A comprehensive and up-to-date list of the spots to grab the best drinks in Edinburgh.
For a beer:
With 12 keg lines and 400 beers by the bottle (or can) Salt Horse is one of the places to appease your malt, yeast and hop cravings. Exposed brick walls, candles, great bar food and two rooms with their own separate feels, Salt Horse is the most complete beer bar in the city. It’s also right in the town centre!
For a wine:
The new kids on the Edinburgh wine scene. Good Brothers Wine Bar hits about every mark needed for a wine bar. Though they do have an extensive list featuring a quality mix of old and new world wines, the service here is really what takes this place the next level. Casual yet professional and extremely knowledgeable, these Brothers will take you on a wee wine journey. Bar food here is amazing as well!
For a whisky:
Bow Bar may not have the biggest selection in town but it’s probably the best selected. Boasting a range of rare special release bottles, it is definitely a place you can find something you won't get in your regular bar. Their decor is also incredible and finds itself nestled discreetly midway down the incredibly picturesque Victoria Street! They've also been winning many awards lately for their real ales - which comes as no surprise since they have an impressive 8 cask ales and 6 keg beers on at any time.
For the all of the above:
Dom, the owner of Brauhaus really nails the big picture. While their beer list is typically amazing, their name associating them as a German brewhouse can sometimes mislead. Brauhaus typically has the best by-the-glass wine list in town, fulfilling all of your organic, biodynamic and natural needs. While their whisky list is smaller than some, it is extremely well selected.
For a pool table:
Downstairs from one of Edinburgh’s best cocktail bars lays one of the best kept secrets in town. Part of the Bramble group, Lucky Liquor Co. absolutely nails what they do. With thirteen cocktails and thirteen spirits, this lucky bar actually has substance behind their gimmick with an amazing bar team. £5 boilermakers (beer and a whisky) and a game of pool? I know…
For a good time:
It’s in the name! Hoot the Redeemer is a cocktail bar that doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. Frozen alcoholic slushies, their own collaboration beer with local legends Pilot, boozy ice-cream and free popcorn, how could you go wrong? It’s a good time - an absolute hoot.
For a pub:
In the centre of town it’s hard to find a pub that actually has some sort of character. Avoid Rose Street and get on down to the Queen’s Arms on Frederick Street, it actually feels real. Beer, whisky, leather chairs, huge bookshelves, and a fireplace - PUB! It does all the basics every pub should do, and then an absolutely incredible food list. Seriously, try their food.
For the real ale lovers:
While Bow Bar gets the attention and the big awards, it’s their sister bar Cloisters that gets our nod here. 19 taps (9 cask & 10 kegs) of which eight are constantly rotating - if you can’t find something you like then you probably don't like beer. Featuring a cosy fireplace, plenty of dogs and almost always an older gentleman reading the paper - Cloisters is everything a real ale lover could need.
For a brewery tap takeover:
The Hanging Bat on Lothian Road. They always have good beer there, but they often do tap takeovers from breweries all over the world, which is pretty exciting!
For a cocktail:
Edinburgh is blessed with so many amazing cocktail bars that it’s impossible to pick just one. A complete list of the places to check out is available here, but should we choose one we’d have to pick the team that put Edinburgh on the map at Bramble. Year after year Bramble continues to find itself in the world’s top 100 bars, and with good reason. Dim lighting, understated furniture, old school hiphop and an amazing bar team, all hidden below a tailor’s shop. It’s where it all started, so end your night here.
For a sunny day:
If you’re lucky enough to see the sun, save all the bar ideas for after dark. There is NOTHING better than sitting in the sun enjoying a drink in Edinburgh. With relaxed drinking laws, it is possible to drink (responsibly) on the streets, though if a policeman asks you to dispose of your drink please do follow orders. It is legal to drink, but it is finable offence to not comply - confusing, I know!
Locals typically keep their drinking to parks, because it's not a good look walking down main streets with drink in hand.
1. The Meadows - grab some beers and head where the locals do. Here you will often find barbecues, people playing music and dancing or just kicking around a football. Far more social.
2. For when Princes Street gets a little too much, grab a bottle of sparkling wine from Marks and Spencer and take in the castle views in Princes Street Gardens. Far more relaxed.
3. Leith Links. Fill your growler (snarf snarf) at Stewart’s Dockside tap, or stock up on bottled or canned craft beers from Beets, both on Bernard Street, and take the short walk to the Links.