The Best Venues in Edinburgh

Are you looking to discover the best bars in Edinburgh?

Then we have you covered!

On this page, you’ll find the official shortlist of all the bars in Edinburgh. (More in-depth further below). And, each with why it’s best to go.

Feel free to check out each bar’s official profile to find out more and to find out which is best for you.

Furthermore, you can get on the guest list or book a table with bottle service on some of the more exclusive bars. We are happy to help you out with either.

13. Cold Town House Bar Edinburgh

Raising the bar for the beer scene, Cold Town House has a beer for everyone. They have bagged the beer of the year award for 2022, so when we tell you they take their beer seriously, you better believe it. Venture into their website with caution, though, you might see some strong words, but they have designed it in a fun interactive way. Starting as a microbrewery in 2018, they had their recipes tried and tested from back in Scotland. After trying some flavors, they released what is now known as Cold Town Lager. 

Their motto is beer for beer’s sake. They cut out all the pretense attached to brewing, and if you order another pint, they successfully brew what you like. If you live nearby, you can get their canned beer delivered to your doorstep. Options include ‘New England IPA,’ ‘Pornstar Martini Ale,’ ‘Proud as Helles,’ and ‘Taking the Pith’, amongst others. You can also get five-liter kegs for the party you plan to host. If you are not into beer, you can get wine or cocktails here too. Cocktails include ‘Poison Prince,’ ‘Grassmarket Mistress,’ and ‘Screwball,’ the latter being a mix of absolut raspberry, blue curacao, bubblegum syrup, apple, and lemon and is topped off with squirty cream. Those who like more potent drinks have rum, whiskey, gin, vodka, and bourbon. The opposite type of people can have mocktails. 

To go with these would be their unique in-house pizza straight out of the oven. They also have starters, shareable plates, and burgers if pizza is not your thing. You can also finish off with some ice cream for dessert. You can get your food and drinks and sit on their rooftop, surrounded by flowers and has a fantastic view of Edinburgh Castle. 

12. 56 North Bar Edinburgh 

If you want some fantastic burgers and a great selection of gin, then drop by 56 North. They have a kitchen and a space for a gin masterclass which you can take up too. If you start going through their spirits section, you will find that they have pages you must go through. Then there are also the tonics and 14 garnishings to choose from. They also have a gin garden which they open up where they have their parking. 

The place is hot and welcoming, and you will be at ease while you’re here. With clean and minimal decor, they focus more on the food and drinks and let them speak for themselves. The bar is a gray color with high chairs placed beside it. They have led lights around the space that change colors and set the mood. The shelves behind the bar have lots and lots of glass bottles stacked with light reflecting off of them. With huge windows at the front of the bar, lots of light comes in during the daytime and gives off a warm feeling. 

Yes, they focus more on gin, but those who do not like it can also have beers, wine, and cocktails. Their drinks menu is divided into chapters dedicated to Scottish gin, historic gin, spirits, wine, beer, and cocktails. If we start telling you what they have on their menu, you will spend a good hour just going through the options. The drinks aside, their food is above the average pub grub, with burgers and steaks cooked to your liking. They even have prawns, salmon, calamari, and more seafood dishes. 

11. Hoot The Redeemer Bar Edinburgh 

Hoot the Redeemer is a 50s-style dive bar/ speakeasy experience inspired by New Orleans. A tarot card reader figurine hides the entrance, and behind it lies a retro fair scene. The place is dimly lit, with lamps scattered around the place. They have fair games and popcorn, fortune-telling machines, vintage magician posts, and even tarot cards painted on the walls around the bar. They have stuck to the theme and have done justice to it.

Yes, they do have a lot of cocktails, beer, and other things, but one fun element they have here is the claw machine that picks ingredients for your customized drink. You can top it off with burnt foam or honeycomb afterward. They also offer alcoholic ice cream! Yes, you heard that right. One of the owner’s fathers was an ice cream maker who combined both his passions, alcohol and ice cream. They have about 12 flavors in this range, from ‘Bourbon Berry pie’, which has bourbon, shortcrust, and cherries, to ‘Edinburgh Rocks’, which consists of whiskey, honeycomb, and salted caramel. These add a fresh and fun mix to your drinks. 

They are very conscious of their carbon footprint, so they only stock Scottish beers from around the area. You might see many unfamiliar names, but the bartenders will help you pick a new favorite when you drop by. Their cocktails are named after the 13 tarot cards. ‘The Fool,’ ‘The Star,’ ‘Ace of Cups,’ and ‘The Lovers’ among others. ‘Ace of Cups’ has Pickerings 1947 gin, Aperol, aelder elixir, Scotsman tea blend, and a gaze into your future. They also offer cocktail slushies and other drinks, including wine, vodka, rum, rye, bourbon, tequila, and whiskey. 

10. The Hanging Bat Bar Edinburgh 

Opened in 2012, a decade ago, The Hanging Bat has been serving mixed drinks and tines to those who come to Edinburgh. A mix of a cafe and a bar, it serves drinks, food, and cakes and even has a brewery tucked in somewhere inside it. They have independently brewed beers and ales from around the world, which are worth trying. They do not have pints; instead, they have schooners which are ⅔ of a pint, so that you don’t lose appreciation for the drink. Serious samplers can even get smaller servings to try out brews that sound tasty. They have over 20 draft beers, six cask ales, 14 keg lines, and more than 120 canned and bottled varieties. You can also choose from 40 gin varieties, spirits, and cocktails that they have if you do not like beer. 

You can drop by between 11 am and midnight most days of the week. On the weekends, they stay open for another hour. The food here is also super trendy and ranges from bbq to pulled pork rolls, spicy wings, burgers, and hot dogs. You can have comfort food like fish and chips or a slow-cooked stew that warms you up and makes you feel cozy. You can also have some bite-size dishes to keep your palette busy till your drink order arrives. 

The place is dimly lit by lamps and has deep wooden tables with red leather couches. This makes the atmosphere very warm and relaxed. The glass doors and high gray walls give off an industrial and brewery-like feel to the space, which is valid to an extent. The whole place feels rustic and authentic in its roots. 

9. Casablanca Cocktail Club Bar Edinburgh 

Casablanca Cocktail club is the most opulent venue in the area where you get to party with the Queens of Cowgate. Get a booking here if you plan on visiting over the weekend, as it can get packed here. It is inspired by LAs club scene, and the whole space reflects it. There are mirrored ceilings, plush fabric, velvet seats with fringes, neon lights, and 24-carat gold wagyu steak. They make you feel like royalty here. They have a fireplace and a mantle on one side with paintings on the walls. The DJ keeps mixing tunes for you all to sway to and fill up the breaks between conversations. 

Hidden behind two red lights is a place that screams luxury and ostentatiousness. It is everyone’s favorite late-night mysterious playground. They have created an indulgent dining experience here with all they offer on their menu, from 24-carat wagyu beef burgers served on limited-release Versace plates or scalloped chicken wings marinated in Dom Perignon. Their drinks menu is inspired by Rock n Roll’s Bohemian past and is one of a kind. Drinks like ‘Champagne Supernova,’ ‘Bohemian Gold,’ and ‘Rock the Casbah’ promise your flavor and that you will order another. Each page on the menu is dedicated to one cocktail with a model dressed up according to its description. The following page has an image of the drink, so you know what to expect. Champagne, wine, spirits, and beer are also available. 

They want you to start with food, have a few drinks, and end the night dancing to their mixed music playlist on the tabletops.

8. The Blackbird Bar Edinburgh 

Having one of the best beer gardens in Edinburgh, The blackbird should be on your list of places to visit. They serve great cocktails, wine, beers, and food like rice bowls and other street food. The place mixes a lowkey bistro and a busy entertainment hub. Their customers range from young and hip college students to those who work at offices from 9 to 5. This creates a fun and busy atmosphere all around the place. 

The exterior is a vivid blue color that you can spot from a distance. The inside has stone walls, fireplaces, and cornicing. The wooden flooring and tables are complemented with leather seats and bar sides, which are also a plus deep leather. This makes it all look very put together yet rustic. The open patio/beer garden has picnic tables and umbrellas all around the space. Plant pots add the right amount of color and freshness to balance the wood color. They also have a huge mural inspired by ‘Looking for Alice’.

The food menu is worth your attention with small plates, rice bowls, and burgers. Their ‘Bang Bang Chicken’ rice bowl mixes crispy katsu chicken, brown rice, and green onions and is topped off with crispy peanut sauce. It is the perfect blend of crunchy and soft textures. They also have vegan options if that is your dietary preference. Chicken burger 10 is a classic buttermilk fried chicken. Just what you need as a pick-me-up. The drinks menu is divided into four sections: summer, fancy, confidence, and fresh. Choose according to what you feel at the moment. Drinks have quirky names like ‘Love Plus One,’ ‘Sundowner,’ ‘Stays in Mexico,’ and ‘Lonely Rainbow’. 

7. The Royal Dick Bar Edinburgh

What was once an animal hospital is now The Royal Dick Bar. The place was transformed into this modern and sleek bar/cafe. The walls on the inside are covered with quirky art and decor that represent what the place is and once was. This space is contemporary yet modern, with its decor being nostalgic, from old animal skeletons to microscopes and beakers. Other frames include maps of the building and its floor plans. You have tiki masks, old helmets, and sports team posters, an eclectic mix of objects in one place. 

The place has Edinburgh’s first gin distillery, making all kinds of gin your choice. You can also look at the whole process if you opt for one of their tours. They have a good selection of beverages like beer which comes directly from the brewery and is called Barney’s beer. The other drink produced on-site is Pickering’s gin which is also a big hit for those who like more potent drinks. Other drinks include wine and draughts. The cocktail section has all of the classics that you would want. There are more than a hundred different spirits you can choose from to drink when you visit.

Food includes a beef burger or a vegan one with many options for what toppings you would like: There’s a cod sandwich, steak pie, beetroot salad, poutine, and more to fill you up. The courtyard bar is also a pleasant place to find a seat after you have your drinks and food. 

6. Nauticus Bar Edinburgh 

A bar that shows Leiths rich travels all around the space, Nauticus has beer, ale, and all sorts of yummy drinks. The two owners took over the last pub in 2018 and transformed it to reach an even wider audience when they did so. Nauticus is Latin for Nautical and is an accurate name for the place. Each chapter of their menu is dedicated to an era of Leith’s history. From spices and tea routes, the gin craze, and many others. 

The bar has a subtle hint of the sea and the magic it beholds. It looks like it’s made from mermaid scales if you believe us. The exterior is a sage green, and when you step in, you see Veridian-colored walls complemented by dark wood all around the space. The pale glow of the lamps and lights makes the whole room mysterious. The couches are deep red leather, and the bar shelves have light behind them, illuminating the space. 

Nauticus has a fine selection of drinks that reflects what Scotland has to show to the world. People of all age groups drop by to enjoy the local produce. 90% of their drinks are local and include cocktails like ‘Sweet Victory,’ from the spice routes, ‘Resident Raj’ of the gin era, ‘You Can’t Be Sirius’ from wine tradings, and ‘Coastal Brew’ from the whiskey boom. The place attracts lots of people to try out its renowned cocktail mixes. You can pair these with Scottish charcuterie, pork pies, and cheese boards. One of the city’s finest drinking establishments, this place is a big hit. 

5. Salt Horse Bar Edinburgh 

You will see a simple blue-colored bar with huge glass windows, Salt Horse. It is dog friendly and serves 350 different beers by the can or bottle. It is tucked between Cowgate and Royal Mile. You can go from the side and even grab a seat on the patio. The place itself is very straightforward and minimal. The tables and chairs are neat, and so are the walls. They let their drinks and food speak for themselves. The place also acts as a shop from where you can buy all the beer you want.

The small bar offers a wide range of beers on cask and keg as well as cans and bottles. They serve all beers in schooners which is ⅔ of a pint. They have put up a chalkboard displaying their daily draft list and its prices. So they rotate between different drinks. There’s Cloudwater, 3 Fonteinen, Crooked Stave, and more. Their bottles and can list are divided according to their availability. Some are the last ones left, others are at a reduced price, and then there’s blonde, lager, IPA, and more. 

To pair with these, they offer food made from the freshest ingredients. There are burgers, wings, chips, and more for you to feast on. Meat lovers can get a classic cheeseburger or a buttermilk one, while vegetarians can grab a crispy halloumi-covered mushroom burger. You can drop by any day of the week and stay here till 10 pm. Have good food and drinks for a good time.    

4. Paradise Palms Bar Edinburgh 

Paradise Palms is a bar, diner, record shop, and music space. An upside-down typewriter welcomes you as it hangs on the wall beside the entrance. Rural wales with paint peeled off and windows with flower plants hanging on the top. This is the view from the outside. You see leather booths and tables up all across the space when you step in. Black and gold accents, along with deep red mahogany, are what you see in the interior. You see a lot of quirky things inside. Small lamps on each table and small curtains with fringes hang from the ceiling. Some parts of the ceiling are full of stuffed toys of all colors. Other photographs and stickers are also up on the walls. This feels like a student’s wild adventure but creates an eclectic experience.

The drinks menu will make you happy as you go through it. Shots start at 3.5 quid and rise from there on. You might like this place if you’re planning a wild party with friends. Drinks include classic and tropical cocktail sections. These include the likes of Szechuan Slipper, which has Pickering’s 1947 spiced gin, Midori melon liqueur, Szechuan pepper & lemon syrup, and a peppery twist on the classic Japanese slipper. Almost all of their drinks are vegan. They also have spirits, beer, and wine if you prefer those.  

They offer one of the city’s best vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian foods. These include burgers, loaded fries, and platters like their Lucky BBq platter. You can also indulge in a cheesy mac and cheese here. All of the items on their menu are available as any diet plan you follow, whether vegan or straightforward. 

3. The City Bar Edinburgh 

What started as an authentic American diner in the 1980s is now a famous hangout spot in Edinburgh. The City Cafe has always hosted local legends and people from all walks of life in its space. It adapted to become a club as time progressed. It serves as a diner in the daytime, and at night it is a party joint with DJs playing on the weekends and bodies swaying to the beats. The retro decor, signage on the walls, comfy bar stools, booths, a jukebox, a pool table, and oldies playing in the background contribute to the relaxed atmosphere. Neon jukeboxes and pool tables entertain you while you grab your lunch. In the evenings, the funk, hip-hop, and house tracks will make you groove as you sip your drinks. The place has transitioned with class into a club. 

From 9 am to 10 pm, their kitchen is up and open, serving you food fresh and hot from the kitchen. To start your day, you can have a full breakfast, pancakes, waffles, and other specials like eggs benedict. Then for lunch or dinner, you can get bites, burgers, hot dogs, fajitas, or their mains. They also have vegan and vegetarian food here. You should try their ac and cheese, chili con carne, and Piri Piri chicken and rice if you fancy any of these. They make for good, hearty, and filling dishes to have. 

There is a range of draft and bottled beer and a selection of spirits and cocktails on the drinks menu. They will have something that suits everyone’s tastes and which they will sip on happily. 

2. Joseph Pierce Bar Edinburgh 

Joseph Pearce has been up and running since 1898 as a grocery store, wine merchant, and now a restaurant and bar. The place is family-friendly, and you can even bring your dog with you while you sip and unwind after a long day of work. The bar is Swedish-owned, and lots of its drinks and food are inspired there. Exciting and unusual activities for a bar take place here, like knitting and fish catching in the evenings. It has high ceilings and massive doors, giving bohemian vibes. 

The bar area is extensive, with many bottles stacked behind the shelves. The decor is simple and classic, paying homage to the 20th century. It is warm and welcoming for everyone. If you want some Scandinavian drinks or food, then this is the right place for you. Rather than going for drinks you’d find anywhere in the area, opt for a Swedish cider, maybe? Their aquavit cocktails are also famous and very different from those at bars like ‘Loke’, which has Havana 3, pasoa, lime, and pineapple. A refreshing mix that packs a punch.

The food menu includes simple vegetarian platters that you can share with friends. These include prosciutto, salads, salsa, hummus, and sourdough bread. You should also try out their famous Swedish meatballs, which are so full of flavor. They also have crayfish eating events where they dedicate the whole evening to the messing style of eating. You can buy tickets for it and have some fish. 

1. Tonic Bar Edinburgh 

Located on North Castle Street is Tonic, a bar famous for its drinks, whether you have them blended or on ice. The bartenders are serious about their mixes, and so are the regular customers. A contemporary establishment, Tonic is minimal and sleek. Nothing extravagant with their decor. They have leather couches and booths for sitting. Their sitting is limited as they have small tables fitted in every part of the room. The marble top bar glistens as the lights hit it, adding a glow to the place. 

With their commendable cocktail list, it’s hard not to come back here. Their mixologists are very welcoming and knowledgeable; they can mix something for you according to your tastes, even if it’s not on the menu. They use logic and creativity and do not shy away from putting together different ingredients that you might not see together. The cocktail menu is divided by names like sweet, sour, bitter, ooh mama, herbs and spices, and classics. A page is dedicated to each section. The ‘Mad Hatter tea party’ has washed kettle one vodka, briolettes fraise des Bois, lemon juice, vanilla syrup and is topped with egg white and jam. A flavorful combination. There is no food offered here, so don’t go around looking for it. 

After a few of these drinks, you might be seen on the dance floor as you jam along to their fun playlist or to the tracks the Dj is playing for you on the spot. After 9 pm, the Dj drops by on the weekends, and that is when the place gets packed.

Conclusion: 

Scotland is famous for all the beer and gin they produce locally, and tourists from all over the world visit Edinburgh to see the castles and other historical landmarks. They have all sorts of bars and beer gardens here. Some are low-key speakeasies, others more loud and full of music. There are hundreds of options for you to choose from, whether beer, gin, or cocktails. You will find them all under one roof. 

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