Stockbridge’s speakeasy bar, Skua celebrates first birthday with team promotions

Skua, tucked beneath St Stephen’s Street in Stockbridge, is celebrating its first birthday this month with some notable staff promotions. In just one year, Skua has garnered remarkable recognition, including listings in the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide and built an impressive team of talent.

An unassuming hangout, only the glowing neon sign hints at the hidden away  basement bar  which serves up small plates and cocktails using locally sourced and foraged ingredients. The stylish interior is stark, with colourful art, dark furnishings, soft candle light and a few more hints of neon.

As it enters its second year, James Aikman will assume the role of head chef, continuing to bring his expertise and creativity to the kitchen. Following his time at Michelin starred Timberyard, Aikman has spent the last year at Skua collaborating on the menu with owner Tomás Gormley.

Sinead Power will be stepping in to the general manager role as Katie Messer shifts focus to operations manager, overseeing Skua, Cardinal & Messer – ‘Messer’ being the team’s latest addition to St Stephen Street – Scotland’s first artisanal knife and kitchen supply store due to open this May. Having previously managed a handful of  Edinburgh restaurants, Katie is determined to help create and nurture a new generation of hospitality talent. 

Together, Katie and James have travelled widely and take inspiration from the ruin bars of Paris and New York blending welcoming service, daily menu changes and a relaxed atmosphere and hope to bring that to the city.

Taking full rein of the drinks menu, head bartender, Jacob Thunder will introduce a selection of inventive cocktails perfectly suited to complement Skua’s personality. Skua’s cocktail menu is taking a fully sustainable approach, like the food, preserving the best of Scotland’s natural larder for house-made liquors, syrups and fermentations. Jacob’s latest addition, a comically named ‘Paulie Walnuts’ highlights just that with house concocted Vermouth, Toasted Walnut infused Brandy and Maraschino Liqueur.

Wine available by the glass will be listed on a blackboard in chalk, with diners being encouraged to ask for recommendations from the team, who have curated an expansive collection of low intervention and natural wines from across the world. 

To accommodate its growing popularity, Skua will extend its service to six days a week, opening its doors from Monday to Saturday from 5:00pm to 10:00 pm, with drinks served until late into the evening. Bookings encouraged, walk-ins welcome. There’s also a trade discount for people working in food and drink of 10%.

Working closely with suppliers such as Free Co, Phantassie, Coure Sauvage and David Lowrie, this month, the menu will include:

Housemade Brioche Boule brushed with an Infused Lemon Thyme Brown Butter

Gougere with Fermented Ramson and Alp Blossom

Cured Trout with Taramasalata and Aji Amarillo 

Hen of the Woods Agnolotti with a Nettle Sauce and new season Spruce

Sustainably caught fish and regeneratively farmed pasture for life meat cooked over coals

To stay updated on more exciting announcements and developments in Skua’s second year, follow them on Instagram and visit the website, 

Skua, 49 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AH