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One of the most enjoyable touristy distractions in Edinburgh is the literary pub tour. Chief among its stop-off points is the New Town’s Oxford Bar – the backstreet home to Ian Rankin’s fictional
detective Inspector Rebus, and an old-school boozer where Rankin himself has sunk a fair few pints. Consequently, it’s become a Mecca for Rebus fans – although they might be mildly fazed by the
pub’s pokey, dingy surrounds and rather tatty looks. Located just down the road from the equally idiosyncratic Cambridge Bar, the Ox (as it’s known) is packed with sightseers, literary wannabes,
top businessmen and judges in mufti, all presided over by owner John Gates – immortalised in the Rebus novels as Harry Curran, ‘the grumpiest barman in the world’. On the plus side, the three
Scottish cask beers (including local Caledonian 80/-) and various drams are commendably good value.
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