Tuesday, September 27, 2011
#23. The Conan Doyle, 71-73 York Place, Edinburgh
This was my second trip to this pub at the bottom of Edinburgh's pink triangle formed by the intersection of Broughton Street and Leith Walk. On the snowiest day of last year, I spent an hour inside waiting for Meghan.
Not much had changed, including the staff (who I remembered because of the distinctive tall, skinny pseudo-goth look sported by two of them). There were four guest ales on tap, and I decided on a Blackout porter from Cropton Brewery, while Linus ventured for a Keltek Brewery King. The Blackout reminded us a bit of the Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter from home. The King was quite nice, but like many hand-pulled Scots ales, a little flat for my liking. Keltek appears to have an interesting lineup of beers, so I hope to find them again.
The Conan Doyle is a nicely decorated room with a good feel, in a great location for access to the St. James mall and the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre (before or after you see the Queen musical We Will Rock You).
Linus didn't understand the name of this pub because he did not know who Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was, so I gave him this brief biographical sketch. Doyle was born and raised in Edinburgh, and received a doctorate in medicine around 1885. He moved to the south of England to setup practice, but business was slow, so he took to writing to keep busy. His series of mysteries involving Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson became immensely popular. But he was knighted not for his writing, but for his persuasive editorials that encouraged support of British imperial involvement in what would become the Boer War.
While drinking our beers we spotted a flyer advertizing a new iPhone app that helps you locate pubs. I downloaded Caskfinder (alas, not Assfinder) from the iTunes store. Reminiscent of the never-award-winning Backstage app Eat-a-Rama, Caskfinder conveniently maps out all the pubs in Edinburgh that are party to the Real Cask Ale initiative and have been awarded a Cask Marque Award for ensuring their ales are the right temperature, aroma, and taste. I applaud this initiative. A standing ovation, in fact.