If you stand on Princes Street and look up at the majestic, architectural skyline of the Old Town, it is indeed a city of churches and cathedrals with dozens of slender, tall spires reaching up to the heavens.
The tallest spire – an incredible 240 feet - towers above the former Highland Tolbooth St. John Church, at the foot of Castlehill. Built between 1842 and 1845 as the Victoria Hall for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, it was later re-named the Highland Tolbooth, before falling into disuse in the 1980s.
In 1999, the building underwent a transformation to create offices, box office and performance space for the Edinburgh International Festival. The building combines contemporary design and classic Victorian architecture. It’s a perfect central location for the EIF box office, theatre and music events in the heart of the Old Town. Outwith the Festival, the venue is used for weddings, conferences, private and corporate receptions around the Main Hall, Gallery, Dunard Library and Cafe.
Café Hub also has a spacious outdoor patio and in August it's popular with Festival goers, locals and tourists making their way to and from Fringe venues, the Castle, Camera Obscura, souvenir and knitwear shops up and down the Royal Mile.
Just before the Festival season 2018 kicks off again, a new Gin Terrace has opened at Café Hub which is sure to be an enticing Pop Up alfresco Bar for a refreshing Gin and tonic or cool Cocktails. The Terrace is a perfect sunspot and prime site for people watching on the cross roads of Castle Hill, Johnstone Terrace and Lawnmarket which buzzes day and night.
After dashing around galleries and theatres or touring the famous historic sites from Castle to Palace all day, culture vultures all need a re-fueling pitstop. Cafe Hub is open for Breakfast, Sunday Brunch, morning coffee and cake, flowing on to light Lunch dishes: speciality Hubmade soup, sandwiches and salads, and then classic Afternoon Tea with scones and an optional glass of Prosecco.
The summer and Festival menu offers hearty Sharing Platters (for carnivores only), with a choice of Charcuterie, Scotch Eggs and Pastrami with Artisan bread. Vegetarians can sample delicious, Greek-style, Mezze Salads - Hummus, Beetroot, Tomatoes, Olives, Feta, Green Leaves or Hummus , Moroccan Chickpeas, Tomato, Feta, Green Leaves, both served with Pitta bread.
The Head Chef, Denis Zominy, has perhaps been inspired by the international spirit which will colour the city through August and has created a diverse selection of global Street Food such as Thai Coconut Curry, Mexican chilli beef, mini beef burgers, Southern chicken baguettes, and of course, the most traditional street snack of them all, Italian Pizza.
And, of course, to drink it has to be the locally distilled, fresh tasting Edinburgh Gin or Raspberry EG Gin liqueur with Fever Tree tonic, alongside other bar drinks, Scotch whiskies, wines, beers and soft drinks. As you relax at Cafe Hub, browse through the EIF programme and book a few tickets at the box office here, to plan an inspiring time around Festival city.
A highlight of the EIF Theatre programme is a revival of 'Midsummer' by David Grieg, a bittersweet, romantic comedy with live music, being performed at The Hub, 2 – 26 August, (various times).
Open from 10am until early evening, the Gin Terrace will be a real Festival hub for a pre/post theatre, sparkling G & T and a feast of good food.
Cafe Hub, The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE
Tel: 0131 473 2067