Neighbourhood watch: Newington, Edinburgh

Neighbourhood Watch: Newington, Edinburgh

A guide to the ares of the Scottish capital dominated by Edinburgh University

What's it like?
Okay, we'll get the inevitable out of the way first. There are a lot of students living in Newington. And while we know some of our readers aren't that keen on students, their presence does imbue the area with a certain bounce and life not seen in some of the quieter parts of the city. Plus: cracking views of Arthur's Seat.

Where's it, like?
About 15 minutes from the Royal Mile: walk up the Bridges and keep going until the people on the streets begin to get younger and posher-looking.

Who's from there?

Harry Potter, thank you. Despite claims by other establishments, we all know the boy wizard was created in Nicolson's, now Spoon, on Nicolson Street. And Inspector Rebus, although he lives in Marchmont, occasionally reports for work at the St Leonard's Police Station. We can't think of any real people off the top of our heads, although Walter Scott was known to be a fan of the area, as The Heart of Midlothian and cosy snug The Jeanie Dean's on St Leonard's Street will testify.

Why would I go there?
Because it's home to some of the best independent shops and bars in the city. The Pear Tree and the Moo Bar are legendary Embra pubs, the Blind Poet has great real alehosts excellent spoken word night Blind Poetics on the first Monday, Word Power is a wonderful radical book shop with its own annual Fringe to the Charlotte Square festival, Hot Head give great hairdressing, and the hungry of all budgets are catered to with the excellent likes of Blonde, the Mosque Kitchen and the aforementioned Spoon.

A Spoon
6a Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DH
Quirky and chilled, with a focus on ethical sourcing, serving up food to suit all tastes.
B The Original Mosque Kitchen and Aroma Café
Edinburgh Central Mosque, 50 Potterrow, Edinburgh, EH8 9BT
Without delving too deeply into some slightly murky internecine politics, we can report that once again there's curry being served in the courtyard beside Edinburgh's Central Mosque. Previous occupants 'Mosque Kitchen' established a new restaurant under…
C Lighthouse
43 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB
A book shop with a strong political identity and focus on promoting non-mainstream literature. To this end they run the annual Edinburgh Book Fringe during August, with a series of free literary events featuring offbeat writers, and the Edinburgh…
D The Pear Tree House
38 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DD
Newly refurbished pub and restaurant in the heart of studentland, with one of the most famous beer gardens in Edinburgh.
E Blind Poet
32c West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8DD
F Blonde
75 St Leonard's Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9QR
Popular well-established neighbourhood bistro offering a good choice for vegetarians, meat and fish lovers alike.

Edinburgh Book Fringe

Taking place in radical bookshop Word Power, the Edinburgh Book Fringe brings together writers and activists from around the world for a host of daily readings and discussions, all of which are free.