Thursday 19 April 2012: Leith #5 - The Port O' Leith
Sunshine on Leith - The Proclaimers. This song sort of goes with this place because it's often played as the last track of the night.
The Port O' Leith pub is located in the very heart of Leith and is definitely a Leith establishment. A description of it in a news.scotsman.com article says "working class at heart, hedonistic, scuzzily creative, a bit aggressive maybe, it's almost as though, millennia ago, when the tectonic plates shifted, a chunk of Glasgow broke away and got stuck by the Firth of Forth." And a review in Edinburgh247 says "all manner of life is contained within and by midnight it resembles the Star Wars bar, but that shouldn't keep you away. It's impossible to drink alone and even harder to leave sober." You get the idea...
For 25 years it was run by Mary Moriarty, a slender old woman dressed in black with pink nails and white hair piled high. A unique character described as "queenly with a hint of something earthy beneath". She arrived in Leith from Haddington in 1984. She wanted to emigrate to the US after running the pub for three years, but she finally decided to stay in the Port O' Leith. When she retired, she took away a bit of the true essence of the place with her, and people say the pub's not been the same since then.
The pub has a nautical feel and it's been decorated over the years by items left by customers who visited the place. It was a long-standing tradition to leave behind your ship's flag which Mary then attached to the ceiling. There are hundreds of flags on the ceiling, and all sorts of assorted paraphernalia, such as life preservers, a bisected mannequin in a navy cap, foreign coins, a crossword from a regular called Percy who died of a heart attack while he was doing it and a large assortment of pictures of people who have walked through the pub's doors.
At the weekends, there's usually a rather wild motley crowd, and the pub can be a bit on the rough side, but it can be a good laugh. One of the pub's traditions is to have people dancing on the bar!
Incidentally, I'm having a pirate night with my friends tomorrow and we might well end up in there! We'll see, hahaha!
Heading off to work on a translation for a friend now. Catch up with your blips later!
Thanks very much for all your comments! I hope you all had a good day! :)