If you ever find yourself wanting shelter from the bracing sea breeze at Portobello Beach, it might be worthwhile popping into the Esplanade bar, or “The Espy” as its more widely known, for a soft warm seat and a pint or snack. This establishment is one of the most popular in Portobello, going down well with families, couples and dog walkers alike.
Walking inside, you can understand the basis of its appeal. The interior has a quirky but homely feel, with a loose surfer/seaside theme and various other oddities thrown in. Mr. Bug and I stood to quite some time at the bar, just taking in all the weird bits and bobs that covered the bar top, up the walls and across the ceiling!
The pub has a very fun-loving, laid back atmosphere. There was a huge range of people inside, from groups of friends looking for shelter from the sea breeze, families having lunch to couples just enjoying a wee pint. There were a fair few dogs too, as the Espy also welcomes dogs and their owners. No pooches left outside in the cold here!
Because of its widespread popularity, when we went in on a Saturday lunchtime the place was utterly heaving. We were told that a table would be ready shortly, so we stood at the bar and waited for around twenty minutes or so before we were seated. Even still, people kept coming in and I’m pretty sure there were queues out the door at one point! The place will probably be quieter during weekdays and might be an idea to try and avoid the lunchtime rush.
As we were waiting at the bar, I saw a fellow punter tucking into the nachos and I thought “I have to get in on that action!” So when we finally got our table I didn’t even have to look at the menu – I knew exactly what I wanted.
I went for the vegetarian option, which comes with cheese, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños and sour cream. The meat option comes with chilli as well, but I felt that would be a little too heavy for me.
I really enjoyed them, it was a great portion and perfect for me just to nibble at. I particularly enjoyed the salsa, which had a lovely tart sweetness to it that complemented the rest of the dish really well.
Mr Bug, the soup fiend, went for the soup of the day – carrot, ginger and chilli. It was a decent portion with a couple of slices of hearty bread served alongside. It was quite sweet, but the carrot and ginger combo worked really well.
The final bill came to around £20 for the two of us, including drinks, however we just had a light bite. There is also a specials menu with some more substantial dishes, but these are a little bit more expensive, hovering around £10-£12 for a main.
Whether you are looking for a bite of lunch or just a pint, The Espy is a great option if you find yourself in Porty. It can get really busy at peak times but with a fun atmosphere and a great food menu, it’s easy to see why!
The Espy (website here) is on Portobello Esplanade at 62-64 Bath Street, EH15 1HF. The best way to get there is to get the bus 15, 21, 26, 40, 42, 45 or 49 to the High Street and walk down from there.