A city like Edinburgh is made for exploring, but it can be thirsty work. Fortunately, there are plenty of tucked away bars and convivial pubs that provide comfort from the vagaries of seasonal weather or just a chance to catch up with friends. It’s easy to enjoy the expanding choice of cocktails, spirits and ales that match the mood and magic of the city so, here’s our list of Edinburgh’s bars that welcome you in.
The Devil’s Advocate
Situated in the atmospheric Old Town – across from St Giles’ Cathedral – this busy bar takes its name from its location in Advocates Close. A former pump house, the bar still retains an industrial feel, and plenty of evidence of its medieval roots. Nevertheless its décor is modern, its drinks list extensive and its central location and atmosphere makes it a favoured meeting point.
Dragonfly is a unique and award-winning cocktail bar in Edinburgh’s West Port not far from the Grassmarket. It is an eclectic mix of vintage, kitsch and Victoriana combining chandeliers with bar-room tiles and a myriad cocktail menu. It is a short walk to nightclubs, restaurants, theatres and shops sitting as a welcome midpoint between destinations.
Epicurean at the G&V Hotel
Epicurean is the stylish bar in Edinburgh’s G&V Hotel on George IV bridge, and takes its inspiration for its cocktail menu from the Scottish Colourists, renowned for strong and vibrant paintings. Their cocktails (and range of non-alcoholic alternatives) place flavour to the fore since the bar’s mixologists freely access home grown flowers and herbs from the hotel’s rooftop hydroponic garden to create signature flavours.
Under The Stairs
Under The Stairs can be easy to miss if you are not looking for it. Hidden under the stairs of Old Town’s Merchant Street – close to Greyfriar’s Kirk – Under The Stairs is a cosy hunker bunker. A delightful place with exposed brick, retro furniture and candle light they have an extensive drinks menu, selection of beers and equally tasty sharing platters.
In Georgian New Town, tucked down in a Queen Street basement, sits the Bramble bar. Music creates the atmosphere as much as the range of refreshments. Classic cocktails, including some forgotten former favourites, feature highly and the staff are keen creators of new drinks to try.
Douglas Walker is Chair of Unique Venues of Edinburgh.