Looking for the best bars in Edinburgh? Explore our favourite bars and pubs. You are sure to find something which will tantalise your tastebuds.
Below we have listed a mere snapshot of just some of the best bars in Edinburgh covering a mix of Edinburgh institutions and new kids on the block. Here’s a starter for ten…
City Centre Bars
Recently nominated for an award in this year's Spirited Awards, the most prestigious competition in the global drinks industry calendar, The Bon Vivant (Thistle St) is the FIRST Scottish restaurant bar to ever be nominated for an award, in the comp's seven year history.
With an ever-changing cocktail list, a broad and accessible champagne list, a comprehensive wine list and a gantry stocked full of classic and rare spirits, it's easy to see why.
The Bon Vivant takes a unique approach to its wine list by offering all 44 wines by the 175ml glass, 500ml carafe or by the bottle. They also conduct blind tastings with customers, promoting smaller boutique wines and more unheard of varieties. Definitely worth a visit.
Located on Edinburgh’s iconic Rose Street, The Abbotsford is very much an Edinburgh classic. The bar’s vintage Island Bar is very much at the heart of the bustling atmosphere on offer, not to mention the fantastic range of Scottish cask ales, the finest malt whisky and imported beers. If you fancy a traditional Edinburgh bar, look no further.
A newcomer to Edinburgh’s burgeoning bar scene, Panda & Sons is the quirkiest thing to arrive in the capital. Under the guidance of award-winning bartender Iain McPherson, this prohibition style speakeasy fused with vintage barber shop offers some of the most innovative cocktails in town.
Just around the corner from The Usher Hall on Lothian Road you'll find the Red Squirrel - a relaxed kind of place that has a fantastic selection of craft beers on draft and a belly-busting burger menu. This place gets busy on a Friday evenings, as it's a popular haunt for West End workers who want to kick-start their weekend.
West End Bars
Occupying the former premises of Cubanorte on Morrison Street, The Priory Bar and Kitchen offers a nice balance between George Street chic and trendy chilled surrounds. Offering the perfect location for a post work escape, enjoy a generous selection of fine spirits and craft beers or if you’re feeling adventurous, get involved in the medicinal-themed cocktail menu, it’s all a bit Blumenthal.
Tucked under the street level of Melville Place is the fun exotic bar/restaurant 52 Canoes. If you ever fancy a slice of sunshine in Edinburgh, this is the place to go. With an expansive range of tropical cocktails, a quirky beachside-esqe interior and a mouthwatering food menu, 52 Canoes is a great relaxed spot that's perfect for an impromptu gathering with friends.
Every inch an Edinburgh classic, offering a skilful balance between historic features and contemporary class, it’s little wonder Whighams has been around since 1983. Located just off Charlotte Square, on the site of early 19th century cellars and offering a notable selection of wines, champagnes and real ales, served in authentic and relaxing surroundings. This Edinburgh bar is a favourite with the locals.
Old Town & Grassmarket Bars
The Devil’s Advocate is a cosy but stylish bar tucked away on 9 Advocate’s Close. This bar and restaurant focuses on serving up the best local and seasonal produce, with more than a splash of whisky on the menu (over 100 in fact).
Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s old town, this bar is anything but old-fashioned. The styling is industrial featuring exposed brick and stainless steel but fret not, the atmosphere is warm and lively as residents and visitors flock to sample the now world renowned, headline grabbing beer. Perhaps unsurprisingly the beer offering is vast and not just from the brand itself, which can be sampled in a range of measures.
"Purveyors of fine ales and spirits. Home of world renowned folk music." – The line above the door sums up what Sandy Bell’s is all about admirably. The bar, which is located on Forest Road is small but what it lacks in square footage it makes up for in character. Sandy Bell’s is held in high esteem by residents, students, visitors, generally all walks of life as it’s best known not only for excellent ales and spirits but for its live folk music, which comes in many forms every night (twice on a Sunday) of the week.
Coming to you from the same very talented people who brought us Bramble and Lucky Liquor Co., The Last Word on St. Stephen’s Street combines effortless cool and quirky style (think paraffin lamps and taxidermy) with its slightly hidden away charm. Like it’s sister venues, the cocktails are hugely impressive but The Last Word also provide an extensive selection of small batch spirits, wines and craft beers whilst also experimenting with techniques and ingredients to create truly unique mixers, Syrups and bitters, which are all made in-house.
Hector’s on Deanhaugh Street describes itself as ‘an eclectic mix of upbeat city pub and warm, friendly village local’ and who are we to disagree? The bar is a firm, established favourite with locals be it for a post work pint or a relaxed Sunday thirst-quencher. Ales, craft beers, ciders or homemade house tipples – Hectors have something for everyone (and their dug).
Sitting on the corner of St Stephen’s Street and North West Circus Place, The Bailie Bar is every bit a part of the Stockbridge community as its cobbled streets. The cosy, traditional basement bar is the location of many local events from weekly quiz nights to the infamous annual duck race (!). This hub of community activity paired with a very fine selection of Scottish cask ales and an open fire makes for a very fine choice.
Leith & Broughton Bars
The Street can be found nestled on the corner of the ever bustling Broughton Street and Picardy Place, its home for over nine years now. The impressive floor to ceiling windows which front the bar offer the perfect people watching opportunity by day and help create the party atmosphere by night. The Street is as strong an option for an afternoon coffee as it is for a Friday night party and caterers for all.
Located on Leith Walk, Boda was the first bar to be setup from husband and wife Anna and Mike Christopherson who now own a raft of Swedish themed bars included Hemma, Joeseph Pearce's, Sofi's and Victoria. Boda epitomizes the ethos of all bars in that it is designed as a destination bar, with the local community at its centre. As well as offering a range of premium spirits, beers and ciders the bar regularly holds diverse events such as; jogging clubs, knitting, baking, clothes swaps to encourage locals to patronize throughout week.
This cosy landmark bar can be found on Bernard Street at The Shore. The bar is famous for its history (the oldest unaltered one in Leith, dating back to 1785) as it is for its steak pies (they sell out quickly!). Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon pint or a lively music session of a weekend – The Carriers Quarters is perfectly unpretentious and as traditional as they come.
[Photo: Craig Young]
Take a look at our round up of the best bars in Edinburgh to watch the Rugby
Read our guide to the Top 10 Best Whisky Bars in Edinburgh
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This is Edinburgh: Helping you make the most of the best bars in Edinburgh.