THE HISTORY OF THE GRILL
The bar occupies the ground floor of a typical grey granite terraced range of the early 1830’s. The name has not changed since its time as a restaurant in 1870, when it was owned by George Watson, the same surname as the present licensee but no relation. For over 30 years the premises operated as a “Restaurant & Dining Rooms”, complete with a “Billiard Saloon” and “Electric Light”. Sometime after the turn of the century the premises were converted to a pub and were acquired by Mr John Innes in 1925.
Shortly thereafter the pub was refurbished to its present form under the local architects Jenkins & Marr. They took the opportunity to remodel the pub and include the unusual oxidised-bronze fascia panels and scroll work on the exterior. The interior was panelled in mahogany veneer, with a finely-carved back gantry and clock, all done by Mr G Fordyce of Archibalds. The outstanding oval-shaped moulded plasterwork was done by plasterers A Watt and R McGilvery, and their apprentice J McHattie. The long mahogany bar counter had to be manhandled in through the Langstane Place windows after stopping the traffic on Crown Street as it made its way up Windmill Brae. The back windows actually had to be removed twice to make way for the counter because the first attempt resulted in the counter being the wrong way round!
When the pub reopened after the 7-month long refurbishment, John Innes hung a sign in the window which said “ No Ladies, Please”. For nearly 50 years this remained the policy, despite an invasion by female delegates attending the Scottish Trades Union Congress at the Music Hall in April 1973. This demonstration made front page headlines in the national press and the police had to be called to disperse the thirsty ladies!
It wasn't until December 1975 that women were officially served in The Grill, following the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975. This was followed sometime after by the construction of a ladies toilet in 1998.