Drink:" A scrum at the bar

A sports bar Edinburgh-style: the best traditional beers, home- made pies and rugby on the TV screen

Edinburgh lags several measures behind Glasgow in terms of the hipness of its bars, but this doesn't bother anyone at Bert's. It prides itself on being traditional, and is one of the earliest examples of a sports bar. But though Sky Sports rules the television screen, it's not your typical football and lager venue. The preferred sport here is rugby and the speciality is real ale. People like my old friend Graham, born and brought up in a family of Edinburgh lawyers, with hardly a trace of a Scottish accent, rate Bert's as their favourite.

At weekends Graham lets younger sports fans have the run of the place, but sometimes he can't always resist returning on a Saturday when there's a match at Murrayfield, and the bar staff at Bert's take four times as much on the till as usual. At lunchtime Graham and his colleagues head here for a pint and a pie, for they consider that Bert's pies - filled with minced steak, haggis, chicken or chilli - to be the very best in town, and at pounds 1 a go, a bargain to boot.

But never mind the pies, it's the beers that attract the connoisseurs. There are five ales lined up all the time: Burton, Marstons Pedigree, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Deuchars IPA from the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, and Caledonian Brewery's 80/-. In addition there are two or three guest ales every month. Beers from the Tomintoul, Harviestoun and Orkney breweries always go down well. But anything from the Kent brewery Shepherd Neame is appreciated too - only when Scotland is playing at home and all eyes are on the TV screen, do Bert's customers display an unswerving partiality to their country. Even then they're probably more gentlemanly about it than most sports fanatics.

When the Rugby World Cup kicks off in October there will be three qualifying matches on Scotland's home ground. If Scotland go through there will be more matches at Murrayfield and ensuing scrums at Bert's. Graham and his gang can't help hoping it will be a busy autumn for the Edinburgh bar which most closely reflects their tastes.

Bert's, 27-31 William St, Edinburgh (0131 225 5748)

Captions: Bert's drinks

Caledonian 80/-

Edinburgh's Caledonian Brewery won the Camra Scottish Beer of the Year award in 1997 and 1998 for this "heavy", a malty Scottish brew that's darker and sweeter than an English bitter. It is russety brown, smoothly creamy with a soft, hoppy finish. The 80/- refers to a tax once levied on beers in Scotland according to the strength of the brew. Some Scottish-brewed beers are still called 60/-, 70/- or 80/- denoting their relative strengths. Caledonian's 80/- is 4.1 per cent ABV. Of the beers on draught all the time, this is Bert's biggest seller. They get through three 18-gallon barrels a week, all served in straight glasses.

Spitfire

Of the monthly changing roster of guest beers, anything from Shepherd Neame, the old-established, family-run Kent brewery "always goes down fantastically well".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life