What was once a city dominated by old-bloke pubs is today an actual “bar scene” bursting with hip all-inclusive establishments boasting craft beer, locally produced gin and fancy cocktails. Visit for a whole year and never drink in the same place twice. For those with only a few days however, here’s where to go for a bevvie.
1. The Whiski Rooms
If it’s whisky you want, then head to Whiski Rooms on The Mound. With tasting chamber, shop and restaurant, staff know their drams and tipples. Try a steak or burger with whisky sauce or chutneys or for afters whisky-infused raspberries.
2. Lucky Liquor Co.
Thirteen is the luckiest of numbers at cocktail joint Lucky Liquor Company which has a revolving quarterly list of just thirteen cocktails. Indulge in something unexpected whilst challenging your drinking buddies to a game of pool.
3. Heads and Tales
If gin’s your thing, then Heads and Tales ticks all the boxes. By day visitors come to tour the Edinburgh Gin Distillery and in the evenings the place transforms into a cosy bar celebrating all things juniper, where drinkers can craft their own concoctions.
4. The Hanging Bat
Beer nuts (get it?) will fall head over heals with Edinburgh’s beer paradise – a hundred and fifty varieties of bottles and cans and a plethora of keg and cask beers on tap. Can't decide? Ask the nice beer geeks behind the counter for a sample or book a beer tasting or brew day.
5. Boda Bars
For a Swedish vibe visit one of these – Boda, Hemma, Akva, Victoria, Sofi's and Joseph Pearce – a mini-chain with homely decor and distinctly Scandinavian drink and food vibe (think fish and smorgasbords). Quirky themed events like Sunday arvo pet and owner meets – make them popular all-day social venues.
6. The Devil's Advocate
Originally a water pump house, today a low-key industrial venue. Grab a comfy booth and choose a dram of whisky from the hundred-plus brews on offer. In the words of one local “The D.A. just gets everything right”.
7. Hoot The Redeemer
Lock up your daughters; the naughty funfair theme, alcoholic slushies and retro styling are some of the many reasons HTR is Edinburgh’s hippest cocktail destination. Grab a church pew and use the claw machine to choose your cocktail flavours (yes really).
8. The Carriers Quarters
Where better to experience Edinburgh culture than in the now-achingly cool dockside suburb of Leith. Dating back to 1785, The Carriers is the area’s oldest local and with an unpretentious and cosy air. Hearty food and lively music make for a well-rewarded stopover.
9. The Candy Man
Like its famous Bloody Marys, Morningside’s The Canny Man is a tad old fashioned but still draws crowds wanting an alternative to the hipster vibe. Expect traditional Scottish hospitality from this family run pub bedecked top to tail with quirky paraphernalia.
10. Coffee / hangover cure
Edinburgh does such good coffee, that it’s hard to single out a winner. Order a take-out from Artisan Roast on Broughton Street, Southside’s Filament, Cairngorm Coffee (West End and Old Town), The Milkman or new kid on the block, August 21, in Comiston.