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The 'Harry Potter' author is being honored with a month-long tribute at a bar that usually sports the name of fellow writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Abbey White
January 02, 2018

A Scottish pub named in honor of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famed mystery writer and author of the Sherlock Holmes novels, has gotten a magical makeover in honor of J.K. Rowling.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle delivered to readers one of literature’s most famous detectives, a character who also shared Doyle’s avid passion for alcohol. In addition to their iconic status in the world of publishing and Doyle’s relatively close birthplace, their enduring love of spirits helped make both men the inspiration behind a Scottish pub known as The Conan Doyle (71-73 York Place, Edinburgh, UK). A beloved local hangout situated across the street from a life-size bronze statue of Holmes, the pub is getting a bit of a facelift—in both namesake and exterior—thanks to a nearly month-long literary celebration.

As part of Edinburgh's 2018 Hogmanay celebration, which honors the New Year, attendees are encouraged to commemorate the area’s literary history through "Message from the Skies." Running from the first of the month to January 25th, this interactive short story installation incorporates projections across a handful of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings, letting you walk the city as you listen to the stories of some of Scotland's best-known writers. This year The Conan Doyle is participating, and its influential local literary figure is Rowling, the woman who wrote her best-selling series about a powerful boy wizard at The Elephant House, located around a mile from the pub.

The pub’s participation has resulted in some cosmetic changes, which initially sparked some controversy among the locals who revere the Doyle-themed establishment.

Changes have included modifying the name to “The J.K. Rowling” and altering the pub’s hanging sign from a rendering of mustached Doyle to that of the Harry Potter author sitting at a table eating pub food.

For those who love Doyle just a bit more than they love Rowling, no fear. The pub theme will revert to its original Sherlockian origins at the end of the month. In the meantime, those in the area interested in stopping by the pub (or even those willing to use a little floo powder to get there from across the ocean) can download the .event app and join the nightly tours, which runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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