Ah, the Quest For The Holy Ale, the pub crawl of all pub crawls, the Edinburgh A to Z Pub Crawl! 26 drinks in 26 pubs, all in alphabetical order round the streets of Edinburgh. The date for this was my 27th birthday — Friday 25th October 2002.
Thank you to the brave souls who attended my event, Bryn Coulthard, Johnny Henderson, Rose Henderson, Morag Blanch, Andrew Blanch, Tony Hughes, Raewyn Baker, Greg McManus, Eddie Henderson, Craig Little, Gareth Walker, Kenny Mcgregor, Andy Pool, Scott McLeman, Nicky Brown and me of course!
We took a picture after we came out of each pub. Only those people who had an alcoholic drink were allowed in the photo (although sometimes we needed someone to take the photograph, thank you Rose). They end around T as the camera battery ran out.
A — Au Bar, Shandwick Place
A for Au Bar, the start of the Pub Crawl. The plan was to meet at 12.45 and begin drinking at 1pm exactly. Rose, Johnny, Bryn and Ed arrived at about 12.40 whereupon we found Rae, Gareth and Tony were already waiting for us. We had a "warm up" drink as we were waiting for Eddie, Craig and the Blanchs to arrive. Thinking back, this was not the best idea. Rae presented Ed with a present — one of those pairs of glasses that are actually straws (see the pictures).
B — Bad Ass, Rose Street
1307 hrs — Picking up Andy Pool on the way to B, we got to the second pub, and we were refused entry. Bad Ass is apparently a restaurant, so we went to the nearest pub, directly opposite, Scotts in Rose Street. This is where Tony had to leave us (he had a court appearance in Falkirk).
C — Cat & Bagpipes, Rose Street
1331 hrs — Greg arrived, but as he was on antibiotics he wasn’t drinking (yet), hence he wasn’t allowed in the picture. Craig Little, Gareth and Ed were all asked for identification. Everyone was beginning to get warmed up now and were ready for the challenge ahead.
D — Dirty Dicks, Rose Street
1347 hrs — On to the fourth pub, and again we were refused entry. Dirty Dicks is a restaurant but this time they served us as long as we sat in the seats outside (in the rain). The picture is taken from the pen shop across the street. Greg took it and he went so far back, he ended up going in the door.
E — Edwards, South Charlotte Street
1416 hrs — Edwards, where we all had our dinner. Minstrels all round. Craig Little had one Minstrel to eat, all day. Edwards is where the "swag bag" began (hence the salt shaker in Craig’s hand, and the cutlery in Johnny’s hand). Greg had a cappuccino.
F — Filthy McNasty’s, Rose Street
1435 hrs — Rae (in her short skirt and boots straight out of the 80s) asked for some inflatable Guinness hands (see Craig Little in picture). She got given three. When Ed asked, he only got one. These all went into the swag bag. Blanch "Tommy Tipped" his pint all over himself, so he wasn’t allowed to face the camera. Greg started to drink.
H — Hogshead, Castle Street
1505 hrs — Mental arrived, but couldn’t be in the picture as he wasn’t drinking. The kitty ran out. We went to H before G for one reason and one reason only, there was a Happy Hour starting at G at 1530 hrs, so in true Henderson style, we switched them round (they are only 10 yards apart). Little stole some Tartare Sauce for the swag bag.
G — Gordon Arms, Rose Street
1524 hrs — We decided to let Mental into this picture although he wasn’t drinking. Every pub so far was dead, this one was full of old blokes drinking and we got some funny looks because some of us were girls and under 45. Eddie and Pooly fitted right in.
I — Ivanhoe’s, South St David Street
1558 hrs — This is where it started to get a bit messy. There was a two for one deal one so everyone obliged by having two drinks. Some fun ensued with everyone (well, Ed, Little and Johnny) chucking around a piece of sticky fly paper we found. Little claims that he jumped off the wall outside with everyone holding their arms out to catch him. Upon takeoff, everyone moved and let him hit the ground.
J — Jekyll & Hyde, Hanover Street
1631 hrs — A very dark pub and Ed’s memory from this point on begins to get a bit Swiss cheese. Kenny McGregor (Kenergy) arrived in his usual standard of shirt. Johnny’s mate also turned up (a Gary Dunion look alike if you ask me) but he seemed cool enough. It started to rain and Morag managed to pinch Rose’s umbrella.
K — Kenilworth, Rose Street
1702 hrs — Mental went home. Not many memories from this pub. People were beginning to get pished. Make or break time for the die hards.
L — All Bar One, George Street
1717 hrs — Unable to recall this instantly forgettable bland pub.
M — Milne’s, Rose Street
1731 hrs — Milne’s was very very busy with everyone piling out of work. The looks of disgust from the office workers as they looked at us, as if to say "animals, been drinking all day, disgusting". We all do the same ourselves, but all days sesh’s are the business. The photo was taken in the street and if you can look closely, you will see a monkey in the background.
O and N were supposed to be O’Neils which we couldn’t find and we think has shut down. It was also meant to be our food stop as people were beginning to get hungry.
We gave up looking because "eatin’s cheatin" and continued on our way. We seemed to lose two hours somewhere.
P was supposed to be Po Na Na in Frederick Street, however it didn’t open until 8pm. We were too early so on with the drinking.
Q — Queen’s Arms, Frederick Street
1914 hrs — We had three or four drinks in this pub to make up for the missing N, O and P. Nicky arrived while Ed was threatened to be thrown out as he kept going into the ladies toilets to find Rose, Rose at this point was standing drinking at the bar. Note Johnny isn’t in this picture as he disappeared for an hour.
R — Rose Street Brewery, Rose Street
1925 hrs — We were refused service here because Ed was so drunk, so we just got our picture taken instead. We don’t think we even had a drink for this one.
S — Saltire, Rose Street
Someone needs to remind us, what happened here. The battery was beginning to die on the camera.
T — Thirty Seven Bar, Rose Street
2030 hrs — Johnny is back. He was reprimanded. We were threatened to be thrown out of this pub for singing. After the row from the bar staff, a chorus of "It’s The Worst Pub In The World" (to the tune of "He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands"), helped smooth the situation. Rae disappeared as she thought she lost her purse.
U — The Standing Order, George Street
U was supposed to be Auld Hundred in Rose Street. We were refused entry as Ed was so drunk, so we went to the next nearest pub which was The Standing Order. Rose, Morag & Bryn went home after this pub. Ed was seen lying on the stairs. Rose took the now dead camera and Ed’s mobile home with her. Little was seen drinking Rose’s drink from a dirty wine glass (minesweeping at its best).
V — Victoria & Albert, Frederick Street
Another drink in this pub with the only memory coming from Ed attempting to go to the toilet with Little standing behind the door and keeping it shut, refusing to let Ed in. He got fed up and carried about his business, by this point Ed had taken a run at the door and was seen to go flying through it and onto the toilet floor. We left shortly afterwards.
W — World Bar Cafe, Thistle Street
Cannot remember anything about this pub.
X — Oxford Bar, Young Street
After being refused entry for drunkenness, a taxi was hailed, with Ed, Eddie, Pooly, Johnny and Andrew in it. This left Little and Rae and despite Little’s efforts to get Rae to go to The Subway, they also went home. Little managing to snaffle the remains of the kitty. While getting into the taxi Eddie managed to fall and the lens fell out of his Pete Waterman style glasses. He was then seen faffing about on the floor trying to find it. We were no help.
Thinking we were on our way home, i.e. the taxi would drop off Pooly and Eddie in Porty, Blanch at Brunstane, Johnny at Musselburgh, then finally Ed in Port Seton, we should not have been surprised when it went down Kings Road instead of going to Portobello, taking us to a bonus final destination.
Z — Surfers, Kings Road
Surfers, the last pub on earth I would want to be. Full of its usual nut jobs and characters straight out of Mos Eisley Cantina. Ed was unable to have a drink in here, due to trying to get on the karaoke and trying all of the locked doors in the pub for a way out. Ed left with Blanch in a taxi, leaving Johnny with Pooly and Eddie.
There we go, that is it. If you have anything to add, I would really appreciate you helping to fill in those blanks.