With thanks to Ron McFarlane
As far as can be established the Bailie, or at least the site of the Bailie, has been a bar since the 1870’s, known in a previous incarnation as the Grand Bar, very much a working man’s “Spit and Sawdust” pub, as were the majority of pubs in Stockbridge. It was also quite different in design; there was no restaurant area as during that period no food would have been served. There was also a small “Snug” bar, commonly known as the Duke bar which was where women were graciously permitted to drink! However, unfortunately, there were no female toilets in the bar (an oversight which has now been corrected, you’ll be glad to hear.)
In 1971 the Grand bar was bought by Hamish Henderson, some of who’s artwork can still be viewed on our walls, and it was Hamish who renamed the pub The Bailie, apparently after a theatre production that was on at the time and for which the advert for the production is still on display. Even up until this time there was no restaurant area. During this period Stockbridge was very different to today. St Stephen Street was very dilapidated and there were plans to effectively knock the street down and start building anew. This caused such outrage with the many antique dealers and small business in the street that the council were forced to back down.
During the early 1980’s the Bailie’s current owners bought the pub from Hamish and made some substantial changes to it. The beer cellar was moved from inside to the outside of the Bar underneath the pavement into the previously unused cellars. The pub was more than doubled in size by buying the adjoining 2 basement properties. This extension now forms the restaurant / dining area, kitchen and toilets, now including the ladies. The old gent’s toilet handle (but not a working door) is still in existence in the place of the original toilet, however this can often cause confusion for our older regulars who have had one too many!
Other than a few minor changes to the pub such as adding televisions, one of which is hidden into the wall behind a picture (try and find it!), some improvements to the outside to accommodate the smoking ban in 2006 and basic running repairs the Bailie still remains much the same today. There is no recorded music, nor fruit machines and no Juke box. Banter and debate are encouraged around the large island bar and to this day there are still many regulars drinking in the bar who first started drinking here in the 1950’s and 60’s. There are also many of our existing regulars in a famous sepia photograph on the wall of the Bailie. This was taken in 1973 and shows the bohemian characters that frequented the pub during the late 60’s and 70’s.
We’d very much like this page to evolve over time. If you have any fond memories, pictures or anecdotes regarding The Bailie then we’d love to hear from you and add to this record. You can click here for our contact details, or simply pop into the pub any time we’re open.