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The Caley Picture House


JDW Free House


The grade B listed auditorium located in central Edinburgh first opened its doors as ‘The Caley Picture House’ on January 1st 1923 and continued to be used as a cinema up until 1984.  At this time it was re-named the ‘Caley Palais’, a live music venue, with proceeding names including ‘Revolution’ and ‘Century 2000’. During this time it hosted musical greats such as David Bowie, AC/DC, Queen, The Smiths and New Order.


After standing unoccupied for a number of years, its art deco roots were restored and it operated as ‘The Picture House’ from 2008 up until December 2013.

JD Wetherspoon subsequently purchased and fully refurbished the building, opening as ‘The Caley Picture House’ in December 2016.


The design intention was to restore and showcase selected original design features, whilst simultaneously creating a contemporary interpretation of a vintage, art deco theatre and cinema.

Two symmetrical, open staircases lead to the upper mezzanine level where further seating options are available overlooking the main stage. Further up again is a smaller, secondary bar that reflects the same design details of the main bar. From this viewpoint the expansive, curvaceous and acoustically influenced ceiling form can be fully appreciated. A variety of light fittings have been used to create intimate pockets within the otherwise cavernous dining spaces. These include trumpet shaped pendants, reminiscent of vintage gramophones and diamond wire cage lamps as contemporary homages to art deco design ideals.

The scheme won the 2017 Northern Design Award in the Restaurant & Bar £250k-£750k category.



Dec 2016

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