Cafe Royal, Edinburgh

19 West Register St.
0131 556 1884

The Cafe Royal has one of the most spectacular pub interiors anywhere in the UK with a feast of lavish tilework, stained glass and woodwork.  The main room has a large octagonal island bar and a series of tiled paintings of famous inventors at the time they made their discovery. Photo 1 shows James Watt who invented the steam condensing engine with his partner Matthew Boulton.

An opening in an impressive walnut screen takes you through to the Oyster Bar restaurant which has more tiled paintings and eight stained glass windows of sportsmen by Ballantine and Gardiner (photo 2). It is interesting to compare these to the relatively modern stained glass windows on the same theme in the Champion in Fitzrovia, London.

The striking exterior dates from the 1860s when it was built as a sanitary-ware showroom but it became the Cafe Royal Hotel only a few years later (photo 3).

A good range of Scottish real ales are served and food is available all day in the main bar and in the high end Oyster Bar restaurant.

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