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Rutherford's


(Hispaniola)

Once a spit-and-sawdust bar lying on Drummond Street in Edinburgh, Rutherfords now forms an extension to an Italian restaurant accessible from South Bridge and has been renamed Hispaniola. Opening its doors in 1834, the bar was remodelled by the Edinburgh-based architect J. Macintyre Henry in 1899. Henry's facade survives today - now B-listed - although the the interior was unsympathetically modernised in the 1960s. It closed as a bar in 2008 and was linked with the neighbouring restaurant to the rear.

Rutherford's was best known as a favourite haunt of author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894). In 1925, author J.M. Barrie (1860 - 1937) wrote an account of a fictional encounter with Stevenson, "... he led me away from the Humanities to something that he assured me was much more humane - a howff called Rutherford's where we sat and talked by the solid hour." It was also frequented by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930), and the eccentric decor is now an homage to these authors. Rutherford's was also where philosopher George Davie (1912 - 2007) introduced poets Sorley MacLean (1911-96) and Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 - 1978) in 1934, a meeting commemorated today by a plaque at the end of Drummond Street.

The bar also featured in the film 16 Years of Alcohol (2003) written and directed by Richard Jobson (b.1960).


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