The Canny Man's


What is it: The Canny Man's is one go Edinburgh most cherished drinking establishments. It was first opened in 1871 by James Kerr and has been the regular watering hole for Morningside locals ever since. Legendary publican Watson Kerr, the great grandson of the founder, sadly passed away in 2011 but he is the man who established the Canny Man's unique and infamous image. The pub has been in the ownership of the Kerr family since it was founded. A lot of modern pubs go for a “quirky” feel when trying to bring personality to their venue. The Canny Man’s decor is anything but contrived with each piece of the bric-a-brac on the walls telling a story of its history and its regulars. The intricate wood work of the bar and the gantry which are the jewel in the crown of the space are said to be from the original bar. It actually feels like a privilege to get a space at the bar and have a few drinks.

Interesting fact: The Canny Man's is actually a nickname for the public house as the pub’s original name is the Volunteer Arms, a traditional name used for bars back in the late 1800s. The place is a warren of different rooms and dookits each with their own unique name, such as The Boomerang Room, The Churchill Room, The Courtyard which leads to the Hacienda or Stables on the right (a small summer house) The Four Ale Bar, The Residents’ Lounge, The Smoke Room and The Marbles.

Verdict: Some people just don’t get this place and think that it is almost hostile in its manner, with the warning sign literally hanging on the wall as you walk in which reads "no mobiles, no credit cards, no backpackers, no cameras”. For this is all part of its charm and has became part of the theatre of this legendary pub. This was my first visit in a few years and I'm glad to say it hasn't changed. Yes this won't be everyone's cup of tea but it is without doubt one of Edinburgh’s most iconic pubs.

Drink: Great beer and whisky selection here but the pub is also famous for its bloody mary’s. There is something special about sitting in The Canny Man’s on a weekend afternoon with a bloody mary.

Food: The menu here, like its decor, is eclectic. As well as a strong seafood choice, there is an extensive list SMØRREBRØD or open sandwiches which are perfect while having a few drinks.

Children: I'm not sure if they allow kids in with adults when dining but this is not really a place to bring the wee ones.

Alfresco: Not the easiest to find but out the back is a great beer garden for sitting in the sun.

Perfect for: This is one of my favourite bars on the planet for escaping to after a busy day. It's great for just sitting back and taking in the eclectic atmosphere while enjoying a couple of drinks.

Avoid if: You are on a lads' or girls' night out and plan a rowdy one as you won't get past the front door at The Canny Man's.

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