Hope for reopening

Closed museum restaurant draws new interest

Rooftop views from the museum restaurant

One of Edinburgh’s top restaurants, the Tower at the National Museum of Scotland, which closed last year due to the lockdown, has seen a rise in interest from potential operators as restrictions ease.

The museum has applied to extend the use of its existing outdoor terrace area to almost double the size, in response to demand for more socially distanced external space. A closing date for tenders has now been set to 21 May. 

Paul Shiells from the licensed & leisure team at Colliers, said: “This week’s move to Level 3 is a significant step in the right direction for the hospitality sector.

“With the venue at The National Museum of Scotland hoping to offer a greater scope for external space, the rooftop terrace area will provide a greater flexibility for future operators, by adding more covers and outside areas.”

The Tower Restaurant shut last summer amid concern that the two-metre rule would not make it financially viable.

Proprietor James Thomson said at the time: “The Tower was the first rooftop restaurant in Edinburgh and quickly gained a worldwide reputation for great food and service which has stayed with us down the years.

“Covid-19 presents us with some insurmountable difficulties and, with our lease coming to an end anyway, we’ve had to take the decision not to reopen.”

The National Museum of Scotland, located on Chambers Street in the historic Old Town, attracted about 2.2. million visitors in 2019.

It is close to several Edinburgh landmarks, including Greyfriars Bobby statue and Greyfriars Kirk, the National Library of Scotland, University of Edinburgh and St Giles’ Cathedral.

Located on the fifth floor, the new lease offers 183 square metres of indoor restaurant and bar space, and 202 square metres of outside terrace – subject to approval by City of Edinburgh Licensing Board.

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