Top 5 bars in Edinburgh

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.

Devils Advocate


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.

Under The Stairs

Bramble Bar

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.

Bramble Bar

Douglas Walker is Chair of Unique Venues of Edinburgh.

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Comments (2)

  1. Out of the mentioned bars in Edinburgh, I’ve only been to Epicurean at the G&V Hotel. I have not tried any of their cocktails when we visited the place but I tell you, their coffee is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. I heard they also serve classics and new concoctions.

  2. Lynn says:

    Cocktail bars I’d put Lucky Liquer and Nightcap on there (the wings at Nightcap are exceptional!).

    Bon vi von on Thistle St – the food is great as well.

    Smith & Gertrude for all the wines.

    Bow Bar – a proper Edinburgh institution – all ages, all different walks of life..

    Cafe Royal – again another Edinburgh institution – this place is never quiet! Great seafood as well.

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