Pub of the Month: The Last Drop, Edinburgh – Mystery Guides
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Pub of the Month: The Last Drop, Edinburgh

This pub features in the Edinburgh mystery guide - and its name holds the key to its grisly past...

Image of the front of The Last Drop pub

If you’re enjoying a pint in The Last Drop, after clue number 4 in our Edinburgh Mystery Guide, you’ll be able to see tourists, shoppers, maybe even street performers in the Grassmarket.

But in the eighteenth century, your view would have been very different…

The Grassmarket was home to Edinburgh’s main gallows, with thousands of people flocking to see condemned criminals meet their fate. Rumour has it that men would have one last whisky, referred to as ‘one for the road’, before being marched to the square outside for their drop on the gallows!

Image of the execution of William Burke

Many famous criminals faced their last drop on Edinburgh’s gallows, including the notorious grave robbers Burke and Hare. But have you heard of the Scottish rebels who came to a grisly end at the Grassmarket in the seventeenth century? They were known as The Covenanters, and one hundred of them met their fate on the Grassmarket's gallows.

Who Were the Covenanters?

The seventeenth century saw huge turmoil in the Britain Isles - including the Gunpowder Plot, the Civil War, and the Great Fire of London. Into this chaos came the Covenanters - a group of Scottish rebels who resisted the involvement of the English Crown in the Church of Scotland.

The Covenanters spent decades fighting for their cause before the rebellion was eventually quashed. The surviving Covenanters were imprisoned in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, in what became known as the Covenanters’ Prison, before being executed or deported. They were subjected to horrific treatment by one particular guard – George Mackenzie – or “Bloody Mackenzie” as he was known.

Bloody Mackenzie is said to haunt Greyfriars Kirkyard to this day…if you ever go there after dark – watch out, he has been known to leave visitors with unexplained bruises!

Image of the Covenanters

Haunted Happenings

Mackenzie may be a decidedly unfriendly ghost, but did you know The Last Drop is thought to be home to a more playful spirit? The pub is reported to be home to the ghost of a young girl, who often plays pranks on visitors and staff.

Next time you visit – keep a tight hold of your drink, or she might spill your last drop!

The Last Drop is just one of three amazing pubs featured in our Edinburgh Mystery Guide! Learning about their fascinating stories is all part of the Mystery Guide experience - whilst you enjoy a few well earned pints!