The Whistle Stop Barber Shop is confused. Is it a vintage hairdressers or an American diner? This place screams identity crisis. Inspired loosely by American culture, Whistle Stop features elements of a baseball themed Harlem store, the metallic design of a Brooklyn loft and – imitating Panda & Sons – an old-fashioned barber shop filled with leather upholstered barber chairs, straight razors and oversized scissors. Perhaps this place is trying to be too many things for too many people, but the truth is, this mishmash décor does not ruin a superb meal.
Since the new menu launch on Monday 29 February, Whistle Stop have been serving up juicy, homemade Scottish beef burgers with a 20 per cent student discount. Now if that is not tempting, I do not know what is! These mouth-watering feasts come in the form of two medium rare 4oz burger patties, piled high with the likes of brisket Sloppy Joe, smoky bacon crisps and chilli cheese. Cutting the mince in half allows speedy service, ensuring that these succulent burgers are oozing down your sleeve as quickly as possible.
Talk about Whistle Stop by name, whistle stop by nature. The menu also boasts the unexpected combo of Chicken & Waffles: fresh griddled waffles topped with buttermilk chicken, doused in maple syrup, plus some scrumptious sides – the creamy Mac ‘N’ Cheese and gravy-smothered poutine were particular favourites. You can also sample Whistle Stop’s goodies at ECFS, as their American-style canapés will be circling the crowds, catering for this year’s Urban Conscious theme.
The restaurant offers a casual dining experience with large comfy booths encouraging socialising, but the real fun is downstairs where Edinburgh’s renowned Boombarbers offer free snips whilst you sip away, on a Friday and Saturday. A delicious meal AND a free haircut, now that’s what I’m talking about!
This relaxed atmosphere is complemented by hip-hop, funk, soul and Motown tunes or live DJs on the weekends, welcoming everyone to chill until their 1am close. The bartender’s friendly chat and well-made alcoholic concoctions entice you to stay for as long as possible; not least, the live screenings of rugby and the Super Bowl keep you firmly positioned on the edge of your seat.
I do not know about you, but I know where I’ll be watching the Six Nations next weekend.
Image: Ailidh Forlan