As far as can be established the bailie, or the site of the Bailie, has been a bar since the 1870’s, in its previous incarnation the Bailie was known as the Grand Bar. The Grand bar was very much a working mans “Spit and Sawdust” bar, as were the majority of bars in Stockbridge. It was also quite different in design to what the Bailie bar is now. There was no restaurant area as during that period no food would have been served. There was also a small “Snug” bar, commonly known as the “Jug” bar which was where women were allowed to drink! However unfortunately there were no female toilets in the bar!!
In 1971 the Grand Bar was bought by Hamish Henderson, some of who’s artwork can still be viewed in the Bailie, and it was Hamish who renamed the pub The Bailie, apparently after a theatre production that was on at the time and for which the advert for the production is still in the Bailie. Even up until this time there was no restaurant area. During this period Stockbridge was very different to what it is today. St Stephen Street was very dilapidated and there were plans to basically knock the street down and build new, this caused outrage with the many antique dealers and small business in the street that “legend” has it stopped this.
During the early 1980’s the Bailie bars current owners bought the pub from Hamish and made some substantial changes to it. The beer cellar was moved from inside to the outside of the Bar underneath the pavement into the previously unused cellars. The pub was more than doubled in size by buying the adjoining 2 basement properties. This extension now forms the restaurant / dining area, kitchen and toilets, obviously including a ladies toilet. The old gent’s
toilet handle is still existing in the place of the original toilet, however this can often cause confusion for our older regulars who have had one to many!!
Other than a few minor changes to the pub i.e. adding televisions, one of which is hidden into the wall behind a picture, Try and find it!!, some improvements to the outside to accommodate the smoking ban in 2006 and basic running repairs the bailie still remains the same today. There is no music, nor fruit machines and no Juke box. Banter and debate are encouraged around the large island bar and to this day there are still many regulars drinking in the bar who first started drinking it in the 1950’s and 60’s. There are also many of our existing regulars who are in a famous Photograph on the wall of the Bailie (right). This was taken in 1973 and which shows the bohemian characters that frequented the pub during the late 60’s and 70’s.