Below are a few Frequently Asked Questions which will hopefully cover most of your queries. If you have any specific requirements, or wish to talk to us about your event, please contact us.

How much does it cost to hire the Counting House?

To be sure we are giving our clients the best pricing structure regarding their event we ask you to contact us for booking and pricing information.

An average minimum week night hire ranges from £100 – £225

An average minimum weekend night hire ranges from £150 – £400

This pricing structure is correct as of June 2009 and is a representative of a basic hire package.


Do you offer any catering facilities?

We offer a range of buffets and other meal types to suit all requirements,  from finger food to formal dinners and banquets, we can cater for any occasion. Alternatively customers are welcome to make their own arrangements and we will provide cutlery, tablecloths and crockery, as well as organising the setting up and removal of your meal, for an additional fee.  Unfortunately patrons are not allowed to use our kitchen facilities themselves due to current restrictions in the law. 

Sample buffet menus can be found here: Buffet Menu


What sorts of drinks are available?

The Counting House has a fully self-contained, professionally staffed bar with a variety of beers on draught as well as a comprehensive selection of spirits, bottled ales and wines.  Should customers have any specific requests for the bar we are happy to make arrangements for these to be available, we just need two weeks notice prior to the function.  Wine and champagne receptions are also welcome, and though we do allow clients (sorry not guests) to bring their own alcohol for this purpose (corkage is £3 for wine and £5 for champagne); we can offer a bulk buying discount for pre-paid wine please speak to a member of management for details.


Are children allowed on the premises?

Children/Young persons are very welcome provided each person under the age of 18 is accompanied by two responsible adults over the age of 25.  Minors are not allowed alcohol on the premises and failure to abide by this rule may result in the cancellation of your function.

As noted above two thirds of any function must be made up of adults above the age of 25.


What time can functions run until?

The standard hire charge books the suite from 8pm until 12am with access from an hour before start.  This can be extended for £25 per hour so that the function begins earlier, ends later, or both.  The Counting House is licensed until 1am, and we are therefore unable to have functions running any later.


How, where and when should we pay?

We accept cash, cheques and card payments and all enquiries of this nature should be made within the Pear Tree House next door to the Counting House.  Once you’ve registered your interest in a particular date, we require the basic hire charge to secure it.  We ask that all remaining monies are paid at least two weeks before your function date.


Are we allowed to decorate the venue?

Decorations are very welcome and we are happy to put you in contact with party shops that can help you with this.  Access to the suite is usually one hour before the start time but if cakes or balloons need to be dropped off earlier in the day then this is fine as well. (Please note there are no refrigeration facilities for food on the premises) We ask that pins and other items which will damage the walls are not used when putting up banners etc however.


On which days can the Counting House be hired? What is the capacity?

The Counting House is available for hire Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  The capacity for the suite is 249 or 80 for sit down meals and banquets.


What are our options for music?

We are happy to put you in touch with one of our professional in-house DJs or a ceilidh band for your function and you are of course welcome to use your own, though customers should remember that bands will need to bring all their own equipment.  If you would like to bring along an iPod, CD, laptop or other music player for a disco or just for background music then we have a full sound system available for hire which boasts turntables and dual CD trays and is suitable for DJs as well.

Because the Counting House is in a residential area, we are required by law to have a noise restrictor on the premises. 


We’d like to show a movie/slideshow during our function, is this possible?

Of course!  We have a projector with big screen available for hire which our management team will be available to help connect up to your laptop or video player.  Also available are radio mics, should they be required.  For a full list of equipment we have for hire, click here: Equipment List


Is there disabled access?

The Counting House is part of a listed building and as such we regret that are unable to offer disabled access arrangements.  Customers should be aware that the venue is reached via a stairway with which some elderly patrons may require assistance.


How do we get to the Counting House?

The Counting House is located on West Nicolson Street, off Nicolson Street and one minute from the picturesque George Square Gardens.  A map can be found here: Counting House Map

Depending on your mode of transport, please follow the instructions below:


  • From the airport – take the Airport Express bus to Waverley Bridge and then walk up Cockburn Street to the Royal Mile.  Then walk five minutes south along South Bridge.  West Nicolson Street is on the right just past the Festival Theatre.
  • From the train station – Take the train to Edinburgh Waverley and then exit onto Waverley Bridge, taking the same route as described above (10mins).
  • From the bus station – after getting off at the Edinburgh Bus Station, head to adjacent St Andrews Square and head south to Princes Street.  From there turn off onto Waverley Bridge and take the above route (20mins) 


Lothian Buses numbers 48, 3, 31, 33, 30, 8, 29, 37, 47, 5, 7,l 14, 49 all stop near to The Counting House, please click here for a full list of services and timetables.


Are there parking facilities available?

Due to the Counting House’s city centre location, parking facilities in the area are at a premium.  West Nicolson Street and the nearby George Square and Buccleuch Place are patrolled Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6.30 pm and are metered on Saturday.  There are a number of car parks in the area, notably Nicolson Square (£2.50 upwards) and St Leonards (£1.70 upwards).