Canny Man's

Every piece found hidden away here relates a part of history, with everything given by friends over the years.

Feature by Leo Wood | 15 Feb 2006

Established in 1871, The Canny Man's is a Class A family-run establishment if ever there was one. Unique beyond belief, this place is a treasure trove of collector's paraphernalia. To give you a clue, objects dangling from the ceiling include musical instruments, Chinese umbrellas, ship parts and even a lady dressed in her finest. Every piece found hidden away here relates a part of history, with everything given by friends over the years. As proof of this, The Canny Man's is the only pub I ever saw with its own fact sheet, describing each antiquarian room in turn. As part of today's battle against the spawning of designer pubs that create a sense of 'fake history' through a few contrived dusty books, The Canny Man's is sacred; long may it last!

Served in the stylish white-tableclothed atmosphere reminiscent of a traditional Parisian restaurant, the food here is quite literally a smorgasbord of yummy Scandinavian-style 'surf and turf' that works well for either lunch or supper and is very reasonably priced. There are well over a hundred dishes on the menu making life difficult if in a rush, but no sane person would hurry through the delectable experience of eating at The Canny Man's. The food is freshly made on the premises each day, with dishes such as the cold rare fillet of beef and lobster being equally delicious. The service is impeccable, with a respectable old-fashioned air of pride, and the overall aim is perfection without pretension; the formidable Kerr family team has got it spot on.

There is also a Spanish influence on the food menu and this extends to the wine list. The house wines are imported directly from Spain and France, following the trips to the continent that the proprietor Mr. Kerr makes himself several times a year. Their wines are lovingly sampled at the source, with grapes hand picked from the vine, so you are guaranteed that the wine you drink at Canny Man's is exclusive to the house. However, the piece de resistance is the choice of 250 malt whiskies served at the main bar in 35ml measures, the largest single legal measure now available in the UK. This is an epic selection, even by The Canny Man's standards. Wander to the bar and gawp at the unbelievable range of bottles on display. Champagne also seems to be a way of life at The Canny Man's, and bottles of miraculously large sizes sit at the bar, including a Salamazer (12 bottles) and Nebuchadnezzar (20 bottles). So if you're feeling flush, you can expect an enormous bottle of fizz to be served impeccably, ice cold on starch white linen, washed down with a bowl of strawberries.

Regular customers have been coming back to the Canny Man's for lifetimes, standing or sitting always in their favorite spot. The management say that their place "is well loved and hated: It is loved by those that understand a place that will not change, will not alter, respecting the past and prepared at all cost to preserve the future." Un-PC perhaps, but that's the precise reason why this establishment is a sacred relic in this bureaucratic Blairite age.

The Canny Man's, 237 Morningside Road (0131) 447 1484.
Mon-Wed 11.30am-11pm, Thu and Sat 11.30am-12am,Fri 11.30am-1am, Sun 12.30pm-11pm.