WHAT TO DRINK: Gin & Tonic at The Canny Man’s.
Step through the wooden Stage Door of the Canny Man’s, and you’ll be enveloped in over one hundred years of Edinburgh history. A Morningside institution since the 19th century, the Canny Man’s was founded by James Kerr in 1871 as The Volunteer Arms and has been owned and operated by the Kerr family up to today.
Over the course of its hundred-and-fifty year journey, the pub has accumulated an unparalleled collection of knick-knacks, furnishings, and renovations from each stop along the way, all of which are cataloged in their extensive fact sheet. Hanging from the ceiling above the bar is a folk band of instruments, including several drums, a brass trumpet, and a banjo. In another room, a mannequin’s gracefully bent leg dips down into a doorway.
The pub is comprised of several distinct spaces, all of which have their own character and set of rules. The main bar is where the action happens, but the back rooms are where the regulars go to exchange the latest gossip over a round or four—and where prompt service is guaranteed. On a rare sunny day, catch some rays in the courtyard at the center of it all.
More than the history hanging on its walls, the gin and tonic is what keeps people coming back to the Canny Man’s. The Canny Man’s has been serving stellar seafood and Scottish roasts and puddings since it first opened, and has recently added smørrebrød, Scandinavia’s staple open-faced sandwich, to the menu. Come between five and six p.m. on weekdays for the free buffet of finger sandwiches and biscuits, but be sure to linger here late into the night, when the place really comes alive.