The first I knew of Beluga bars closure on Edinburgh’s Chambers St was when I found the door locked one Saturday night. Behind the door lay a stack of unopened mail. Many months on and an expensive refit later of the ground and basement floors of the bar formerly known as Beluga, it has re-opened as Revolution Bar. Many of you will be familiar with the name, as this chain has a plethora of bars in England (especially London) and a growing number in Scotland (Glasgow and Aberdeen).
Unfortunately I didn’t spot any Oompa Loompa’s on my visit to Revolution, but they can evidently be arranged if organising a private function and crossing the bar owners palms with silver. It was 5 ‘o’ clock last Friday when we made our way into Revolution, opening the doors ourselves as they aren’t manned until later in the evening. The top floor consists of an upside down L shape drinking area that leads round to the bar, which has hundreds of spirit bottles stacked behind it. A sectioned area that turns the L into a square acts as the dining room, although I don’t think the chirpy, attentive staff mind it being used just for drinks. While we there the bar wasn’t busy at all, so they clearly haven’t captured the after work crowd yet. But I imagine the hordes of drinkers on Friday and Saturday nights will be happy to add Revolution to their bar crawl route. A DJ played decent ambient music from beside the bar, while a video projector above his head displayed the latest drink and food offers.
The interior of Revolution is nice enough if somewhat unoriginal: opulent wallpapered and plain varnished wooden walls surround the bar, with the furniture mainly leather. We slouched in some deep, low sitting leather armchairs that, while extremely comfortable, proved too far away from each other to promote conversation. The semi-circle leather seats, tables and accompanying stools are a better bet. As was the dining room area where we moved after one round of drinks to try some of Revolution’s food. Tennants lager was ¬£3 a pint, which isn’t cheap.
Revolution’s bar menu looked fairly decent on paper. A range of sandwiches, paninis, salads, steak or chicken and a great selection of burgers were on offer, all at very competitive prices. I chose their Hawaiian burger, which costs ¬£7.45 for the 6oz version. However for just ¬£1 I upgraded it to 12oz. My dining partner chose the homemade fish fingers, with chips and mushy peas for ¬£7.95. No soon had we ordered and our waitress placed a huge hourglass egg timer on our table. Apparently it lasts for 15 minutes and if your food hasn’t been delivered within the 15 minutes, it’s free.
Judging by the sands of the timer I would say 8 minutes passed before our food was delivered. My 12oz burger was enormous, but was cooked to absolute perfection. The burgers were high quality and wholesome in meat. The bacon was also decent, although I found the pineapple a little dry. I quickly devoured the burger and accompanying chips. My dining partners fish fingers were tasty bar food as well and the fish inside was of good quality, as were the mushy peas. At the end of the meal we both thought what a pleasant and competent bar meal Revolution Bar had served us.
When I asked for the bill the waitress asked if I had a privilege card, to which I replied no. Soon she explained the benefits and so in paying ¬£3 to receive the privilege card I benefited from buy one get one free on meals, so that was the ¬£7.45 cost of my burger (the ¬£1 for the extra burger was billed separately, so it looked like the burger was the cheapest meal) taken off the bill. So a 12oz burger and chips and fish fingers and chips had cost us just ¬£11.95 (with the ¬£3 privilege card). I wasn’t really complaining about the price before (as the food had been decent) but this had given us a further saving. The privilege card is valid until September 2007, so until that time I can benefit from buy one get one free on meals and various drinks promotions e.g. Stella Artois ¬£2.10 a pint. Although in just one visit it had already payed for itself and more.
I didn’t visit the downstairs area of Revolution, which I think acts as the nightclub part later in the evening. Interestingly Revolution accept private party reservations, so you can hire a specific part of the venue, or for larger parties negotiate hire of the whole 580 person venue.
I could easily see Revolution getting very busy late at night when the cheap cocktails and vodka shooters come into play. However I thoroughly enjoyed my early in the evening visit here. It’s a chain bar that does decor, drink and food very competently; so while not revolutionary in anyway it’s a decent evolution of the former Beluga Bar premises.
Revolution Bar is located at 30A Chambers Street, Edinburgh. It’s location may be seen on Google Maps here.