Official Guide to Edinburgh

Top cosy pubs to curl up in this winter

16 November 2015

[Image credit: Whiski Bar]

We can't deny it any more - winter is well on its way in Edinburgh. It isn't all bad, though. While the season of beer gardens is well and truly behind us, this is the perfect time to hide away in one of the city's many warm, welcoming and cosy pubs. Here are just a few of our favourites... 

The Sheep Heid Inn

Sheeps Heid Interior Cr Website

[Image credit: The Sheep Heid Inn]

You can't have a page about cosy pubs in Edinburgh without mentioning the oldest pub in the city - the Sheep's Heid has been serving Edinburgh for around 600 years and over that time has built up a reputation for being a cosy hideaway. Nothing beats sitting in front of the roaring fire with a pint or a dram after a day exploring Holyrood Park. If you have a bit of energy spare, you can always try a round of skittles in their fascinating old style alley. 

43-45 The Causeway, Edinburgh EH15 3QA (0131 661 7974)

The Albanach 

There's nothing more warming on these cold nights than a dram of fiery whisky, so make sure you check out The Albanach on the Royal Mile, which has a huge range of over 220 malts behind its bar. The friendly staff are on hand to help you pick a favourite, then you can cosy up in one of the bar's little nooks and watch the Old Town folk go by... 

197 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PE (0131 220 5277)

The Queens Arms

Queens Arms Cr Website

[Image credit: The Queens Arms Facebook]

Take a break from Christmas shopping in the warm and welcoming surroundings of the Queens Arms in the city centre, on the corner of Frederick Street and Rose Street. Huddle around with your friends in one of their intimate booths, which even come with their own doors. If you're feeling peckish, be sure to pop in on a Sunday when they serve up their legendary roast dinner (just make sure you get in before it all sells out!). 

49 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1EP (0131 225 1045)

The Abbotsford

This charming little pub in the heart of Rose Street has a great comforting atmosphere. The decor is exactly what you would expect of a good old Edinburgh pub, with an impressive ornate wooden bar island right in the middle of the space, making for a warm and homely establishment. The perfect place to enjoy a quiet pint with friends. 

3-5 Rose St, Edinburgh EH2 2PR (0131 225 5276)

Beehive Inn 

Beehive Cr Greater Grassmarket

[Image credit: Greater Grassmarket]

Shelter from the cold in one of the Grassmarket's most welcoming pubs - right in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. There's lots of little nooks and crannies here to curl up in, including the Honeypot area, which has a great family friendly atmosphere. Make sure you try the 1730, the pub's very own special pale ale. 

18-20 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU (0131 225 7171)

Kings Wark

This wee gem on the Shore is a firm favourite with Leithers, and it's easy to see why. This intimate homely establishment is always full of people either enjoying a quiet pint or indulging in some delicious comfort food from their famous menu. Either way, there are very few better ways to spend a cold winter night in Leith! 

36 Shore, Edinburgh EH6 6QU (0131 554 9260)

The Last Drop

The Last Drop Cr Greater Grassmarket

[Image credit: Greater Grassmarket]

The Grassmarket is far from short of cosy little pubs and The Last Drop, whose title is a small nod to the location's colourful past, is another establishment worth checking out. It's warm lighting, low ceilings and intimate booths are perfect for enjoying a drink with some delicious food from their small yet strong menu. 

74-78 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JR (0131 225 4851)

The Black Cat

For a bit of secluded peace and quiet in the city centre, head to The Black Cat on the west end of Rose Street. With a huge selection of whiskies and local beers to choose from, this is a great place to get a taste of Scotland in a glass. You'll often find people hanging around in the mid-morning too, soaking up the relaxed atmosphere over a leisurely cup of coffee. 

Of course, if a "quiet drink" isn't quite your thing, you can always head along on a Monday or Wednesday night, where you'll find foot-stomping live traditional Scottish music.

168 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 4BA (0131 225 3349)

Joseph Pearce's

Joseph Pearces Cr Website

[Image credit: Joseph Pearce's]

Nobody does cosiness quite like the Scandinavians, as Swedish-owned Joseph Pearce's makes clear. With a warm and welcoming interior featuring lived-in sofas, floral wallpaper and fairy lights, this is the perfect place to spend a chilly and dark Edinburgh evening. If you're feeling a little hungry, get a smörgåsbord sharing platter and spend the night nibbling away at it with your pals. 

23 Elm Row, Edinburgh EH7 4AA (0131 556 4140)


Teuchters is a real gem in the West End - nothing quite beats enjoying a pint here beside the fire on a cold day. They have a huge selection of whiskies, and their draft beer taps are regularly rotating with ales from local suppliers like Barneys and Edinburgh Beer Factory. 

26 William Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NH (0131 225 2973)

Whiski Bar

Whiski Bar Cr Website

[Image credit: Whiski Bar]

Situated on the Royal Mile, this warm and welcoming gem is popular with both locals and visitors alike. With a huge range of malts behind the bar (over 300, in fact), enjoying a dram in one of the intimate corners of this place is an absolute must. Be sure to hang around until the evening, when the place comes to life with live Scottish music from one of the city's local bands. 

119 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SG (0131 556 3095)

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