Red Squirrel Edinburgh opens

Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Edinburgh Beer, Pubs | 6 Comments

Edinburgh’s Lothian Road has seen a fair bit of shuffling over recent months, as new arrivals try to pull the reputation of the street upwards. One of the busiest thoroughfares in the city, the clubs, strip clubs and ‘saunas’ – plus the heavy traffic and occasional roadworks – give it something of a dodgy reputation. But times are changing – Nando’s arrived recently, plus Wagamama are rumoured to be taking over the old BoS building on the corner of Castle Terrace.

A couple of chain restaurants aren’t exactly pavement café culture – but things on Lothian Road are definitely picking up. The latest arrival is Red Squirrel – a new bar that opened on Monday, taking over the old Vat and Fiddle next door to the soon to be noodling’ empty bank. Having been in the Vat on an ill-judged Christmas night out – during which I had the worst pint of Deuchars IPA I think I’ve ever had – it was good news that the pub was being given a makeover.

The new guise of Red Squirrel is being overseen by Fuller/Thomson – whose portfolio includes Holyrood 9A, the very successful bar near the Scottish Parliament. Having spent a fair bit of time in there, it’s very evident that Red Squirrel is from the same stable – the characteristic line of keg fonts and the range of burgers are there, as they are in the Holyrood. The whole thing is pretty beer friendly – the house Red Squirrel burger comes with Wadworth 6X mustard and Hereford hop encrusted cheese.

As with the Holyrood, the lines are keg-forward – with the excellent Brooklyn lager on (but at £4.20 a pint), along with a similar range of imported kegs as the sister bar. Local beer is also present, with (as we stated here only last month) the two kings of Scottish kegged lager – Harviestoun Schiehallion and Black Isle Organic Blonde. I also sampled Williams Bros Joker IPA from keg – apparently the first one off the production line. Guest cask beer is also available, but apparently served through the keg fonts, as the curved bar is tapless.

Lothian Road is still the busy, rough and tumble artery from Princes Street to the elegant south-west of the city – but it’s good that a decent beer opportunity now exists there. The location is tremendous, so Red Squirrel should do really well. Having only been open a matter of days, it looks a bit new and empty, but once the full furnishings arrive and the paint smells fade it should have a bright future.

Fuller Thomson website


  1. Anna
    June 3, 2011

    Great little place! Fabulous food and beverages!
    Found it wondering around the city on holiday! Highly recommend it to locals and visitors!
    Only down point was the music selection! Perhaps some classic rock/punk/easy listening is in order! But that’s a personal preference!

  2. John
    June 5, 2011

    Hey guys,

    Top result for Red Squirrel on google. Good work.

    Is the pool comp still going?

    It’d be good to see ya.


  3. Dave
    July 15, 2011

    We had dinner with friends the other night. They have a great atmosphere, friendly staff and wonderful food. I would defiantly eat here again; unfortunately I’m from Philadelphia and won’t be back for awhile. If they have gift certificates, I’m buying one for our local friends.

  4. Michael
    July 26, 2011

    Went to Edinburgh for the first time recently for an event at the HMV Picture House just next door and saw this nice looking place afterwards and decided to go in for a drink.

    It’s a really wonderful place, it was such a friendly atmosphere and a really nice place just to relax before going back to the hotel.

    My experiences at Edinburgh have caused me and my girlfriend to book another trip there early September and I’ll definitely be re-visiting The Red Squirrel one night.

  5. Richard
    July 29, 2011

    Great to hear Michael – I know Gordon and the team read our blog, so I’m sure he’s aware of the positive comments that have been coming in for the Squirrel.

    We’re in the process of compiling our third Edinburgh pub guide – so when you head back here there should be a few more BeerCast recommendations…

  6. gordon fuller
    December 21, 2011

    Hi Richard

    have you heard about our newly opened site Bruadar in west end glasgow

    formally the Millhouse ., we have a recently appointed craft beer curator

    sourceing fantastic rotational kegs and cask from america belgium and of course our own craft brewers

    regards Gordon

Leave a Reply