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.