Drummond Street, South Side, Edinburgh

Lounge Bar

Frequented by Robert Louis Stevenson.

1899 facade.  Still looking the same in 2007.


    Rutherford's Lounge Bar  -  Drummond Street ©

1.  Please click on the thumbnail image above to read about the  proposals for Rutherford's announced in September 2007.

2.  Rutherford's closed for refurbishment around the beginning of November 2007.  I don't know how long it is likely to be closed for.




Eric Gold

East London

Eric Gold (known to many as Eric McKenzie), formerly of Dumbiedykes and now living in East London, wrote:

Rutherford's Bar

"Many thanks for putting up Rutherford's photos on the website.  I feel a thirst coming on (ha ha ha).

Rutherford's Lounge Bar  -  Drummond Street ©     Rutherford's Lounge Bar  -  Drummond Street ©

I remember Bob, the owner, now sadly deceased.  He used to say if anyone commented on the decor,

'You are here to drink and if you think we need a coat of paint get some and paint, and if you do a good job I will let you have a pint free (ha ha ha)'. 

He was a really funny man."

Eric Gold:  East London, February 4, 2007




Margaret Savannah

New Jersey, USA

Thank you to Margaret Savannah, who now lives in the USA, for telling me about her recent visit to Edinburgh.

Margaret wrote:

South Side

"I was born and raised in Crichton Street, in the South Side, Edinburgh.  We lived there from about 1951-59.  The building was torn down not that long afterwards and we moved to , then moved to West Adam Street.

We then moved to Windmill St for about  two years.  It was literally around the block.

Then we moved to West Adam Street.  We lived there for several years before coming to the USA in 1967."

Visit to Edinburgh

"I was able to return to Edinburgh from the USA for a holiday with my two youngest children, three years ago.  I wanted my kids to experience something of Edinburgh that resembled the way it was when I was a young woman."


"I took the kids to Drummond St, and there was Rutherford's Pub, looking the same inside and out as it did in my youth.

We went in and at first we received some funny stares, but as we made ourselves at home and started talking to a couple of the locals we were invited to sit in the corner table that had a sign above it stating it was for locals only.

We knew that an honour had been bestowed on us and spent a really wonderful afternoon talking to 3 wonderful gentlemen who happened to remember my family."

Hawkes Family

"My family name was Hawkes.  I wonder if anyone out there remembers this huge clan."


"Perhaps someone may remember the sad story of my young sister who was killed when a brick wall fell on her in the back-green of West Nicholson Street in the early '70s.

The wall was so old that it was crumbling and the kids in the neighborhood would hold onto an old rope, used for laundry,  to swing on.  The wall crumbled under the weight and unfortunately my sister was killed"

Margaret Savannah, New Jersey, USA:  December 17, 2007




Neil Scott


Thank you to Neil Scott, Edinburgh, who wrote:


"I was in Drummond Street last night and was staggered to see what has become of Rutherford’s Bar.


"When I was a student in the late-1950’s/early-1960’s, Rutherford’s was one of my local haunts, especially after playing badminton in Edinburgh University’s  Pollock Gym just down the road in the Pleasance.

Indeed, while I was studying for my PhD at Edinburgh, money was so tight that I started working in Rutherford’s rather than drinking – that way I earned money instead of spending it!"

Bob Turnbull

"Bob Turnbull, the licensee, had a strict rule of 'no drinking on the job' and it was instant dismissal if you were caught drinking while on duty.

However, there was a serving hatch from the public bar through into the lounge bar, and we (the barmen) used to secretly place a pint on the ledge in the hatch, just out of sight of the public bar.

We then used to make frequent trips through to the lounge to collect empty glasses (even when we knew there were none!) and to have a swig at this communal pint!  Mind you, it got re-filled more than once during a busy night."

Rutherford's Bar Staff

"Here is a photo of the bar staff in Rutherford's, taken around 1960. "  **

The Bar Staff at Rutherford's Bar, Edinburgh, around 1960 ©

Neil Scott ARPS (Fellow EPS Member), Edinburgh:   October 25, 2008

The Photo

 ** Please click on the photo above:

-  to enlarge it

-  to read about how the photo was taken and who is in it.

-  to read responses to this photo

Peter Stubbs:   October 25, 2008




Neil Scott


Neil Scott explained the procedure at Rutherford's if any of the bar staff were offered drinks while on duty.

Neil wrote:

Drinks for the Bar Staff

"The system in my day was that if a customer wanted to 'treat' you, he would offer you a drink. (It was definitely a “man’s pub” in those days – many unaccompanied women who came in were of doubtful reputation and were usually ushered out very quickly.  Bob was quite strict about that!) 

We had to say that we were not allowed to drink on duty, but we could put the money aside, and have a drink on our break.

Nearly always, this option was declined by the customer, so we got neither drink, nor tip!"

Neill Scott ARPS (fellow EPS Member), Edinburgh:   October 26, 2008




Margaret Savannah

New Jersey, USA

Thank you to Margaret Savannah, who replied:

Hospitality at Rutherford's

"When I visited Rutherford's, I was really happy to be able to let my kids see a side of Scotland they, as visitors from another country, may not have experienced otherwise.

When we entered Rutherford's that day it was as if time had gone back 40 years. My son even took pictures of the bathrooms. The customers that were there, treated us so well and welcomed me in particular.

I was overwhelmed by their hospitality. I'm so sad to know that the bar I knew as a youngster no longer exists as I knew it."

Margaret Savannah, New Jersey, USA:  October 26, 2008




Paul Essenhigh


Thank you to Paul Essenhigh, who asked about  Rutherford's Lunge Bar today.   Paul wrote:


"I just noticed  Rutherford Bar on the EdinPhoto web site,  and was wondering if the pub is still there now or has it been redeveloped?   I heard a year or two ago it was to be redeveloped but not sure if this went ahead or not.

I saw the bar in '16 Years of Alcohol' shortly after returning home from Edinburgh and was hoping to drop in for a pint or two in September when I return to Edinburgh."

Paul Essenhigh, Australia: January 22, 2009


"Rutherford's has now been redeveloped.  Here is how it looked, both outside and inside, in August 2008, following the redevelopment:

Rutherford's Lounge Bar, now Ciao Roma Restaurant, Drummond Street - August 2008 ©    Inside Rutherford's Lounge Bar, now Ciao Roma Restaurant, Drummond Street - August 2008 ©

 You'll see that the frontage facing onto Drummond Street still looks very much the same.  It has been given a new coat of  varnish.

But inside, the old bar has been taken away and the room has become an extension of Ciao Roma Restaurant, just round the corner from Drummond Street at South Bridge.  The Drummond Street doors are now locked and there is only one entrance to the restaurant  -  at 64 South Bridge.

Here is a little more information about recent changes at Rutherford's."

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: January 22, 2009

Recollections and Questions


Gabriel Fernandez Represas

Thank you to Gabriel Fernandez Represas for sending more recollections for this page - about ten years after I received recollections 6 above!

Gabriel wrote:

My First Novel

"I lived in Edinburgh in 2005 and I frequented Rutherford's bar very often.  I am now working on my first novel and the main character goes to have Tennents pints to Rutherford's.


Behind the Bar

"I remember that  an old man was serving to customers, but I can't remember his name. ( Was it Bob or Rory? )*** He was very nice and he was smiling all the time. Perhaps you  remember his name. I would be very grateful if somebody could tell me his name. 

Before leaving Edinburgh I went to see him and say good bye' and I asked him for something as a memento - something like a  Tennents beer mat.  He went to the basement and he took a Bass Ale tray which he gave me.  I kept it like a treasure. 

*** It may have been Bob, the owner.  He is mentioned at the end of Recollections 1 above.  

      Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  7 February 2019


Another Question


"This old man said to me that Stevenson used to go to drink white wine, and before going to drink he used to go to the morgue which was located nearby.  Does anybody know anything about the morgue in the 1800s?

Gabriel Fernandez Represas, February 4, 2019

Reply to Gabriel?

If you'd like to reply to any of Gabriel's comments or questions above, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on Gabriel's email address to you.

Thank you.

 Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  7 February 2019




Drummond Street