammed between two pieces of warm bread.  Bannerman’s also provides free Wi-Fi, enabling you to stream Spotify if all that hard rock music gets too much for your Coldplay-coddled ears to take, while a selection of screens show the mandatory Sky Sports News on silent.  (What did pubs show before the invention of Sky Sports incidentally – Countdown?)  The cavernous venue, which extends to three separate zones, also manages to squeeze in a pool table, fireplace and stage area.  With rock bands playing most nights of the week and a hip-hop night on the last Thursday of every month, the only thing that Bannerman’s don’t lay on is a pop-themed karaoke night.  Which is a crying shame.

Try: The Bannerman’s U-Boat shooter.  Apparently it’s supposed to be downed in a similar manner to a Blowjob shot.  And if you don’t know what a Blowjob is, ask your mum.  (Sorry…)

Avoid:  The Pizza/Nutella panini combo unless you don’t mind seeing that Jagermeister shot sooner than you’d bargained.

Typical prices:

£2 bottles of beer

£1-2 shots

Burger & fries £5.50

Toasties £2.50

Paninis £3.50