Thursday 1st May 2014
Although on a main road to the south of the city, the Dagda Bar had not previously attracted my attention. I don’t know why, as this was an excellent visit. It’s a small neighbourhood bar that has a particularly good selection of cask beers served in atmospheric surroundings. Close to the University of Edinburgh, it is frequented by many students yet with a good number of local residents. It is actually a true local.
It is the ground floor of a five storey stone tenement. Although it consists of only one room it is has a very symmetric layout. There are entrance doors on either side of the frontage leading me to conclude that this was once a two-bar pub. Inside the bar with three sides sits on the back wall of the room. There are dark leather stuffed banquette settles along the walls.
The rest of the furniture is wooden with an upturned barrel between the two doors. There is wooden panelling to waist height around the walls. On the left side of the pub there is a old juke-box that works and is popular. Also, there is a painting on the on the right hand wall that appears to be a representation of the bar of the pub presented in a rather surreal style.
The pub was known as Proctor’s Bar until the mid-2000s. Its current day name comes from ancient Irish mythology and acknowledges the god Dagda who was leader of the tribe of Tuatha Dé Danaan who established their reign by beating the Formosians who previously occupied the territory. He was noted not only for his unkempt appearance but also his bottomless cauldron which meant his followers never starved. Please remember this is mythology not history.
There is one regular cask beer and three guests and when I visited these were:
Boughton (Biggar, Borders) Dagdar’s Ale (4.1%) is the house beer and from the same brewery there was Merlin’s Ale (4.2%) as one of the guests.
The other two guests were both from Kelburn Brewery (Barrhead, East Renfrewshire): Carte Noire (4.8%) and Carte Blanche (5.0%). I had the house beer and liked it a lot.
On Thursday nights there is a quiz starting at 20.30. Tea and Coffee are served but I don’t think there is any food offered, apart from the usual pub snacks.
Anyway, it’s the beer you come here for and on that count this pub comes highly recommended.
The Dagda Bar, 93-95 Buccleuch Street, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9NG
Tel: 0131 667 9773
Open: Monday-Saturday 12.00-01.00; Sunday 12.30-01.00
Buses 42 and 67 run down Buccleuch Street. Both start on or near Princes Street.