30 Yeaman Place
Tel: 0131 229 3413
Located within cat-slinging distance of the canal, the Golden Rule is what most cliched reviews would describe as ‘one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets’. They’d be talking complete rubbish however, as the Rule is nothing of the sort – this is a public bar, and the public come here in their droves on a weekend to watch the rugby, football and anything else that can be viewed from a barstool whilst absorbing more units of alcohol than ought to be humanly possible. This is Scotland however, where we like to revel in our revelry, so let’s raise a toast to Polwarth’s rat-arsed residents who make the Golden Rule their home from home. The few locals who don’t step in here every Saturday are presumably jogging off the guilt from the previous night’s intemperance in their aureate local.
While the formalities take place within the Golden Rule’s main bar, it is downstairs where most of the fun happens. This anachronistic lower-level bar is reminiscent of a male-only members club, with its leather upholstery and a faint whiff of the 1920s, a time when women knew better than to meddle in men’s affairs, especially those pertaining to the voracious consumption of alcohol. Continuing with the misogynous theme, it is worth noting that the lower bar looks directly up into the rear of the main bar, enabling unscrupulous customers to occasionally peek up the skirt of their barmaid. Edinburgh Uncovered of course would condemn any such behaviour.
The golden rule of the Golden Rule, incidentally, is that you don’t make phone calls in the Golden Rule. Phone reception in the downstairs bar is virtually non-existent, which is either a very good thing, a very bad thing or a very indifferent thing, depending on your outlook on life. For the staff who run the Golden Rule’s quiz nights on a Tuesday, it is definitely the former. The competition is deliberately sited in the downstairs bar so as to prevent anyone from Googling the answers on their phone. The spoilsports! What’s the point in entering the quiz if you can’t cheat with your iPhone? The walls of the Golden Rule must be thick enough to withstand a nuclear blast. In the event of a post-apocalyptic armageddon striking Polwarth, fleeing residents are urged to take refuge in here. With no phone reception of course, there’ll be no means of knowing when it’s safe to step outside again.
The music, when we visited, was as eclectic as the Golden Rule’s patrons, including tracks by Garbage (remember ‘Milk’?) and The Stone Roses (Elephant Stone), which elicited faint memories of being 16 again. (Eagle-eyed readers could theoretically use this data to calculate my exact age and then use the information to apply for a library card in my name which could be used to obtain an ascending hierarchy of ID cards until ultimately an Edinburgh Uncovered credit card is ordered to fraudulently run up a bill of thousands of pounds. In reality, I think I’ll sleep quite soundly tonight as my credit rating’s horrific, and you/I would be declined at the first stage. Phew, glad we cleared that one up.)
A slogan painted above the bar boasts of its ‘distinctive beers from around the world.’ What isn’t advertised so publicly is that board games including Battleships and Monopoly are also available, presumably so customers can play to see who buys the next round. Such wagers are not recommended in the case of Monopoly however as players are likely to have sobered up and died of dehydration long before the victor has been decided. Upon asking my drinking partner, a beer aficionado and brewery bigwig, for her thoughts on the Golden Rule, she replied, ‘There’s a nice barman who works here and they’ve a good selection of cask ales. They also appear to have a decent selection of bottled beers – well, not as good as my personal collection – though the rum collection could use a bit of work, and there’s a reasonable whisky selection.’ And that is why we don’t let real ale experts post reviews on this site – their opinions are far too measured and practical. The purpose of Edinburgh Uncovered, in case you haven’t yet noticed, is not to review places, but to waffle on about life in general before tenuously tying said waffles in with a local establishment arbitrarily plucked from thin air. Thus far, as you’ll surely agree, we’re doing a sterling job.
Try: BrewDog Punk IPA. Raw sex in a pint glass.
Avoid: Stealing alcohol from behind the lower bar when the barmaid is preoccupied upstairs, even though there are no cameras watching you. Because that would just be plain wrong.
Around £3.50 for a pint of fancy beer, less for more workmanlike ones
Toasties available for £2