26 Brougham Street
Tel: 0131 221 9997
If your idea of the perfect pub involves Sky Sports on every screen and cut-price curry nights, Cloisters probably isn’t the place for you. If the prospect of supping micro-brewed ale in front of an open fire while pondering the weightier issues of our time entices you however, remove your thick-rimmed spectacles and step inside.
Cloisters is one of those indigenous pubs that are almost unique in their inability to prosper out-with the capital. Transport the bar and its chattering inhabitants to a Gorbals scheme and the whole lot would be reduced to embers in the time it takes to snarl ‘Fit team dya support?’ The pub is cosy and inviting, its clientele enlightening and a round of drinks wallet-lightening. In fairness however, that £20 will buy you some exceedingly quaffable beer, served by friendly bar staff in an atmosphere that is conducive to creativity, be it ostentatiously tinkering with your MacBook Air (that novel isn’t going to write itself you know) or simply gathering for a klatsch.
The bar fills up quickly on a weekend, so get there early if you want a prime seat from which to debate the debacle of Edinburgh’s trams. If you can afford to drink in Cloisters, you can probably afford to eat there too, which is good news for your cultured taste buds. The food is both ambrosial and inventive, with dishes such as Roast Pork Belly in Punk IPA sauce going down – and staying down – a treat. If Cloisters was a coffee bar, it would be Central Perk from Friends. This is a real bar however, serving proper beer to proper people, and for that we should all be grateful.
Try: Asking for a taster of the guest ales if you need help deciding
Avoid: Loudly dismissing rugby as being ‘a game for men with odd-shaped balls’
Useless information: A cloister is a covered walk in a monastery or similar building, typically with a wall on one side and a colonnade open to a quadrangle on the other. Though if you drink in Cloisters, you’ll be sufficiently educated to know that already.
Main courses from £7
Selection of pints and ales on tap from £3.20