Our lovely home of Edinburgh is filled with bars, the city literally bursts at the seams with them, so finding a drink on an evening is easy, but finding a really good drink, well that is something a little bit harder! We have stomped the streets of Edinburgh in a quest to find the best cocktails in the city over the years so the following is our current favourite list of must visit bars!
Ranked as, not only one of the top bars in all of Scotland, but also in the world, Brambles has carved out a niche market for drinkers who want to sip on creative concoctions using the absolute best ingredients possible. Hidden away on Queen street, tucked underneath a shop, (if you are not in the know you will probably miss it). We love this bar because you can hide away from the world for a couple of hours, drink cocktails out of china cups and enjoy the great beats that are always being played. The cocktail menu is substantial with a blend of new creations and refreshing takes on old classics. One of the best options is to stick with the aptly named Bramble, a cocktail that consists of dry gin, fresh lemon juice, Creme de Mures and a dash of sugar syrup.
Address: 16A Queen St, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 1JE
Phone: 0131 226 6343
Panda & Sons
Walk along Queen Street and you’d be forgiven for not spotting this corker of a bar disguised as an old-fashioned Barbershop. Like all Speakeasies, all is not as it seems. When you first walk through the door, don’t be disheartened not to find your pals sipping gin and juice. Rather, keep your cool and head down the carpeted stairs to a bookcase- good luck finding the handle! Once you do, turn it and find yourself transported back to 1930s Chicago. After the mission to get inside you’ll want a drink, so quench your thirst with something off their extensive menu. Driving? They have a fabulous mocktail selection too – almost as creative as their cocktails! A bar like no other, Panda & Sons has breathed life into what could have been a dingy basement location. Definitely a place with fabulous atmosphere and delectable libations.
Address: 79 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 4NF
Phone: 0131 220 0443
A favourite with those who work in other cocktail bars in town, Tonic has long been a stalwart of the Edinburgh bar scene. The award-winning cocktail menu has something for all tastes – whether you love a sweet treat, or something smoky and strong. Looking for something truly special? The highly skilled and entertaining staff are happy to give you recommendations and they create exciting new drinks nearly every day so expect the offering to have changed on your next visit. Friday and Saturday nights here have a party-like atmosphere so expect DJs, dressing up, and dancing! FYI, they also have a nice (if small) outside decking area for smokers and those who want to experience the Edinburgh weather, but don’t worry, there are outside heaters!
Address: 24A North Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3BN
Phone: 0131 225 6431
The Printing Press
Inspired by Edinburgh’s rich literary heritage, The Printing Press cocktails all have suitably bookish names. From Knots and Crosses (an Ian Rankin novel), to Green Grow the Rashes (a poem by Robert Burns), their cocktail menu is not huge but extremely well edited, and changes often. Whilst you might see new drinks on a regular basis, the team at The Printing Press never fail to impress with their creativity and innovation – there is no shortage of expertise in the mixology stakes here! In a town where cocktail bars are as commonplace as historic landmarks, The Printing Press stands out as an elegant and charming space that will feel as appropriate a spot for a dressed up evening out, as much as an informal boozy lunch.
Address: 21-25 George Street, Edinburgh
Phone: 0131 240 7177
Standing out from the traditional, old-fashioned pubs on the Royal Mile, The Epicurean in the G&V hotel brings a bit of vibrant glamour to the Old Town. This upbeat space has shaken off the stereotypical associations of a hotel bar and offers a buzzing and stylish spot that both guests and visitors alike will enjoy. The décor of the bar is refreshingly urban compared to the timber cladding and ancient wooden beams of other Old Town establishments; bright teal walls, colourful contemporary art, and slick bar stools and booths covered in luxurious leathers. Their cocktail menu matches the bold décor – expect colourful concoctions in a multitude of hues and a diverse range of ingredients from Mediterranean spirits to flowers and herbs grown in-house at the hotel! Fancy learning from the best? The Epicurean also offer bespoke master classes with their dedicated mixologists so you can brush up on your cocktail constructing!
Address: 1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD
Phone: 0131 220 6666
The Last Word Saloon
From the team behind the esteemed Bramble bar (see above), The Last Word Saloon already had good standing in the city before it had even opened its doors. Formerly a shadowy pub known was The Saint, The Last Word gave this sunken space a new breath of life and has a similar subterranean treasure trove feel to its older sister bar. The space is small and cosy, whilst the Stockbridge location gives a real friendly, neighbourhood local vibe to the bar. Expect chalkboard-black painted walls, aged wooden tables and chairs, antlers and antique mirrors adorning the walls, sheepskin rugs on the floors, and on a cold Edinburgh evening, the fire in full swing. The cocktails themselves are as may be expected, unconventional. It may only be those who are connoisseurs who fully appreciate all the wonderful components, but we guarantee you will not be disappointed. Our recommendation for any visitor would be to try their signature Last Word Revisited, a unique take on the classic 1920s gin-based drink, and of course, the namesake of the bar.
Address: 44 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5AL
Phone: 0131 225 9009