After an extensive renovation earlier this year, the Edinburgh Castle has reopened its doors. The quaint, two-storey pub is a standout in a sea of skyscrapers, with its original brick and tile façade from 1885.
While the interior has been redone many times – the original central bar on the ground floor was taken out, as were the hotel rooms on the first floor – the latest refurbishment has brought out the pub’s true character. “We have this warm, glowing gem on the corner to escape from the city into,” says The Solotel Group’s interior design manager, Bianca Isgro.
“An Aussie pub is about the characters,” says Isgro. “The Eddy is where famed poet Henry Lawson dwelled, drank and wrote; where the Australian Workers Union later frequented; and has always had a strong history as a big fireys pub.” Home to the bohemian writing group The Dawn and Dusk Club, and the place where Lawson wrote Star of Australasia and signed his first book deal (The Days When The World Was Wide), The Eddy has a rich literary history.
Isgro worked with architects Luchetti Krelle (Bar Brose, ACME, The Butler, Barrio Cellar) on the interior. The existing tiling was maintained on the ground floor, with a long bar and nods to Lawson and his work with a large portrait and framed pages of The Bulletin (a publication Lawson wrote for).
Upstairs, though, has had a complete overhaul. The stairwell is decorated with a line of hanging, mismatched old chairs, indicating the transition to the dining level.
Where once there were numerous hotel rooms there is now an elegant cocktail bar, dining level and a timber-clad courtyard. With teal walls, brass trims, moody lighting and screens, the space is very intimate.
Head chef Daniel Lanza, previously of North Bondi Fish, resurrects old classics reminiscent of an Aussie childhood with a modern twist. Dishes include saltbush chicken schnitzel, crispy potatoes, celeriac and chunky tomato sauce; classic savoury lamb mince, potato waffle and carrots; house-made potato scallops with chicken salt; and a devon-and-cheddar toastie.
The pub has a range of craft beers and a clever cocktail list with drinks such as Lawson’s Cup (hibiscus-infused gin, Aperol, pomegranate, mint, lime, ginger beer) and Firey’s Thirst (Espolon tequila, Campari, citrus, agave, pink grapefruit soda). There’s an Australian wine list curated by sommelier Matt Dunne.
Once a month the pub will host a Meet the Winemaker night with free tastings and talks.