Design Focus: Malones Irish Bar Edinburgh

March 7th, 2018 | Posted in: Bar News,Editors' Picks

There is nothing nicer than going to a pub in the middle of the day to find it buzzing and that was the case when I visited the new Malones Irish Bar on Edinburgh’s Morrison Street. Situated on the corner, and on two floors, it replaces Diane’s Pool Hall and is now owned by Malones Pub Group.

Malones’ Director Simon Keane persuaded Diane to sell the freehold to the venue, following his sale of Malones in the city centre last year.

“We were lucky enough to find a fantastic venue for Malones Pop up bar on the Mall which kept the brand in Edinburgh alive”

Says Simon, “When we sold Malones we wanted to keep the name so that we could expand the brand.” He continues, “Initially I wanted to find a place within the first three months but I think that may have been a bit ambitious. We were looking for a freehold which is hard to find in Edinburgh. At the time we were lucky enough to find a fantastic venue for Malones’ pop-up bar on Waverley Mall which kept the brand in Edinburgh alive.”

During that time he had approached Diane, but she wasn’t keen to sell. Simon explains, “She had the business for more than 30 years, and hadn’t really been thinking about selling, but eventually decided that now was the time to exit the business”

Work started on the new Malones Irish Bar in Edinburgh last November and the business, which is family owned, have invested more than £1m transforming the building. Says builder Robin, who is also Simon’s brother, “This was my favourite job ever. I’ve done all the pubs, but this is not only my favourite pub, it is the biggest transformation.” He continues, “With the other pubs in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh we really just added Irish elements because a lot of the work had already been done but as the venue had many hidden features. We didn’t know what we would find. There were layers of Artex on the walls, and when we took it off we found the beautiful original red brick.

There were arches upstairs where we thought there would be steel beams, but they were solid wood. When we removed the fixed furniture fittings we noticed there was an original oak floor underneath. This meant that underneath the carpet there was also the original oak floor. We left the carpet down while we were renovating, but then had a terrible job trying to get it up as it had been glued down! But the result has been worth it.”

Malones Irish Bar - Downstairs

On the ground floor, the bar is quite square in shape and has a small capacity of around 100. The walls are all wood panelled and the room has a high ceiling similar to upstairs. The bar itself stretches almost the full length of the back wall. Above the bar, you can see four copper Tennent’s tank beer vessels which tie-in with the copper bridge tap on the bar.

There is also a Tennent’s tank beer vessel upstairs. The pub is the first in the East to offer customers Tennent’s Tank lager. Explains Aoibhínn Cullen, who heads up marketing for the company, “It was great to get the Tennent’s Tank lager in. Not only is it a great feature it tastes good, in fact, some of our customers claim they don’t suffer from hangovers anymore!”

Malones Irish Bar Edinburgh - Upstairs

Robin adds, “When we were doing the renovation we took down some cladding and discovered some old bi-folding doors and we realised that the original runners for them were still there. Back in the day, the building had been a garage – so now we are making an application to reinstate them so that in the summer we can open the doors to the street.

All the seating in the new Malones Irish Bar is also new and the fixed seating features a dark-green leather-like upholstery – which obviously ties in with the pub’s Irish credentials. This was created by Aberdeen company Luxous. Says Robin, “They did a great job.”

The tables are solid dark wood, and they are accompanied by tables which have been made from whisky barrels and have round tops. Aiobhinn adds, “We had them made specially by Derry’s in Ireland.”

There is a lot of memorabilia throughout – downstairs and up. Aoibhinn tells me that Simon and his father Robert, who is his business partner, and who looks after Malones Irish Bar in Aberdeen, sourced the bric-a-brac and the majority of it came from Ireland where the family hails from.

Malones Edinburgh - Stairs

There is a door on the right-hand side of the bar which takes you upstairs. The stairwell is a sight to behold as it features a specially commissioned Father Ted mural. Artist Chris Rutterford created the 28ft mural which features favourites Father Ted Crilly, Father Dougal McGuire, Father Jack Hackett, Mrs Doyle, Bishop Brennan and other legendary Craggy Island characters.

The toilets are also quite quirky with the ladies wallpapered with pages from a satirical Irish news site.

At the top of the stairs, you turn to the left to enter a large and airy second floor. It is a great space, which holds up to 300 people. It is the perfect venue for live music and live sports – with two TV screens upstairs and two large screens.

There is a specially created stage area, showcases 12 musicians weekly which is slightly raised and is where the live bands play. It is located at the opposite end of the bar. Says Robin, “We went to great lengths in relation to the soundproofing. The ceilings have acoustic batons and acoustic tracking. The stage is built on 200 batons which have a rubberised base. The sound system that has been put in is not a booming one, instead, we have used 16 speakers located around the room which means that people can have a conversation in the bar because the sound is dispersed.”

From the ceiling hang large circular wrought iron chandeliers, and behind the bar, there are two stained glass windows of Celtic design which says Aoibhinn celebrate the Scottish and Irish links – there is also one downstairs.

The furniture here is also the same as downstairs, although fewer barrels are used and there are tall parlour tables and stools. About a dozen in total. The fixed seating also stretches the length of the room on the right. And as downstairs there is a lot of memorabilia from musical instruments to old whiskey jugs.

Says Aoibhinn, “The vibe we were going for was big and bold with a traditional feel to it.” It certainly delivers.

Simon concludes, “After a long break … the craic is back.”

The new Edinburgh bar is at 242 Morrison Street and is open from 9am to 1am six days a week, and from 11 on Sundays. Meanwhile, the Keane’s will continue with their Pop-up on the top of the Waverley Market. Says Simon, “It may originally have been a temporary project, and it was a major risk. But it has been great for business and we will be opening again in the summer months. We are also continuing to expand our pop up bars and street food enterprises.

Malones group is actively sourcing for new premises across the UK and Ireland to expand the brand.

Click here to visit the Malones Irish Bar Edinburgh website.


New gin to help raise funds for Doddie Weir’s MND charity

Mon 18th February 2019

English spirits ­producer 45 West Distillers, which produces Burleighs Gin, is working with ­Scottish rugby ­legend Doddie Weir’s chari... Read more.

Absolut creates new bottle label in support of LGBT+ History Month

Mon 18th February 2019

Absolut vodka has taken ink used in hate signs from around the world to create a new limited edition bottle to celebrate LGBT+ History Month... Read more.

All four Majors live on Sky Sports in a spectacular 2019 beginning with the Masters Tournament in April

Mon 18th February 2019

The drama and emotion of all four Majors will come to life for Sky Sports customers this year as the biggest names in golf hunt down the mos... Read more.

William Grant & Sons announce new Chief People Officer

Thu 14th February 2019

William Grant & Sons has appointed Kerry Christie as its Chief People Officer effective June 2019. Kerry will be based in Scotland and w... Read more.

Andy McCue to step down as The Restaurant Group boss

Thu 14th February 2019

The Restaurant Group, whose brands include Frankie & Benny’s, Wagamama and Chiquito, has announced that chief executive Andy McCue... Read more.

Scotch Whisky exports on the up in 2018

Thu 14th February 2019

Official figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have revealed a strong year for Scotch Whisky exports in 2018, with global growth by bot... Read more.

Year-on-year revenue growth of over 300% for Scottish craft gin brand McQueen Gin

Wed 13th February 2019

Stirlingshire-based true craft spirit brand McQueen Gin has announced year-on-year revenue growth figures of over 300%. ... Read more.

BrewDog reveals more details of first US bar outside Ohio

Wed 13th February 2019

Scottish brewer BrewDog has revealed more details of the ‘Doghouse’ bar it will open in Indianapolis, which will be its first US... Read more.

Buzzworks Holdings reports another year of growth

Tue 12th February 2019

Buzzworks Holdings has reported an increase in turn over, up 9 per cent from £14.8m to £16.2m, for 2018.... Read more.

Diageo submits plans for flagship Johnnie Walker visitor attraction in Edinburgh

Tue 12th February 2019

Diageo has announced that plans have been formally submitted for the flagship Johnnie Walker visitor centre in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh attr... Read more.

McGinty’s Group set to serve up £500k bar and restaurant in Aberdeen

Mon 11th February 2019

The McGinty’s Group has lodged plans with Aberdeen City Council to transform the former Esslemont and Macintosh (E&Ms) department stor... Read more.

Beer sales in UK on-trade up, says BBPA Beer Barometer

Mon 11th February 2019

Sales of beer in the on trade increased by 0.1% on full year 2017 sales, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British ... Read more.

Carlsberg reports full-year UK volume down 3%

Thu 7th February 2019

Carlsberg has reported total volume fell 3% in the UK for the year ending 31 December 2018 in a slightly growing beer market. Of its UK perf... Read more.

SIMS AUTOMATICS: CELEBRATING 50 YEARS AT THE TOP OF ITS GAME

Thu 7th February 2019

It’s not every day that you come across a family-run business that’s celebrating 50 years of successfully supporting and supplying the S... Read more.

KINGSBARN DISTILLERY’S SINGLE MALT TAKES FLIGHT

Wed 6th February 2019

A long-held dream to distill fine single malt whisky in the East Neuk of Fife has become a reality for the founders of Kingsbarns Distillery... Read more.

ORO GIN WINS SILVER AT THE WORLD GIN AWARDS 2019

Wed 6th February 2019

Oro Gin, from the Dumfriesshire-based Oro Gin Distilling Co, picked up the silver title in the London Dry Gin (UK) category at the World Gin... Read more.

New rum for Deeside Distillery

Wed 6th February 2019

A North-East distillery has launched an exciting new venture with the creation of the UK’s first single cask cask-strength ... Read more.

Plans to extend historic Melrose pub given the green light

Wed 6th February 2019

It’s always tricky trying to secure planning permission when a pub’s steeped in history but The King’s Arms in Melrose High Street has... Read more.

LADY LIBERTINE OPENS HER DOORS WITHIN THE EDINBURGH GRAND

Tue 5th February 2019

The Edinburgh Grand has added a further art deco inspired bar and dining experience with the launch of Lady Libertine. Lady Libertine is the... Read more.

Elliots to be renamed Vic’s & The Vine following refurbishment

Tue 5th February 2019

Buzzworks Holdings has closed Elliots bar and restaurant in Prestwick for a refurbishment and rebranding that will be unveiled at Easter. It... Read more.