7 of the Best Gin Bars in Edinburgh
29 April 2021
Edinburgh may be well known for whisky, but there's another drink speeding up the ranks and snapping at its heels - Gin.
Did you know - Scotland’s love affair with gin can be traced back to the 1700s and is largely associated with Leith. Discover more about this spirit's place in our city's past in our guide to The History of Gin in Edinburgh.
Today, the spirit is fast becoming one of our city's favourite tipples, and over the past couple of years gin bars have been popping up all over Edinburgh. You certainly won’t struggle to find a good gin bar in the city - here are some of our favourites:
[Image Source: 56 North Facebook]
No matter what level of “gin connoisseur” you are, 56 North will have something for you. Complete gin novice? Even though the range of over 350 gins might seem intimidating at first, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will be able to talk you through their selection and recommend something based on your tastes.
If you're keen to develop your gin knowledge, then why not try one of their tasting masterclasses, including Scottish gin and cheeses, where you’ll be taken through a journey of how gin is made, how to pair with great mixers and how to garnish your drinks.
The team have also started their own distillery in the bar, creating South Loch Gin. Covering botanicals, distilling, equipment and bottling, The Distillery Tasting & Cocktail Masterclass is ideal for anyone wanting to understand more about production as well as see a working gin still up close.
56 North (website) is at 2 West Crosscauseway, Edinburgh, EH8 9JP (Tel: 0131 662 8860)
Panda and Sons
[Image source: Panda & Sons Facebook]
Panda & Sons fuses the feel of a vintage barbershop with the atmosphere of a classic prohibition-era speakeasy. A well-stocked range of gins means you'll have plenty of reasons to come back and find a new favourite each time.
Opened in 2013, Panda & Sons revels in being ever so slightly under the radar, located on the corner of Queen Street and neatly tucked between an estate agent and newsagent with the frontage disguised as an old fashioned barbershop. The search is worth it for the atmosphere alone - though the gin is ample reward too.
Panda & Sons (website) is at 79 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4NF (Tel: 0131 220 0443)
The Royal Dick
[Image source: Summerhall]
This bar, nestled away in the belly of Summerhall, may not have the largest selection of gins from the bars in this list, but it is probably the only one that has gin on tap.
Being right next door to the Pickering’s Distillery, The Royal Dick is in the fortunate position which allows the gin to be piped in directly from the source.
If you fancy having a look around the distillery for yourself, you can book yourself in for a guided tour which are available by appointment.
Once a small animal hospital of the Dick Vet School, the bar's unusual setting makes for a quirky atmosphere to enjoy a drink, with a mixture of fittings from it's previous life and contemporary design.
The Royal Dick (website) is at 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL (Tel: 0131 560 1580)
Heads and Tales
[Image source: Heads and Tales]
If the Royal Dick puts you in the mood for nosing around more gin distilleries, then be sure to pay Heads and Tales a visit. This bar is also located where the famous Edinburgh Gin is made and takes advantage of that with a clever interior design, meaning patrons can watch the spirit being distilled as they drink it!
You can either choose to relax in one of the many cosy cubbyholes in the bar, or if you prefer to be a little more hands-on, you can have a bash at making your very own gin creation either with Head and Tales special “Gin it yourself” four step cocktail system or by distilling some of your very own Edinburgh Gin next door.
Heads and Tales (website) is at 1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2AD (Tel: 0131 656 2811)
One Square Bar & Brasserie
Located on a gorgeous terrace on Festival Square, One Square Bar & Brasserie at the Sheraton is the perfect place to enjoy a G&T while watching the world go by.
With an impressive collection of over 100 premium gins, the bar and restaurant also has it's has its own bespoke gin, One Square Gin, made at the Summerhall distillery in partnership with Pickering's Gin. You can either try it as part of the usual gin and tonic or in one of their special cocktails created to compliment the flavours of the gin perfectly. Try the One Square Gin Fizz with fresh lime juice, elderflower syrup, mint leaves and soda water, or Genie in a Bottle with lemon juice, gomme syrup, fresh muddled ginger, almond cordial and cranberry juice. Perfect for sipping on a lazy summer afternoon.
If you fancy batching your very own miniature One Square Gin and taking it home as a souvenir, be sure to book their Ginnasium Gin Tasting Experience.
One Square (website) is at 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR (Tel: 0131 229 9131)
[Image source: Juniper Edinburgh]
With a name like “Juniper” you know that gin lovers will not be disappointed with this place! This stylish bar has a fantastic gin cocktail offering and a view to die for.
They offer a wide range of gins, many of which are from local distilleries and are specially selected for their exceptional taste, aroma and quality.
Their cocktails are blended by expert mixologists and include both new daring creations as well as old favourites. If you want to be a bit adventurous, try their cocktail tasting menu, all while admiring the stunning panoramic views of Princes Street and the Gardens. You’ve got to be quick though; those coveted window seats get snapped up fast!
Juniper (website) is at 20 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AN (Tel: 0131 652 7370)
The Jolly Botanist
[Image source: Jolly Botanist Facebook]
With an inventive old Victorian style interior, with oddities such as old taps, top hats and pressure gauges hidden around every corner, together with over 60 brands of gin on offer, The Jolly Botanist is a firm favourite with gin fans. They also won the coveted “Best new Pub" in 2015.
While you are working through all the gins on offer, why not try their food menu which has a range of dishes from sea bass to macaroni cheese.
The Jolly Botanist (website) is located at 256–260 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8DT (Tel: 0131 228 5596)
Have we whet your appetite for Edinburgh’s bar and restaurant scene? Have a look at our favourite places for a relaxing Sunday lunch.