It’s no secret that I love a good cocktail, and over the years I’ve managed to work my way round most of the cocktail bars Edinburgh has to offer. A couple of weeks ago I joined Yelp Edinburgh for a cocktail crawl and photo walk, and this got me thinking about my favourite cocktail bars in the city.
Yelp Edinburgh have even created an interactive map of Edinburgh’s Hidden Cocktail Bars to help you plan your route and discover some new favourite bars. The photo walk, which includes lots of stunning spots to snap a photo with plenty of cocktail stops along the way, has been put together by Edinburgh Instagrammer @travelswithmyphone and Yelp.
Here are my recommendations of the best cocktail bars in Edinburgh, combining my top stops from the Yelp walk as well as a couple of favourites of my own.
1. Hoot the Redeemer
Hoot the Redeemer has been on my to-visit list for ages, and I finally got the chance to visit as part of the Yelp photo walk. It’s a 1950s carnival themed dive bar which is every bit as fun as it sounds. Choose from retro Time Warp cocktails, Capt’n Hoot cocktail slushies, alcoholic Señor Scoops ice cream or try your hand at making your own cocktail with the Pinch ‘n Sip claw machine.
Having been named one of the top 50 bars in the world, it’s no surprise that Bramble makes this list too! Hidden away on Queen Street (seriously, this place is very easy to miss if you’re not in the know), it’s a snug, cosy place with excellent drinks and a chilled out atmosphere. With plenty of candle-lit corners, it’s perfect for an intimate date night.
3. Panda & Sons
Speakeasy style cocktail bar Panda & Sons is disguised as a retro barber shop. Once you head downstairs and through the secret door in the bookcase, you’ll be greeted with a super cool, dimly lit cocktail lounge. The cocktails are pretty experimental (sometimes verging on a little too experimental for my tastes!) and the whole experience transports you to another world. I’d recommend the Don Familia for a sophisticatedly fruity drink.
4. Under the Stairs
Another first-visit thanks to the Yelp photo walk, Under the Stairs is definitely somewhere I’m looking forward to going back to again. As you go down the fairy-lit stairs to the basement bar, you’ll be greeted by quirky decor, comfy sofas and a list of unique and lethal cocktails. It almost feels like you’re in someone’s living room, so it’s the perfect place to spend a relaxed evening catching up with friends.
Dragonfly is my fail-safe favourite cocktail bar, and probably my most-visited place on this list. It’s the perfect mix of stylish and relaxed and their cocktails are quite possibly the best in Edinburgh. Grab a sofa upstairs on the mezzanine balcony, admire the sparkling chandeliers and peruse the cocktail menus (which are tucked inside vintage vinyl records). The Raspberry Ripple is a must-try, it tastes just like ice cream and comes complete with hundreds and thousands.
What are your favourite cocktail bars in Edinburgh? Don’t forget to check out Yelp’s cocktail photo walk map for some more inspiration!