Best Bars in Edinburgh: Traditional, Stylish and Quirky Pubs, Edinburgh Has It All

It would be fair to say that the people of Scotland are fond of a drink. As the Scottish capital, Edinburgh is extremely well-endowed when it comes to bars. You can’t walk for more than a minute in the city center without seeing another.

We round up some of the finest Edinburgh bars into a small, but perfectly formed top ten. It would be impossible to cover every bar worth visiting in such a list, but these options are scattered across the city and they are all good places.

If you love cocktails, Bramble should be at the top of the list. So good it has won international acclaim, Bramble seamlessly blends delicious cocktails with a warm and sophisticated atmosphere which is hard to resist.

It would be almost criminal to visit Scotland’s capital and not have a dram of the national drink. Whiski is one of Edinburgh’s top whisky bars with an impressive array of malts on offer. At first glance it may look like a tourist trap, but you are assured a warm welcome and the bar also benefits from live music and very good food.

The Jolly Botanist is a relative newcomer, but has made quite a name for itself. Chic but unpretentious and with a great menu of gin (and other spirit) cocktails it could easily become your new favorite haunt.

Henrick's Bar


This is a very comfortable and friendly wee bar and bistro that is close to the King's Theatre as you head out of Tollcross up towards Bruntsfield. It serves a great range of drinks and the seasonal menu offers classic pub grub and contemporary...  Read More



This unusual pub is off the beaten track just beyond The Shore in Leith. It's a little bit quirky, offering an imaginative range of food and booze. It's very popular with locals and the staff are always very friendly and welcoming, the furniture...  Read More



Whiski is a lively bar and restaurant located on the High Street close to Edinburgh Castle. It should come as no surprise that they specialize in the sale of single malt Scottish whisky. Over three hundred different drams are available for...  Read More



Slighhouse is a sophisticated cocktail bar which has risen from the ashes of the highly popular Bar Kohl. Situated on historic George IV Bridge, it has an unassuming facade which gives way to a chic galley style bar and a laid back lounge area....  Read More



Bon Vivant is a chic cocktail bar and restaurant with a laid back continental ambience situated on Thistle Street in the city center. It is a cozy little drinking den lit by flickering candles and sparkling glassware and swathed in dark wood and...  Read More



This small pub on Leith Walk has a slight Swedish flavour. It is cosy, welcoming and has a bohemian feel and a lively atmosphere. You'll find the clientele very friendly and chatty. The music is generally very good and they are open to requests....  Read More



The Outhouse is one of Edinburgh's best kept secrets. Located down an alley off bustling Broughton Street, you will not find it unless introduced by someone in the know. This adds to its charm and to the sense that, unlike some city center bars,...  Read More



One of the best kept secrets of Edinburgh, Brass Monkey is a very cool place to enjoy a cocktail or a beer with friends. The floor of their intimate back room is entirely covered with cushions and mattresses allowing you to lounge beside one of...  Read More



The Jolly Botanist is an upmarket gin joint situated close to Haymarket Station. The interior has a shabby chic feel with Victorian style wall papers, distressed furniture scattered with throw cushions and sepia toned pictures on the walls....  Read More



Bramble is an elegant and stylish subterranean cocktail bar situated in the city center. Down a steep set of stairs with only a small brass plaque to announce its presence, Bramble is distinctly reminiscent of a speakeasy. Once inside this...  Read More


Meet Simon Hill

Simon has lived in various corners of Edinburgh over the last 18 years. He fell in love with the city as a small child after visiting the castle and returned to study Scottish History.

After...  More About Simon