We had booked a table for 1.30pm at Sportsters, the sport themed bar on Edinburgh’s Market St, yesterday. Here I enjoyed a lunch, many pints of lager and the 6 nations clash between Scotland and England: that Scotland won by 18 points to 12.
The table we had booked was in their upstairs dining area and here we got waitress service. Disappointingly, the upstairs area lacks the atmosphere and TV screen coverage of the bottom area. We could see the TV screens showing the sport in the main area through a glass partition, but if you have a group of 4/5 people I’d recommend taking one of the booths on the lower level, where you get a LCD TV just for your booth, that also has Internet access. You can see the many smaller TV screens and the larger projection screens from the downstairs booths. Sportsters is an excellent place for watching sport in Edinburgh: they can show multiple live matches and have access to all channels e.g. Sky Sports, Setanta sport and Premiership Plus.
Their menu is typical of what you’d expect and it offers good value, with their burgers in particular, offering large quantities of food for not too much money. I went for the chicken burger at Â£6.60. This was served on a large sesame seed bun and with mayonnaise already on the burger. Lots of fries were served with it as was coleslaw and salad. The fries, even though you get lots of them, are obviously cooked from frozen; and aren’t the kind I prefer. However, they’re more than adequate. The burger was really nice and the meal provided the perfect filling ahead of a days drinking. I was tempted by the 12oz burger at Â£7.90, but the 6oz chicken burger I had more than sufficed. One of our party had the Grand Slam baguette, which contained Cajun chicken, sour cream, tomatoes and was smothered in melted cheese. Again, this was a good filling meal. Sportsters also served decent pizzas, fajitas and other bar meals. Unfortunately the only draft lager served upstairs is Fosters at Â£2.60 a pint. Downstairs there is a much better choice, but if you want this while eating upstairs you have to go to the bar and buy it yourself! It would be much better if Sportsters offered all draft beer upstairs as well. Especially, as the bar service downstairs is notoriously slow - one of our party was waiting a good 20 minutes to be served at the bar!
After a few more pints upstairs we headed down to the packed bar area to get a good standing position for the rugby match. After eating at the table upstairs, we could have kept it for the rest of the day, but we were after atmosphere and a better view of the action than upstairs afforded us. Just before the 5.30pm kick-off a member of staff announced that City nightclub (that is connected to Sportsters but operates separately) was being opened up to go and watch the rugby in. This was a good move, as Sportsters itself was full to absolute capacity. When people filtered into the nightclub, that had a projector screen showing the 6 nations match, it took a lot of pressure off Sportsters; although it remained busy. Of course it was free to move into City nightclub (no cover charge). The atmosphere during the match was very good, although I thought a few of the crowds booing of the English national anthem and yelling such comments as “stamp on his ******* head”, were inappropriate. After the victory Scottish songs such as Loch Lomond and The Proclaimers, I’m Gonna be (500 miles) were played to huge cheers and celebrations.
Overall, Sportsters is an excellent venue to watch sport, especially when there are two events on at the same time: as you’ll be able to watch them both. The bar menu is decent and offers extremely large portions. However, they could work on quicker bar service and a larger range of drinks being offered upstairs.