Ever-popular with commercial office crowds, but with good reason – it has a great selection of appealing international food and drink.
Part of a large nationwide chain, this venture is located in the Clydesdale Bank Plaza right in the centre of Edinburgh's expensive George Street in the New Town. All Bar One has gorgeous high, arched ceilings, white washed walls and wooden furnishings. The large windows mean that it always has a bright and clean feeling inside.
The seating areas are divided into stools and high tables, half booths and large square tables - the choice is yours. Well before 5pm, at least. After this time, the bar gets packed with the unwinding post work crowd. The long well staffed bar is often quite busy, especially at prime drinking times. All Bar One accomplishes what it sets out to do: provide a slightly higher level of bar service, food and drink than its high street competition. This can sometimes feel a little impersonal and like you have to make an effort, but, all in all, it gets the job done with delicious food and a wide variety of drinks.
The crowd in Edinburgh's All Bar One is fairly unchanging. As it is right in the heart of the financial district, the majority of weekday customers are bankers and their well heeled other halves. There are nearly always a few girly groups catching up and sharing a couple of bottles of wine or some business meetings getting more and more tipsy. It is a nice, well behaved crowd and there is a lovely buzz of conversation without being too excessive. The staff are friendly and eager to please, but may not always be there when a drink is dangerously low.
The drink selection in All Bar One is vast: the wine menu is staggering (and reasonably priced) and the spirit choice is truly enormous. The bottled and tap beers are extensive and would fulfil most hard-to-please drinkers. Curiously missing from the menu are cocktails, which you can only assume is because of their time consuming nature, as the bar service here is fast and furious.
At All Bar One, the procuring of bar food can be quite perplexing. It is unclear whether you should wait to be seated, whether to order at the bar or try to flag down one of the busy looking waitresses.
This aside, the newly revitalised menu is dominated by its huge tapas selection, most of which are extremely delicious, fresh tasting and inventive. From tiger prawn skewers deep-fried in coconut tempura, duck quesadillas, olives, chorizo and chicken skewers, to baked camembert with cranberry sauce, this is a really delightful menu of nibbles. While several of the tapas would add up to a small meal, the rest of the menu consists of large main dishes like steak and fish with nice side orders, if small plates are not your persuasion.
The Final Word
All Bar One’s are a step ahead of most high street boozers and with such an extensive range of food and drink on offer, it looks likely to stay that way.