Tollcross is one of Edinburgh’s busiest areas, with plenty of cosy pubs and bustling clubs, cool places to eat and endless sources of entertainment.
If you live, work or play in Tollcross, you’ll definitely be able to relate to these quirks unique to the neighbourhood.
1. Little Fox Deli does the best sandwiches
— Mike Dow (@MikeDowPhoto) March 24, 2016
Little Fox Deli is pretty new on the scene but they’ve quickly become a local favourite for the best (and cheapest) sandwiches in Tollcross. There aren’t many places in central Edinburgh where you can pick up a tasty artisan sandwich, a drink, a homemade cake and still get change from a fiver.
2. You have to go to The Blackbird when it’s sunny
As soon as there’s a hint of sunshine, all Tollcross locals will flock to The Blackbird’s beer garden. Their sun-trap is tucked round the back of the bar, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy some cocktails on a summer’s day.
3. We all love the Tollcross clock
— Swivel Eyed Broon (@Mr_Mark_Brown) March 29, 2014
The Tollcross clock has been much-loved by local residents for generations. The distinctive ironwork pillar clock dates back to the early 20th century, but road improvements in the 1970s caused the clock to be removed. Due to public pressure, however, it was soon returned to a spot close to its original position.
4. Expect to be woken up at 3am on Sunday by Cav-goers
You’ll be used to being woken up at 3am on Sunday night/Monday morning with the sound of noisy party-goers heading home. You’ll be confused for a second, before remembering Sunday is ‘Cav night’ and promptly going back to sleep.
5. Cav used to be a roller disco
CAV as a roller disco in the 70s pic.twitter.com/Ap27zTUXFu
— kevin (@RootlessDiamond) March 5, 2013
Speaking of Cav, did you know it used to be a roller disco? Residents of a certain age will remember it as Coasters, and more recently it has been known as The Network, The Cavendish and Lava Ignite.
6. Passorn does the best Thai food
There are plenty of great restaurants in Tollcross, but one of the best is Thai restaurant, Passorn. Perfect for a pre-theatre meal or a weekend treat, their signature ‘Angel Curry’ is worth leaving your flat for.
7. The King’s Theatre used to be a brewery
The King’s Theatre has been a Tollcross institution since 1906, but – believe it or not – it was built on the site of an old brewery. The Drumdryan Brewery was demolished in 1903 to make way for King’s, one of Edinburgh’s most famous theatres.
8. The name doesn’t originate from the junction
Contrary to popular belief, the name Tollcross doesn’t actually refer to the big road junction at High Riggs. There are several theories about where the name originated from, but it’s likely to relate to the junction at Main Point instead.
9. There used to be a tram depot here
Facebook / Lost Edinburgh
Although the trams no longer extend up Lothian Road, in days gone by one of Edinburgh’s biggest tram depots was located in Tollcross, serving the whole south side of the city. It was converted into a bus station at one point, and is now a fully-functioning fire station.
10. Concorde is more than just a chip shop
If you’ve ever popped in to Concorde for some post-pub chips and cheese, you’ll probably have noticed they have an interesting selection of groceries as well as the usual chippy menu. If you ever need some American candy, a box of Cocoa Pops or a packet of noodles at 2am, Concorde is the place to go.
11. You can pull an all-nighter at the Cameo
If you fancy pulling an all-nighter, the Cameo Cinema is the place to do it. They regularly show classic movies, put on special screenings of old favourites and hold all-night movie marathons to keep film buffs entertained.
12. We have the best bus stop in Edinburgh
And outside the Cameo you’ll also find the best bus stop in Edinburgh. Shelter from the rain in the Cameo’s lobby, peruse the latest movie releases and enjoy the scent of freshly popped popcorn whilst you wait for the number 16 into town. Now that’s luxury.
13. The Odeon has an interesting history
Facebook / Lost Edinburgh
First opening as the Regal Cinema in 1938, the current Odeon building later became the ABC and hosted numerous famous acts including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Then in 1969 it became the first ever multi-screen theatre in Europe.
Although the original auditorium has since been demolished, the Odeon still remains there due to a contractual agreement which says a cinema must forever be included in any future developments on the site.
14. You can take part in a chilli cook-off
Fab afternoon at Lupe Pintos Chilli Cook Off… Tried all of them (except ventoux who ran out!)… Golf Tavern FTW! pic.twitter.com/S5xQQYvb
— Nicola Osborne (@suchprettyeyes) October 20, 2012
Tollcross is home to Edinburgh’s great annual Chilli Cook-Off, organised by popular Mexican deli Lupe Pintos. Once a year, local bars and restaurants cook up their tastiest chilli in a bid to be crowned chilli champion of the year – it would be rude not to sample them all, right?
15. Goldbergs is legendary
Facebook / Edinburgh Places and People
If you were a Tollcross resident in the 1960s and 1970s, you’ll no doubt remember the legendary Goldbergs Department Store well. Not only did the store have all the latest fashions and homewares, it also had a rooftop cafe with views of the Castle and a garden menagerie full of exotic birds. Sadly it was demolished in the 1990s to make way for modern flats and offices.
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Main image: Fr Lawrence Lew O.P. / Flickr / CC