If you’ve passed the former premises of Leith bar, Sofi’s, recently, you might have noticed stained glass windows being installed.
This Henderson Street venue’s new incarnation has been a while in the making, and though the sign above the door is barely dry, it spells out the Three Marys.
The pair behind this joint venture, which will be opening on June 7 are first time publican, Dale MacPhee, 35, whose dad owned Scandals Bar in Dalkeith, and Calum Mackay, 51, owner of Edinburgh pubs, the Shore’s Malt & Hops and the Old Chain Pier at Newhaven.
They’ve named their new cocktail bar, not after Doll, Poppins or well known Leith landlady, Mary Moriarty, but three slightly more historic figures – Mary, Queen of Scots, Mary Magdalene and Mary of Guise.
This space is hung with the Ant Fox artworks they’ve commissioned, which feature satirical takes on the eponymous characters.
Mary, Queen of Scots, drinks a bloody Mary (which will be one of their signature serves) complete with celery stick, Mary Magdalene is pouring some red wine, and Mary of Guise is winking with a glass of Champagne in hand.
As well as their regal fleur-de-lys logo, which pops up along the curved walnut bar, the opulent and glamorous room also features midnight blue walls, chandeliers, floral wallpaper, a wall of tables for two, and orange velvet and brass banquettes.
For the refurbishment, they recruited an Edinburgh interior architecture company, who are also responsible for interiors at Room & Rumours, Smith & Gertrude, The Pastry Section and loads of other top food businesses in the capital and beyond.
“Splintr has done an amazing job making our vision a reality and re-imagining the space, bringing out all sorts of angles and great places to hide or pose”, says Dale.
“Of particular note is their forbearance with the owners’ madcap request to reshape the bar to follow the bend in the Water of Leith”.
They’ve thoroughly invested in the concept, and the theme will be carried through to their drinks menu, which is still being finalised (as is any future food list).
“We are looking to serve seasonal and sustainable, locally themed cocktails, independent local beers and pay tribute to the French links to the area, particularly the wines which would have been in plentiful supply in any nearby vaults around Mary, Queen of Scots’ time”, says Dale, who also runs the Leith Jazz and Blues Festival with Calum.
We imagine there might be a spot of claret. Anyway, those who loved Sofi’s will be consoled by this new spot.
“It was definitely in need of a new splash of confidence and there is a story of the area that needed to be told, and where better to discuss it than Leith's vibrant Shore district?” says Dale .
“Whether you remember it as the Bay Horse, Bar Kalinka, or Sofi's it will soon be Three Marys, hopefully as a neighbourhood favourite but in a new ‘Guise’.”