I feel like there have been quite a few new openings in Edinburgh recently, but I am particularly excited about this one: The Whistle Stop Barber Shop has popped up on South Bridge and sounds like quite an interesting concept – a bar, American diner and barbershop all rolled into one. Keen to find out what it is all about, I went along with a friend a few days ago for a bite of dinner.
I had been in quite briefly a couple of Saturday nights back, and as a bar and nightlife spot the place looked promising – the drinks were flowing and the atmosphere was really lively as people were gearing up for their night on the town.
Being a weeknight this time around, it was slightly quieter but it still had a nice buzz around it and there were a good few people around who had also popped in for some food.
It’s an interesting idea, inspired by the barber shops on the East Coast of the US. This is reflected in their menu which is jam-packed with American style goodies and the mysterious area downstairs which will, on occasion, be used as a pop up barbers so you can get a wee tidy-up as you wait for your food!
My friend and I stopped by in the early evening for a bite to eat before we were due to head off to the pub. As we were expecting to indulge in a… (ahem) *couple* of drinks later on in the night, we decided to give the incredibly tempting cocktails a miss and opt for soft drinks with our meal. I know it’s boring… but you need to drink responsibly, kids!
My friend had the Cornell BBQ chicken, served with fries and Boston beans. She really enjoyed it, and especially loved the beans that came alongside. From where I was sitting, it looked like a lovely manageable portion and the chicken looked pretty tempting. If I come back here again for food, this is probably the dish I’ll order.
Meanwhile, I had the Philly cheese steak sandwich, which was plated up nice and simple with a side of fries. I can see why this dish would be popular, as the lashings of cheese and sauce certainly made it look really good, but it didn’t really hit the mark for me.
The bread lacked substance and the steak was a little chewy for my taste, but the cheese and sauce was quite good and the accompanying fries were as moreish as you would expect – in fact I would have quite happily demolished an entire plate of those alone!
I definitely want to return to the Whistle Stop Barber Shop and give their cocktails a go. They’ve hired some really skilled barmen and a quick scan of their menu reveals some really tasty looking combinations at pretty good value for money (averaging around the £7 mark, which is actually fairly good for Edinburgh city centre).
You can’t argue with the value of the food either – my friend and I were fed and watered for under 20 quid (albeit with soft drinks) and I can imagine this will become a popular haunt for students who are looking for a cheap American style fix.
The Whistle Stop Barber Shop is a promising new establishment in South Bridge with good American style eats, a nice atmosphere and imaginative cocktail menu. For me, it would be an absolutely ideal place to kick-start a night out in Edinburgh!
The Whistle Stop Barber Shop (website) is located at 66-67 South Bridge, EH1 1LS. It’s not far from the city centre – just walk up North Bridge from Princes Street, cross the Royal Mile and keep walking for a couple of minutes. You’ll spot it on the left hand side just before Black Medicine.