Drinking, Gambling, Bowling and More: A Great Night in Haymarket and Dalry

Take a short walk west out of the center of Edinburgh and you will find yourself in Haymarket and Dalry. Haymarket is home to numerous upscale offices and some beautiful Georgian terraced houses while Daly is primarily residential with a host of tenement buildings. Neither has traditionally had a great reputation for nightlife.

However, over the last decade that has begun to change. The opening of Fountianpark brought with it a great thirteen screen cinema with the city’s only IMAX screen as well as one of Edinburgh’s better casinos and a tenpin bowling alley. Some of the traditional, and perhaps rather shabby, bars in the Haymarket area have been replaced by lively new ventures such as the wonderful Jolly Botanist.

Thankfully the new has not entirely replaced the old as some of the city’s best loved traditional pubs are also to be found in the area. Pick of the bunch is Ryries Bar situated immediately beside Haymarket station in a charming Edwardian building but an honorable mention should also go to the Athletic Arms in Dalry. Affectionately known as “The Diggers” to its many proud patrons because it nestles between two graveyards, this local pub is always lively – especially on match day!

So leave behind the pricey clubs and pubs of the city center and let us introduce you to the delights of Haymarket and Dalry.



Thompsons Bar is a traditional Scottish Pub situated close to Haymarket Station in the West End of Edinburgh. While others have come and gone, and theme bars have proliferated, Thompsons has quietly and studiously got on with doing what it does best – serving really good beer and really good pies. The ornately carved wood paneled bar is quite beautiful and the posters immortalizing cask ales and bottled beers of times gone by are a testament to the longevity of this pub. Their selection of malt whisky, real ales and guest beers is one of the best in the city. Friendly and laid back, Thompsons is popular with locals and visitors alike.



Tenpin Fountainpark is a bowling and games center situated in the popular leisure center close to Dalry Road and Haymarket Station. As well as numerous lanes for ten pin bowling they also have a games arcade featuring a good selection of electronic games and pinball machines. There are also two pool tables and table tennis tables. Inside the center there is a café, a fully licensed bar and tvs showing Sky Sports. For a fun change to standard ten pin bowling you can take part in "cosmic bowling" under neon lights to the backing of disco tracks. There is more than enough here to keep every member of the family happy for hours.



Cineworld operate a large cinema in the Fountianpark Retail Center on Dundee Street, close to Haymarket Station and Dalry Road. As well as thirteen cinema screens Cineworld Fountianpark is the home of Edinburgh's only IMAX screen offering groundbreaking digital imaging, high quality audio output and 3D imaging. The cinema is also an integral part of Edinburgh's International Film Festival during which time it hosts "meet the actor" and "meet the director" showings of films as well as numerous film premiers. There is a small bar and a Baskin Robins ice cream stand as well as a range of traditional cinema snacks and drinks.



Marcos Pool Hall was quite the Edinburgh institution, but it had become rather faded and scruffy. Now fully renovated and with a host of new features it is enticing a whole new generation of players to pick up a cue. The ground floor retains the bare stonework and iron girders fondly remembered by Marcos veterans, but a whole new subterranean level is teeming with state of the art American pool tables as well as a chic bar and snack bar. They also serve delicious wood burned pizza in their restaurant and have a great jukebox and Sky TV, so even if you are not a hustler there is plenty to keep you amused.



Genting Club is a casino set in the leisure park at Fountianbridge, a short walk from Dalry Road. Like many casinos, there is no natural light inside but the décor is pretty tasteful and the ambiance friendly and comfortable. They are numerous slot machines, electronic games tables, three card poker games (minimum stake £3 and maximum stake £50) as well as American roulette, Blackjack, and electronic roulette. There is also a private gaming area catering for high stakes gamblers and private parties. There is large bar serving a range of wines, spirits, beers and cocktails and a restaurant (which is open between 6pm and 3am).



Tucked away down a side street a short walk from Dalry Road is one of Edinburgh's best kept secrets. Away from the regular tourist trails nestles the Golden Rule, a traditional oak paneled pub with a loyal local following. Unassuming from the outside, it is a surprisingly large bar ringed with comfortable leather booths and decorated with prints of the area over the years. They host an ever changing selection of guest ales and beers as well as a fine selection of cask conditioned ales, wines and spirits. They have a legendary quiz night which is challenging but very good fun, and host regular live music events.



The Caley Sample Room has one of the largest ranges of draft beers and ales in Edinburgh. They serve German Wiessbier, Belgian Triples, American Pale Ales and beers from the world famous Brooklyn and Kernel Breweries. They also stock beers and ales from some of the best British breweries including Magic Rock, Tempest, Cromarty, Black Isle, Highland, Williams Bros and Fyne Ales . The pub takes its name from the local Caledonian Brewery and they proudly stock the delectable Caley beer, Deuchar IPA. The bar itself is simply furnished with large wooden tables and comfortable wooden chairs and benches illuminated by Victorian style gas effect lamps. The welcome is always warm and the staff is clearly very knowledgeable about beer.



The Athletic Arms (generally known as "Diggers" as it nestles between two graveyards) is a traditional bar in the West End of Edinburgh. It is a bit of a local landmark, and has a fiercely loyal clientele. However, it is also very friendly and worth seeking out for its great range of real ales. The traditional bar is beautifully carved and the tiling and glass work similarly impressive. An eclectic mix of sofas, booths, wooden chairs and bar stools offer a wide range of seating choices. They serve decent pub food and have a selection of traditional bar games for punters to enjoy.



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. However, the laconic ambiance should not fool you – the Jolly Botanist is very serious about gin. The gin menu is simply massive, and ably supported by a wide array of wines, spirits and beers. The food menu is similarly impressive and the food is really very good. On a sunny day they throw open the doors and spill out onto the street, but there are plenty nooks and crannies for a more intimate assignation.



Ryrie's Bar is a traditional Scottish pub situated immediately beside Haymarket Station in the West end of Edinburgh. Set in a beautiful Edwardian listed building, Ryrie's has retained is character and charm without feeling old fashioned or dowdy. There seems to have been an inn at this spot since as early as 1852, and Ryrie's popularity shows no sign of abating. A lively and mixed clientele frequent the brass clad bar and their dining area is generally filled with happy customers. They have a spacious function room upstairs and regularly host live music events and show sporting events on their large screen tv's. A wide drinks menu is ably supported by a selection of hearty and tasty bar meals and snacks.


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