The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Last orders for bar
Beachfront pub’s owners call time... but this gem won’t be on sale long
IT is easy to see why this is such a popular beach bar, given its prime place on the prom and the fact it is visible for miles around thanks to its quirky tower and crow’s nest viewing platform. But the owners of this exquisite Victorian villa have decided to call last orders and put The Dalriada Bar on the market.
It is one of the finest residential opportunities in Scotland and it is unlikely this property, on the beach at Portobello, Edinburgh, will be available for long.
James Whitson, of estate agent Rettie, said: ‘It is a fantastic chance to own one of the most iconic properties in Portobello. You have the choice of continuing to run it as a bar, converting it back to a single house or splitting it up into flats.’
A planning application is with City of Edinburgh Council to transform The Dalriada into three different apartments.
Planning permission would also be required if a new owner chose to return the building to its original purpose, a grand family home.
The crow’s nest is the giveaway that this was built for a 19th Century merchant who was keen to watch his ships return to port.
For the past 15 years, it has enjoyed something of a Queen Vic existence, with a bustling bar downstairs and the owner’s quarters above.
The scene is set as soon as you enter the hallway, which has a lovely arched fireplace, ornate tile decoration on the floor and an imposing staircase.
As you would expect, the downstairs rooms are configured as commercial premises, with a main bar and two adjoining dining rooms. It takes very little imagination to picture how they would look as a drawing room, dining room and sun room in a private home.
Huge windows look out across the Firth of Forth, over the beer garden at the front, offering the perfect perspective from Edinburgh’s suburb-by-the-sea.
The existing private accommodation sits on two floors above, effectively presenting as a spacious six-bedroom double upper apartment. In addition to the bedrooms, there is a tower room, attic room, study and kitchen.
The name ‘Dalriada’ dates back to the 5th Century. It was a Gaelic kingdom, split between what is now Northern Ireland and Argyll, and its occupants raided the Britannic kingdom of Strathclyde and Anglian kingdom of Bernicia.
For decades, Glasgow had a Dalriada Bar and Hotel on Edinburgh Road, a vast drinking establishment where customers crammed four-deep at the bar. It had a hotel licence, which allowed it to serve alcohol on a Sunday when the pubs were shut. It was demolished in the 1990s. In Portobello, buyers are queuing up to view this Dalriada.
‘Porty’ as it is known locally, has long been considered the secret jewel in Edinburgh’s crown but now the secret is out.
There even appears to be a social media campaign to keep the place operating as a bar.
As he prepared to show even more viewers around, Rettie’s Mr Whitson said: ‘When the sun shines, the number of people in the bar triples. Dalriada enjoys a prime position on the promenade, with views across the Forth to Fife.
‘The housing market in Portobello is extremely strong at the moment. It was recently named Community of the Year at the 2020 Urbanism Awards in London.
‘When properties do come up for sale here, they usually go for a premium of between 10 and 20 per cent.’
Whatever the future holds for the Dalriada, as they say in Porty, ‘Cheers’.