Review of The Leith Beer Co, The Shore

The Leith Beer Co is the next evolution of the old Waterline on The Shore.

This review was written for The Leith Beer Company’s first ever lunch service. The newly refurbished bar opened at 5pm on Tuesday the 29th of May 2012 and this reviewer popped in for a lunch date.

First thing’s first – The Leith Beer Co is still a Belhaven pub. A quick chat with the owner helped clear up any possible confusion. The pub has successfully made the case that it need not follow as closely to the Belhaven pattern as many of the others in the franchise do. As a result The Leith Beer Co has a different range of beer and food.

The first ever “Pint of the Week” at The Leith Beer Co is the American craft beer Blue Moon. I spotted bottles of Bacchus Framboise behind the counter too.

Only time will tell as to whether The Leith Beer Co can live up to its name and bring in a wide range of beers but it is off to a good start. The pub has kept its double bar approach – there is one at the front, facing you as you walk in, which is still the main bar. Up around the back, where most of the tables are for dining, there is a secondary bar too.

In some ways it is a shame to say goodbye to the Waterline’s old maritime heritage. I may miss the old maps and the coiled rope around the pillars but I will admit it was getting very dirty and the back room was very dark. The new look for The Leith Beer Co is more modern, chasing punters with fatter wallets, but it does also have a nod to the past. The pictures on the walls are blown up black and white prints of old beer shipments and deliveries.

The Leith Beer Co. has been clever with its tables and chairs. Taking advantage of the newly enhanced shore front the pub has a large area for outside drinking and dining. I can imagine this will be hugely popular in the summer. Inside they have added very comfortable booths and made sure each one enjoys sunlight from one of the old windows. It may now be a struggle to fit a large office party of 10+ people but it is a far more comfortable fit for groups of around 4.

One of the possible attractions of The Leith Beer Co is that it wields a different menu from much of the other Belhaven line. A change in menu always brings success and failure – failure being the removal of some of your old favourites. I maintain one of the reasons to visit the pub in the past, if you are a veggie, is to tuck into the Halloumi. I’m afraid that’s gone.

How was the first ever lunch sitting at The Leith Beer Co? It was lovely. My partner enjoyed a fish and chips that was perfectly cooked. I tried the Southern style chicken burger and it was tasty. I prefer the new skinnier chips to the old, chunkier, style.

A real concern was that with the name “Beer Company” the pub might be reducing its focus on food. This does not seem to be the case at all. In fact, there’s now separate breakfast and dessert menus.

This blogger will certainly be going back to The Leith Beer Co to sample both the beer and food again.

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  • Ram

    The name gave me high hopes of a decent beer list but your pic of the blackboard has put that to rest. Take a standard list of average beers, put country of origin & ABV and hope it magically turns a quality beer list. Good try but no point heading to this place for decent beer. Bottle list is available in most supermarkets – that’s not how we measure a beer pub.

    • Andrew Girdwood

      They may evolve and grow their supply. Hard to say. I did notice that Blue Moon was also available up at Bond No 9.

  • Leithcat

    Only partly agree with your review; thankfully, some familiar faces in the staff as they have always been helpful and friendly, and the Waterline was in need of a spruce up (the booths round the back are a great addition). But, I’ve felt they’ve lost a fair bit of character. You could be sitting in any nameless bar anywhere.
    The food was good but what a poor choice. The things that made the Waterline unique have gone. We loved their haggis nachos, their chip bar (and they had some of the best chips around) and the platters. All gone.
    I’m sorry but after many years going we won’t be back. Simply because there’s better beer at the Malt and Hops and a better choice of food elsewhere.

  • Bill

    Presumably jumping on a fashionable bandwagon but as Ram says it’s all very average beer and NOT a hint of cask ale anywhere – I give it a few months then hey presto another makeover

  • Lisa Heather Brigham

    Going there today! Can’t wait! nom nom nom!

    • Andrew Girdwood

      How was your trip to the Leith Beer Co?