Curtain up on new capital pub

JD Wetherspoon opens seventh Edinburgh outlet in historic building

PUB giant JD Wetherspoon has opened its seventh pub in Edinburgh on the site of a 19th century hotel.
The Caley Picture House launched late last year on Lothian Road following a root and branch refurbishment of former live music venue The Picture House, which cost a claimed £2.5 million.

• Showtime: manager Matt Knowles in The Caley Picture House.

Before it was home to the live music venue, the Grade B-listed building operated as the Caley Picture House cinema, which opened on January 1, 1923 with silent film Game of Life, and was extended in 1928 for the new ‘talkies’ with the addition of an entrance block on Lothian Road. The new block was converted from a temperance hotel, while the original cinema was a partial conversion of the County Hotel; the site of both hotels is marked on the 1876 and 1846 OS map as a single property – the Commercial Hotel and Tavern.
After the last picture show at the Caley in 1984, the building became the Caley Palais nightclub (renamed Century 2000 and Revolution) before reopening in 2008 as The Picture House, which closed in 2013.
Wetherspoon has created two bars – one on the first floor and a smaller bar on the balcony level – in the building as well as a pavement café-style area in front of the main entrance.
Inside, the venue has been given a black and gold colour scheme and a design which the pub group describes as a “modern take on classic art deco”. Historical photos and art deco-influenced artwork feature throughout the interior.
Wetherspoon, which has more than 70 pubs and hotels in Scotland, operates six other venues in Edinburgh: The Standing Order and The Alexander Graham Bell, both on George Street; The Booking Office on Waverley Bridge; The Playfair at the Omni Centre; The Foot of the Walk on Constitution Street; and The White Lady on St John’s Road.