Haggis. Kilts. The Fringe Festival.
Ask any non-Scot what comes to mind when you mention Edinburgh, and you’ll likely get at least one of these answers.
The famous Scottish capital is commonly associated with a handful of stereotypes, but we’re here to shed light on the part of Edinburgh that can’t be missed – the budding bar scene.
Despite being famous for its (insanely good) whisky, Edinburgh is also home to an impressive variety of high-end cocktail bars, gin distilleries and craft breweries. The festive city dubbed the “cocktail capital” offers bars with everything from soft music and chatter to stylish splendour.
Looking for the ultimate cocktail den, rooftop terrace or trendy watering-hole? We’ve got just the list for you – the top ten best bars in Edinburgh for every kind of drinker.
The Voodoo Rooms
With an impeccable reputation for cocktails, rums and tequilas, The Voodoo Rooms certainly has your tastebuds covered. The themed cocktail list offers original creations, pushing the boundaries of the ordinary with home-made ingredients and brews. The bar itself offers over 60 different types of award-winning tequila, along with over 60 unique rums. Fall in love with flavour in a cocktail masterclass designed to bring magic to life.
Favourite Tipple: The Sips Don’t Lie cocktail featuring Columbia’s finest La Hechicera Rum, Pimento Dram and apple liquor
Cold Town House
With an absolute devotion to pizza, prosecco and craft beer, Cold Town House prides itself on humble products. The bar strives to defy pretentious pre-conceptions by truly embracing the essence of “craft”.
Boasting three storeys, including a rooftop terrace, this is one of the best bars in Edinburgh for summertime drinking. Immerse yourself in the brewing process with floor-to-ceiling windows on the first floor giving you front-row seats to Cold Town’s small-batch facility. Offering live entertainment from sport to cabaret, it’s the perfect spot to dance, drink, laugh and eat.
Favourite Tipple: Cold Town Lager
Founded by two Swedish natives in 2004, Boda Bar offers Scandinavian-style decor with vintage- armchairs and quirky lived-in sofas. With a focus on friends, fun and overall good vibes, the Boda Bar family ethos is nothing short of contagious.
A small bar with big ideas, Boda offers a menu for all seasons featuring beer, local gins and a selection of wines and cocktails; there’s something for everyone. It’s the ultimate place to sink in and snuggle up all with a delectable drink in hand.
Favourite Tipple: A glass of Asolo Organic Prosecco
SCOTCH at The Balmoral
With over 500 unique varieties of Scottish whisky delicately lined up in the bar’s hand-crafted, oak-panelled whisky cabinet, SCOTCH delivers one of the largest collections in Edinburgh. Boasting a selection of malts, blends and vintages from distilleries in the Highlands, Lowlands, Islands, Isaly and Speyside, the bar offers incomparable tastings.
Located in the luxurious Balmoral Hotel, SCOTCH delivers decades of tradition with every sip. If you’re on the hunt for a good whisky bar in Edinburgh, this is the spot for you!
Favourite Tipple: The 100 Years of Whisky tasting menu
With a bold interior combining just the right level of camp and kitsch, Paradise Palms is sure to be an unforgettable experience. If it’s relaxed cocktails you’re after, surrounded by pineapple and flamingo themed décor, this is the bar for you! The various Scottish twists on common cocktail mixes are delightfully charming and you’ll happily make your way through the extensive menu. If the delicious cocktails aren’t enough for you, there’s a record store and label on the premises too.
Favourite Tipple: The Aye-Tai, a Scottish take on the Mai-Tai
Bramble Bar & Lounge
Tucked down a set of stairs in a basement off posh Queen Street, Bramble Bar & Lounge is one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets. Keep your eyes peeled for the small, brass plaque bearing the bar’s name; it’s hard-to-find nature only adds to the charming experience. Inside you’ll find relaxing music, low lights, comfortable chairs and a supreme cocktail menu boasting innovative blends from the in-house mixologists.
If it’s gin and whisky you’re after, you’re bound to be impressed by the variety on offer. Sit back and relax in the cosy atmosphere of one of the best bars in Edinburgh; it’s delightfully sophisticated.
Favourite Tipple: The Hawk Hill cocktail featuring Talisker 10 y.o. Single malt whisky, Glenglassaugh single cask malt whisky, Lucky Liquor Co. fig brandy, salt and Punt E Mes
The Bon Vivant
Opened in September 2008 by Stuart McCluskey, The Bon Vivant delivers the perfect marriage of casual and classy. Whether it’s a bottle of Champagne, a pint or even a wee dram you fancy with friends, they have it all. From the atmosphere to the drinks menu, everything is beautifully indulgent. Think stylish, smart and laid-back all in the same breathe.
Favourite Tipple: An Orinoco cocktail featuring Bulleit Bourbon & Rye whiskies, Cocchi Torino, Maraschino and Brazil Nut
The Dunstane Houses Ba’ Bar
Located in Edinburgh’s most romantic hotel, The Dunstane Houses Ba’ Bar offers an enviable menu. Featuring an array of drinks from rare vintage whiskies and artisanal gins to mouthwatering cocktails and a carefully curated wine list, Ba’ Bar is sure to delight even the most cultivated of connoisseurs.
For a night you won’t forget (or won’t remember) take your pick from the whisky and gin tasting experiences at this stylish Edinburgh bar.
Favourite Tipple: A Dun Gin (Botanics picked by the hotel owners) & Tonic
Heads & Tales
Nestled within Rutland Place in Edinburgh’s West End, Heads & Tales offers a unique venue with a menu to boot. Featuring the best spirits, beers and wine Edinburgh has to offer as well as local, seasonal and fresh products, quality is unquestionably high. By day it’s a working distillery and by night it’s a cosy drinking den.
Enjoy the exposed copper piping, stills and pendant lights and you sample a variety of delectable gins. Create your own cocktail with a gin masterclass, designed to enhance your love for this delicious spirit.
Favourite Tipple: The Hooked On A Feeling cocktail featuring Edinburgh Gin, Aperol, Cacao Black, Strawberry, Peychaud’s and Citrus
The Devil’s Advocate
With an eclectic collection of Scottish and world whiskies, The Devil’s Advocate is home to multiple award-winning bartenders. Think innovative, inventive and down-right delicious! Boasting a menu packed with seasonal cocktails, selected craft beers and premium wines, this gem is sure to delight.
The bar occupies a former Victorian pump station and the industrial bones make for a breathtaking location. Bask in the high ceilings as you sample their delectable cocktails.
Favourite Tipple: The Subterranean Flip cocktail featuring Macallan 12 y.o. Double Oak, Oloroso Sherry, Dark chocolate, Coffee Bitters and a quail’s egg.
Make a turn at one of these ten best bars in Edinburgh and you’ll only scratch the surface of what this vibrant city has to offer. Whatever your favourite tipple, you can be guaranteed a warm Scottish welcome in Edinburgh’s bars.
I am an experienced writer specializing in travel, food, weddings, and well-being. Continuing my nomadic lifestyle I am currently based on the beautiful island of Malta.
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