‘Harry Potter café’ to reopen three years after Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge fire

An Edinburgh cafe where JK Rowling wrote parts of her Harry Potter books is set to reopen three years after a devastating fire.

'Harry Potter café' to reopen three years after Edinburgh's George IV Bridge fire
‘Harry Potter café’ to reopen three years after Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge fire

The Elephant House cafe was one of several properties badly damaged in a blaze on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh in August 2021.

Its reopening has been delayed because the building’s owner went into liquidation.

Cafe owner David Taylor said he hoped to reopen by summer 2024.

He cannot proceed with the work until the structure of the central Edinburgh block has been made safe – something that has been hindered by the landlord going into liquidation shortly after the fire.

Mr Taylor told BBC Scotland the refurbishment would cost about £1m with work starting soon.

He said: “I’m feeling unimaginable relief. If the liquidator is as good as their word then the renovations can happen quite quickly once the structural work has been completed.

'Harry Potter café' to reopen three years after Edinburgh's George IV Bridge fire
‘Harry Potter café’ to reopen three years after Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge fire

“We are talking late spring early summer for its reopening.

“It has been a terrible few years and I could have walked away with the insurance money but I would never have done that as I want to see it thriving again.

“I would always stand by my cafe.”

Mr Taylor, who has owned the cafe for 28 years, has now opened a second Elephant House around the corner in Victoria Street selling Butterbeer – the drink Harry Potter enjoys in JK Rowling’s books.

The new cafe looks down into Victoria Street – considered by fans to be the inspiration for Rowling’s Diagon Alley.

'Harry Potter café' to reopen three years after Edinburgh's George IV Bridge fire
‘Harry Potter café’ to reopen three years after Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge fire

The table JK Rowling used to lean on to write part of her books was salvaged from the fire and restored. It is currently in the new Elephant House in Victoria Street, which opened earlier this week.

The table will be moved back to the original cafe in George IV Bridge when it reopens next year.

Mr Taylor has also launched The Elephant Cafe International franchise with Andrew McRae, owner of the Museum Context retail chain – the seller of officially licensed Harry Potter merchandise.

They are opening up a franchise in Manilla in February where JK Rowling’s table will be for one month.

They are also looking at other franchises in Asia.

Mr McRae is joint owner of the new Elephant House in Victoria Street, which is just a few doors along from a branch of Museum Context.

'Harry Potter café' to reopen three years after Edinburgh's George IV Bridge fire
‘Harry Potter café’ to reopen three years after Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge fire

Currently Mr Taylor has metal scaffolding holding up the ceiling of his cafe, which was put in as an emergency and temporary measure by City of Edinburgh Council.

It is believed the fire started in the Patisserie Valerie cafe – which also has a basement that runs underneath The Elephant House.

It is understood Patisserie Valerie will not reopen in the property.

The Elephant House was one of two used regularly by Rowling when she was writing the stories of the boy wizard in the mid-90s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *