Edinburgh group expands with new bar

Cross & CornerBar and pub operator The Shilling Group is expanding with a new venue in Edinburgh city centre that has grown its estate to 11.

Later this month, it will launch The Cross & Corner in the 1,150 sq ft former site of McLachlan’s in the Canonmills district of Edinburgh New Town after a six-week £100,000 refurbishment.

It has been designed by Edinburgh firm GLM with the interior taking style cues from the Victorian era in a contemporary context. Eclectic finishes include reclaimed tile tabletops and flooring, vintage furniture and antique light fittings.

Exposed brick walls, curios and assorted artworks create a mood of “understated urban industrial chic”. The Shilling Group’s incumbent design agency, Touch, took on the brand development.

The Cross & Corner stocks a wide range of premium spirits and beers. In addition to eight keg offerings, there is an extensive bottled beer list featuring Kernel Brewery, Redchurch Brewery, Camden Brewery and La Chouffe.

Spirit serves include a choice of seven themed Bloody Marys while the Gin & Tonic also gets multiple makeovers.

On the food front, the emphasis is on simple yet good-quality home cooking. The all-day menu comprises snacks, sharing boards and signature pub dishes such as fish and chips, rib-eye steak and homemade burger, with brunch on offer at the weekend. Among the specialist suppliers are Peelham Farm in the Borders for its organic meats and Welch Fishmongers in Edinburgh.

Michael McGuigan, founder and managing director of The Shilling Group, took inspiration from the success of the company’s previous project, The Fountain, the bright, contemporary bar to the west of the city centre.

“When we took on The Fountain it was a notorious spit and sawdust pub that few residents in the neighbourhood would dare to enter,” he said. “The area was crying out for a quality food-led bar, a place where people could meet in a relaxed environment, and The Fountain has answered that need.

“When we were scoping out the opportunity for The Cross & Corner, we identified a similar gap in the market. In the immediate vicinity, there’s nowhere that offers an individual and sophisticated pub experience and we’ve come up with a proposition that fills that gap.”

The Cross & Corner is open seven days a week, from 10am to midnight Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 1am Thursday to Saturday. Food is served daily from midday to 9.30pm.

Founded by McGuigan in 2003, The Shilling Group employs 106 staff and is on course to record a turnover of £5.2million in the next 12 months. After the acquisition of McLachlan’s in May, the group now has six freeholds and five leaseholds.

Its other sites include Carriers Quarters in Leith, Morrison’s Bar in Haymarket and Bar Kohl Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge, well known for its cocktails and flavoured vodkas since 1993.

Picture above by Pip Rustage.

The Shilling Group has teamed up with drinks company Maxxium UK to run a Jim Beam whiskey pop-up, Taste of Kentucky, at Bar Kohl on August 22 and 23 to tie in with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The back area of the bar will be turned into a “Kentucky fun house”, with neon signs, hay bales and plenty of bourbon. Three cocktails will be on offer, a Kentucky Woman, a Delicious Sour and a Mint Julep, plus the Jim Beam perfect serve of whiskey, ginger ale and an orange wedge. The pop-up bar will be open from 7pm to midnight.

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