New Edinburgh bar – Jeremiah’s Taproom

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Edinburgh Beer, Pubs | 5 Comments


Edinburgh’s Elm Row has always seemed, to me, to be a curiously inconsistent street, what with regular shops such as Johnson’s the Cleaners and William Hill squeezed in amongst institutions like Valvona & Crolla, and the on-trend Euro-charm of Joseph Pearce’s. Slightly out of the way and hidden from view, thanks to the run of high trees that separate the parade of shops from the lanes of traffic and bus changeovers, is Elm Row attached to Leith Walk or a continuance of London Road? Is it in town or not? Do we really care? Well no, probably not. I’m sure the patrons of the Elm Bar don’t – or rather, they didn’t, as it relaunched yesterday in a new guise.

“I’ll hae a Tennent’s Extra Cold please,” said the cheerfully tipsy man at the bar, before pausing and warily asking how much it was. Three seventy? Ah well, it’s no a fiver, is it? , before taking his lager and perching on a high stool at the back. The Elm Bar had a mighty reputation – for decent, honest beer and custom as well as the occasional incident (Mary Contini from Valvona & Crolla had never set foot in the place, despite it being a few seconds away). This week, though, all of the old has gone from the Elm, rejuvenated as Jeremiah’s Taproom and swiftly entered into the bustling Edinburgh beer scene. In scope, it reminded me of the BRT Group’s Blackbird, or the Shilling Group’s Fountain – both similarly renovated from a definitive locals’ bar to attract the ‘craft’ market.

The interior work on Jeremiah’s has been done by the Etienne Group, and features a central horseshoe bar with keg, cask (tap, rather than handpull), and ‘craft keg’ fonts in the middle, duplicated on each side, as well as a large sweep of spirits on a raised gantry. Painted wood, brick and old tiles feature prominently – as with the Blackbird, a lot of deliberate attention has been taken to give the impression of a casual, thrown-together (yet lived-in) feel. It reminded me, fairly instantly, of the bars of another local ‘pub chain’; Fuller Thomson. In truth, all of these recent openings have flavours of eachother, driven by the crossover of common design.

Jeremiah’s has plenty of original features though – becoming one of the few Edinburgh bars to go for that finger food staple, the slider (alongside the now standard burgers, pulled pork and hot dogs). As I was there, the gas fitting was causing a problem, but food will be up and running very soon (the Elm Bar had a kitchen, but it apparently contained only a couple of microwaves). The windows look a treat, and the various seating options should fit every requirement – raised tables, comfy seats, bar stools, round tables to the back. I’m not sure if outdoor drinking is an option, but there’s plenty of space on the pavement if regulations allow.

From what I could gather, speaking to Grant MacDonald from Etienne and the new bar manager Jane (ex-of Fuller Thomson’s Red Squirrel Bar), Jeremiah’s is there to catch people from the immediate area who would otherwise go into town, to provide an alternative. Although Pearce’s is a short hop away, they want to offer something definitive in their own right – and with a crossover beer selection, spirits and cocktails, they are starting off on the right foot, I think. The ‘crafty’ beers (such as the excellent Redwell IPA) are at the back – four cask and six ‘craft keg’, to be peered at through the five gleaming standard keg taps (Tennent’s, Amstel, Heineken, Belhaven Best and Symonds Cider).

I think this is a good metaphor for what Jeremiah’s is – a locals’ bar that is moving in a different direction; going for all things current, yet still able to sling out the Tennent’s when needed. There are no shortage of drinking options around the Leith Walk roundabout, and at the moment, Jeremiah’s is instantly well placed to compete with all of them.

Jeremiah’s Taproom 7-8 Elm Row, Edinburgh EH7 4AA
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  1. Steve Parr
    August 1, 2013

    Well I was there last night and all I can say is it’s no bad likes. The atmosphere is a bit thin and the sound a bit echoey and the look is slightly wine-bar like but not oppressively.

    They do have a decent selection of cask ales, some reasonably priced (£3.50-£4), some pretty expensive (£5.50 ish). Not sure why you’d pay £5.50 for a Brooklyn Lager but as there are other choices, you don’t have to.

    The beer was very well kept, or perhaps the pipes are just new but either way, top beer.

    Staff didn’t seem to know much about what they were serving but were pretty cheerful and attentive, which is a blessed relief after The Elm’s useless service.

    No nutters were present as far as I could see.

    All in all, a definite improvement.

  2. glasgow foodie
    August 1, 2013

    Nipped in the other night and it seemed a nice place. Looking forward to trying the food. Clean, good beer and friendly staff – so ticked my boxes. One to keep an eye on I think.

  3. rad
    September 26, 2013

    Been in a couple of times and it’s been very nice.

    I agree with Steve that the staff didn’t seem to know much about the beer but they were very quick and cheerful.

    The food was very nice when I went. Had the inferno burger, which despite the name was just the right level of spicy, it also had a big slab of goats cheese in it which was awesome!

    As a resident of the area I’m very happy to have it near by.

  4. Gregorach
    October 15, 2013

    I have been to this refurbished bar a few times. It’s a huge improvement on the old Elm Bar and the range of real ales and malts is good. Particularly great to get Caesar Augustus on tap.

    The food is also very good – particularly sharing platters – if a touch pricey.

    The down side is that I don’t recognise the above references to “cheerful” staff. They change all the time and are consistently grumpy and very far from attentive. In fact my wife and I no longer visit the bar purely because of the staff being so poor.

  5. Robert Watson
    November 19, 2013

    What a horrible place it looks from the outside, will never be going in though live 100 yards away, and should never have been allowed to change the name. Hope it fails miserably.

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