grass market Edinburgh pub

3 Edinburgh pubs in the grass market and what you probably don’t know about them

So many pubs and so little time!

On one of my more recent journey’s I decided to go and check out Edinburgh Scotland. Let me tell you that if you have not been to Edinburgh you have to go! I absolutely loved my time there and it became one of my favorite travel destinations. I stayed in the old town in the grass market which has a ton of history attached to it as well a great place to grab a few pints at the local pub. Three of these pubs in particular all have some very interesting stories attached to their history that I cannot help but share. Enjoy!

1. Maggie Dickson’s Pub and Restuarant

Maggie Dicksons Grass Market Edinburgh

Eating might save your life like it did for Maggie Dickson!

In the early 1700’s there lived a women named Maggie Dickson who if it wasn’t for her drama filled life she would have never had been mentioned in the history. The story begins with her husband leaving Edinburgh never to return which forced her to fend for herself. As a result she managed to land a job for an inn keeper in exchange for room and board which in those days you would be lucky to have. As her luck started to pick up so did her love life. Maggie began to have an affair with the inn keepers son and ended up getting pregnant. Now because in the eyes of God she was technically married having the child would have definitely costed her the job at the inn. In fact losing her job would have been the least of her worries as she would be a social outcast and would not be accepted by any of her peers. So as a result Maggie concealed the pregnancy for as long as possible. She succeeded at doing this and the baby was born but then unfortunately died a few day later. Maggie then decided to discard the baby in the river tweed but within the same day the baby was discovered and traced back to Maggie. This was a crime that was punishable by hanging at the time and that is exactly what happened. Now this is where the story gets interesting, like it hasn’t already, while being transported in her coffin after her hanging in the grass market the workers heard a knock on the coffin. To their surprise they open it and Maggie is alive! How could this be? Some people say it is because she knew the rope maker and had him make a faulty rope. My favorite version is that when Maggie discovered she was pregnant she started to binge eat to get fat in order to conceal the pregnancy and when they hung her the neck fat prevented her from being properly hung. Either way, because the law at the time was that you can only be hung for any crime once, Maggie was set free and went back to work for the inn keeper. The towns people even gave her the nickname ‘Half Hangit’ Maggie. The inn was then named after her and remains there to this day as a pub/restuarant.

2. The Last Drop Tavern

The last drop grass market Edingburgh


One more drink never hurt anyone! Well maybe in this case .

The grass market was one of the main locations public hangings that took place in Edinburgh. ‘Half Hangit’ Maggie herself was hung here. The Last drop is located directly across from where the Gallows would have been and in fact there is plaque that can be seen that list the names of some of the people hung there. Now back in these harsher times part of your last rite if you were to be hanged was that you get to have one last pint. The Last Drop was of course where this happened and was so rightly named quite well I think. Imagine going in for your last pint and the bartender asks you how your day is going? Awkward right. Just imagine how many people sat in there and had there finally goodbye to the world. The pub itself in modern times is now themed with “hanging” in mind and has a lot of cool murals that reflect the days of public hangings.

3. The Wee Pub – The Smallest Pub in Scotland

Smallest Pub in Scotland, Grass Market Edinburgh

You gotta go get a pint here, that is if you can get in?

The Wee pub claims to be the smallest pub in Scotland and trust me it is exactly that. The pub is only 17′ by 14′ or only three barmaids wide. It can only accommodate 20 people at a time and is fairly cramped once it reaches the capacity. This is a newer pub in the grass market but I think it took the best approach possible. In its creation it already has an amazing origin story for itself and is already known all over the Scotland as the smallest pub in Scotland. It is in my opinion very deserving of its place in the grass market and will have its place in history with all the other great pubs in the area.

So there you have it! Three pubs three stories. Now go to Edinburgh and learn the stories behind one of the many other pubs to choose from in Edinburgh!

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2 comments

    • Kevin
      Author

      Yeah it is quite the little place and a definite place for good times.

      Thanks for your comment.