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Café Royal, The

Next to West Register House just behind the eastern end of Princes Street in Edinburgh is the Café Royal, a popular bar and restaurant. Although designed by Robert Patterson as a showroom for gas and bathroom appliances, it opened in 1863 as the Café Royal Hotel.

Alterations made for a new owner in 1893-95 by Alexander Wood McNaughton created the Oyster and Circle Bars. The Oyster Bar is a beautifully-appointed restaurant, with numerous original features including fine wood-panelling. The Circle Bar is also notable, with its large island counter and fine fixtures, including unusual stained glass and tile-work. On the wall of the bar are large Doulton tile plaques, featuring famous inventors, which were made especially for the Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886, which was held in the Meadows, and subsequently obtained by the Café Royal by the architect J. Macintyre Henry, who was responsible for internal alterations in 1898 and 1923. There are further fine rooms upstairs, today used for functions.

The Café Royal Oyster Bar featured in a scene within the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, which told the story of the competition between athletes Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams.


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