Top 5 Bars & Pubs in Edinburgh

Katrin Meschin • 9 Dec, 2018

Edinburgh has an amazing bar and pub culture, with many places offering an excellent choice of local beer and whisky – the national drink of Scotland. Ildiko, our local ambassador for Edinburgh, shared a list of her favourite bars and pubs with us, so I decided to grab a few friends and go on a pub crawl! This post is based on her tips and suggestions, with a bit of extra info from me. Each of these five spots is very different in character, so you should be able to find a favourite. Visit all of them for a fantastic overview of Edinburgh’s bar and pub culture.

1. Cloisters Bar

If it happens to be another day of typical Scottish weather when you’re hurrying along the street, trying to ignore the weather as much as possible while telling yourself that leaving your house was the worst idea of the day or possibly the worst idea you ever had, the moment you enter Cloisters you’ll forget it all. Take a seat by the fireplace and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of a true Scottish pub. Not only is Cloisters cosy, but it also has friendly staff and an excellent selection of local beer and whisky. This combination has won the hearts of many locals and will surely charm you as well.

Cloisters Bar, Brougham Street, Edinburgh (exterior)
Photo credit: Edinburgh Pubs

2. BrewDog Edinburgh

BrewDog is a craft beer company that was founded by two young Scottish guys (and a dog) less than 10 years ago. BrewDog beer is now available worldwide, and in 2010 they began opening their own bars. BrewDog Edinburgh is popular among locals as the interior is more modern and alternative compared with the city’s many traditional bars. Its lively atmosphere and cool design make it especially popular with the younger generations. They offer a variety of beers ranging from ales to lagers, and as a successful newcomer on the craft beer scene, they obviously know what people like. This bar is the best place to sample BrewDog’s selection and a good place for a night out.

Photo credit: Ildiko Rusvai

3. The Caley Sample Room

With one of the best selections of beer in the city and delicious, award-winning Scottish pub food, The Caley Sample Room doesn’t need much more to tempt you. On match days it’s filled with sports enthusiasts, but on other days it’s a perfect place for a good dinner or a relaxed night out. Be sure to try the very local Deuchars IPA, which is produced in the brewery next door.

10952887_428808127278178_6239477952336355935_nPhoto credit: The Caley Sample Room

4. Bennets Bar

Bennets Bar is a great place to get to know Scottish whisky. They have a great selection, ranging from smoky Laphroaig to sweet Woodford Reserve. If you’re unfamiliar with whisky, the barman can give you a quick crash course. If you’re already a whisky enthusiast, you won’t be disappointed. Their range includes over 150 single malt whiskies – more than enough for one night, so you might want to come back the next day.

Photo credit: feministjulie

5. The Guildford Arms

A real Victorian beauty. As soon as you walk through the doors of The Guildford Arms you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled back in time. The rich, historical interior features carpeted floors, ornate ceilings and leather seating. You can try some of the best local ales and whiskies here. Located right in the city centre near the Princes Street Gardens as well as the bus and train station, it’s easy to find and worth visiting. The Guilldford Arms is truly unique.

Photo credit: Edinburgh Pubs

For more local recommendations read:

What locals like to do in Edinburgh
Where locals like to eat in Edinburgh
Where locals like to party in Edinburgh

Special tip:
For a more authentic Edinburgh experience, get the Like A Local mobile app

Katrin Meschin
Customer happiness manager at Like A Local. Studying geography at Durham University. Lived in Norway and worked with huskies. Occasionally plays the bagpipe.

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