The Café Royal Circle Bar
Photography by diffordsguide.com
Words by Simon Difford on 08-May-2017
The Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2 2AA, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 131 556 1884
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Sun-Wed 11am-11pm, Thu 11am-midnight, Fri-Sat 11am-1am
Door: Open door
Style: Pub traditional
Recommended for: Food, Historic interest
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
The original Café Royal opened in 1826 across the road from the present building but after it was bought in 1861 the building was demolished and in its place, came a showroom for the latest in gas and sanitary fittings.
In 1863 The Café Royal moved to its present Parisian building which today, thanks partly to a preservation order, remains a splendid example of Victorian Baroque. Inside a carved and polished walnut screen with bevelled mirrors separates the bar from the Oyster Bar next door while the central oval-shaped island bar counter dominates the room. The back wall is covered with Doulton ceramic murals purchased from the locally held 1886 International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art. These depict great inventors: William Caxton, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Peel, Michael Faraday, George Stephenson and James Watt.
This Café may be Royal but it is extensively a gastro pub, albeit a rather beautiful one. The traditional pub drink offering includes a choice of four ales to accompany the house speciality, oysters. What the Café Royal lacks in fabulous drinks it makes up for with Architectural splendour. 3/5