Ever since Norman Balon hung up his bar towel after 62 years at the helm of Soho's Coach and Horses, would-be Jeffrey Bernards have been looking for a new "rudest landlord in Britain". I don't know about landlords, but The Canny Man's is a sure contender for the title of Unfriendliest Pub. But the frosty reception and the air of menace are all part of the theatre of this unique little boozer.
The onslaught on your confidence starts outside, where a sign reads: "no mobiles, no credit cards, no backpackers, no cameras..." Inside, an intimidating maîtresse d' guards the door with no less fury than Cerberus guarding the gates of Hell. If you manage to understand the ordering system (hint: write some code on paper, don't for god's sake try to talk to the waitress), you're in. And it is worth it.
Inside, The Canny Man's is a haven. All polished glass and glittering tableware, the bar offers hundreds of whiskys lined up like jewels along its back wall. The music is "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered". A stopped clock makes you want to stay for hours. This is pub décor and some: alongside the traditional mandolins and dusty jeroboams pinned to the walls are military uniforms, paintings, swords, prams and a boat. Then you look up: a shop mannequin is skewered to the ceiling, dressed as a witch. Perhaps the poor girl made the mistake of bringing in her mobile phone.
237 Morningside Road, Edinburgh (0131-447 1484)Reuse content