The ‘Harry Potter Cafe’ reopens three years after the George IV Bridge fire in Edinburgh

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

The Elephant House Cafe was one of several properties badly damaged by a fire on the George IV Bridge in Edinburgh in August 2021.

The reopening of the building was delayed because the building owner went into liquidation.

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

He couldn’t continue his work until the structure of Edinburgh’s central block was safe – something prevented by the homeowners going into liquidation in the immediate aftermath of the fire.


Taylor told BBC Scotland the renovations would cost around £1 million and work would start soon.

He said: “I feel an unimaginable sense of relief. If the liquidator keeps his word then renovations can be carried out quickly once the structural work is complete.

“We are talking about reopening in late spring and early summer.

“The last few years have been bad and I could have walked away with the insurance money, but I would never do that because I want to see it grow again.

“I will always stand in my cafe.”

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

The new cafe overlooks Victoria Street – thought by fans to be the inspiration for Rowling’s Diagon Alley.

The table where JK Rowling leaned to write part of her book was saved from a fire and restored. It is currently in the new Elephant House on Victoria Street, which opened earlier this week.

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

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

They opened a franchise in Manilla in February where JK Rowling’s desk will be for one month.

They are also looking at other franchises in Asia.

Mr McRae is the co-owner of the new Elephant House on Victoria Street, which is just a few doors down from the Context Museum branch.