Sometimes there’s nothing better than indulging in some midweek cocktails on a school night with your best pals, and that’s exactly what I did a couple of weeks ago when Heads & Tales invited me along to try out their menu. I had been in a couple of times before, but only for drinks rather than food. This time I tried both, and wasn’t disappointed.
What We Drank at Heads & Tales
Heads & Tales is primarily a gin bar, although they have plenty of other spirits, beers and wines too. I made a beeline straight for the cocktail menu and started off with the Mint Rhulip which was a refreshing combination of Wild Knight Vodka, Rhubarb & Ginger Edinburgh Gin, citrus and mint.
Speaking of Edinburgh Gin, Heads & Tales is home to a mini Edinburgh Gin distillery which you can see through glass panels in the main bar. It’s such an unusual feature and definitely helps to make the bar more atmospheric. You can even book in for a distillery tour or pick up a bottle of your favourite Edinburgh Gin from the little shop within Heads & Tales!
Back to the cocktails, and my second tipple of the evening was the West Side Story which combined elderflower, peach and plum flavours. This was lovely and fruity without being too sickly sweet. Louise and Laura both opted for the G.I.Y. (aka do-it-yourself gin) – you can choose your type of gin, style of glass and mixer flavour, and the bartenders will mix you up your own personalised cocktail. They both chose the cherry flavour and Portobello Road gin in a martini glass, but ended up with very different cocktails as Louise preferred a sweeter option whilst Laura’s had more of a Negroni flavour.
What We Ate at Heads & Tales
The food menu at Heads & Tales is quite small, but it’s perfectly formed. They offer a few different sharing platters with charcuterie, seafood and mezze selections, or you can – like we did – opt for a few of the light bites to share. In fact, we tried all of the light bites (apart from the monkfish) and it was more than enough to keep the three of us happy!
My favourite by far was the garlic butter fries which were perfectly crispy and drizzled with just the right amount of warm garlic butter. These would be ideal on their own if you fancied something tasty to nibble with some cocktails, but didn’t want to go all-out with the food. I also loved the BBQ ribs which were succulent, sweet and smoky and the chicken wings which were smothered in delicious spicy buffalo sauce.
We also tucked into haggis bon bons, mac and cheese bites and cheese toasties, all of which worked perfectly on the bar snacks menu. The light bites might sound quite small, but they’re all decent portions and you definitely won’t be leaving hungry. We shared six between the three of us and struggled to finish everything – although we made sure not to leave any of those garlic butter fries behind!
The Atmosphere at Heads & Tales
Located in a basement at the west end of Edinburgh’s Princes Street, Heads & Tales feels like a secret bar despite being in the centre of the city. It’s very dark and atmospheric with plenty of cosy corners, candles and a mix of industrial and vintage decor.
As you go down the stairs into the bar, the first thing you’ll come across are the booths in the building’s arches underneath the street. These are perfect for parties or larger groups as it feels like you’ve got your own private section of the bar. We headed through to the main bar so we could people watch and see our cocktails being made at the bar, but there are plenty of cosy little corners to tuck yourself away in too.
It was relatively quiet when we visited, so we spent a good few hours sipping our cocktails and grazing at the food. It all felt very relaxed and we weren’t at all rushed – after the food I even opted for a “dessert” cocktail in the form of the I Scream popcorn and salted caramel creation (which was amaaaazing), and we chatted over our drinks for a little while longer.
Worth a Visit?
If you love gin, then a visit to Heads & Tales is a must. The cocktails – which include plenty of non-gin options too – are great and the ability to create your own cocktail is a nice addition to the menu. I was also really impressed with the food, which brought bar snacks to the next level!
Have you visited Heads & Tales yet?