Top 19 Best Pubs in Edinburgh, Scotland (Authentic Pubs)
You can find a pub almost anywhere in Edinburgh, and since they rank among the most significant structures in the city, bar none, here is a guide to the best.
Edinburgh is a historic city with medieval alleyways and a castle perched above it. Every turn seems to lead to one of the area’s many pubs, and every twist tells a different story. when a turn and a twist collide? When that happens, you can be sure you’ve entered a good one. Pubs have long been a staple of Scottish culture, and neighborhood bars, or “locals,” are especially important to local life because they are the go-to spots for Sunday lunches, Sunday games, and after-work drinks.
Ghillie Dhu – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
This renovated Victorian church with its elaborate plasterwork and oak panels is now a restaurant, bar, and cultural venue close to one end of the castle-topped Princes Street Gardens. The menu is filled with the best Scottish fare, including crispy ox cheek, black pudding, and ice cream from the Isle of Arran. Just reading the list of whiskies causes your head to spin and your feet to twirl. Enjoy it all in a cozy bar off the main one or, in the summer, outside on the cobblestone street.
Teuchters – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
Pub food and Scottish gourmet are served in a dog-friendly dockside beer garden. Choose from haggis stovies with oatcakes or beer-battered Shetland scallops on a big, soft roll with hand-cut chips. Pair them with the richest Islay Single Malt, the intense, peat-smoky 16-year-old Lagavulin whisky, or a fruity draught of the nearby Pilot IPA, Edinburgh gin, or both. Its Highland founders adopted the derogatory Lowlanders’ term for Northern Scots by using it for their charming pub on Leith docks and their whitewashed bar in the West End after being called “just a couple of teuchters” when they opened their Edinburgh bistros. The joke perfectly captures the Teuchters’ laid-back approach, showcasing Scotland’s delectable food and drink without resorting to excessive song and dance.
Kilderkin – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
The Kilderkin might have ended up being a strictly tourist-only establishment given its location at the foot of the Royal Mile, close to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the craggy Arthur’s Seat. However, owners James and Jacqueline Nisbet at this vintage wood and stained-glass establishment with leather sofas and bar stools manage to keep things genuine. Locals, including MSPs from the nearby parliament building, are attracted by the cask beers, fresh pizzas, extensive list of rums, and charity quizzes held every Tuesday.
The Kenilworth – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
On the cobblestoned Rose Street, there are no cars; only people walking from pub to pub and sipping hand-pulled beer. Edinburgh students have a custom of trying to consume alcohol in every bar on the street in one evening. We advise you to linger in the Victorian wood-paneled bar of The Kenilworth or, in the summer, outside under the petunia-draped façade for a glass of elderflower Thistly Cross cider or a shot of fiery Aberdour whisky with its aroma of cinnamon and toffee. The Kenilworth serves traditional pub fare, such as fish and chips and ribeye steak with onion rings, with an added Scottish flair if you choose the pheasant, venison, partridge, and root veg pie.
The Dagda Bar – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
Even though the Dagda is a strong Celtic deity, you could easily walk right by this cozy blue-painted bar on Buccleuch Street. You’ll miss out on its genuine, cozy atmosphere, which includes a dark-wood bar and an embossed ceiling framed by a row of beer mats. The helpful staff is extremely knowledgeable about the extensive selection of malt whiskies and frequently-changing guest beers, including Edinburgh Gold from Stewart Brewing, located south of the city. It’s all barrels and scuffed tables, green leather benches, and good ol’ fashioned conversation in this dog-loving, music-free environment.
The Jolly Judge – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
This pillar of the Edinburgh pub scene is distinguished by a log fire, low beam ceilings, the absence of loud music, and one or two off-duty pipers. It is hidden at the end of one of the renowned alleyways on the Royal Mile, semi-underground, and simple to miss. It serves as a gathering place for the neighborhood buskers (who roll up for a pint or two between shifts). Tam, one of them, calls the Jolly Judge “a braw wee place with bags of character” and has been busking nearby for almost 20 years. And his predictions are spot on.
The Athletic Arms – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
The Athletic Arms may be the official name of this bar, but regulars refer to it as The Diggers because it was built in 1897 between two cemeteries and historically served as a rest stop for Edinburgh’s gravediggers after exhausting, back-breaking shifts among the graves. Despite these macabre connections, it is always welcoming. Place yourself on one of the stools positioned around the center bar and select a dram from the 250-strong selection of whiskies.
The King’s Wark – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
The blue-fronted King’s Wark, located on the trendy waterfront in Edinburgh’s Leith neighborhood, gets its name from a previous life as King James I’s royal residence and armory (dating back over 600 years). This intimate establishment is well known for its award-winning menu in addition to its timeless charm, which includes dark wood, open fireplaces, and thick stone walls. In dishes like vegetarian haggis Wellington with whisky sauce and Scottish seafood chowder, delicious seasonal local ingredients are used.
The Sheep Heid Inn – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
This pub, which was reportedly founded in 1360, is thought to be the oldest in Scotland. It is undoubtedly just as well-known for its royal connections (Mary Queen of Scots frequented it five centuries ago) as it is for its vintage skittle alley (which is still open for business). Following your ascent of Arthur’s Seat, a well-traveled path will take you to Duddingston, where you can quench your thirst with a pint of Hawkes Urban Orchard cider. In the summer, the pub is at its best because you can relax in the less-known beer garden at the back.
Bennets Bar – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
Bennets has been serving characters from the stage and the streets of the city since it first opened its doors in 1839, right next to the King’s Theatre in the Tollcross neighborhood. The pub’s original Victorian decor, which includes elaborate dark wood, stained glass windows, and a tier-and-alcove bar, is still in place and gives it a distinctly upscale vibe. Watch out for the tiny jug bar; it was built for guests who preferred to drink in private and out of sight and is divided from the main area by a panel made of wood and leaded glass.
Canny Man’s – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
You’ll need to be “canny,” which is slang for cautious, to get past the notorious sign that reads, “No smoking, no credit cards, no cameras, no backpackers,” which is posted outside this Morningside bar. However, once you enter, things quickly become hospitable. The establishment, which has been run by the Kerry family for generations, is brimming with unique personality. Dim lighting and vintage furnishings highlight the original interiors. A fur-covered mannequin hangs from the ceiling in the front room, and the wall of broken clocks gives you the unsettling impression that you are traveling through time.
Sandy Bell’s – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
Scottish and Irish folk music fans flock to this unassuming little pub in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It started out as a shop, changed to a bar in the 1920s, and has been famous for its legendary “sessions”—loud, foot-stomping parties—since the 1940s. On any given evening, you can find musicians mingling together over rounds of drinks if you walk by Sandy Bell’s. It is best known for its selection of whiskies, which includes Togouchi 12 Years Blended from Japan and Amrut Fusion (which contains Himalayan barley) from India in addition to light, sweet Speyside single-malts.
Roseleaf – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
One of Leith’s most popular bars, Roseleaf is known for its pot-tails (a cocktail served in a teapot) and succulent Sunday roast. The informal Scots menu features “The Big Yin” and “Wee Bowls of Soup,” emphasizing the homey atmosphere. With a few pot-tails in hand, it’s simple to while away an afternoon on the mismatched furniture. Additionally, there is a fantastic brunch menu that offers delectable vegetarian options like eggs benedict, holy guacamole, and “fancy fungi” (assorted wild mushrooms sauteed in garlic and parsley olive oil).
The Last Drop – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
The Last Drop, located in the center of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, gets its name from a macabre incident in the area’s past rather than from alcohol. The final “drop” in question refers to the last hanging that occurred in the region in 1784, right outside the pub’s doors. Separately, some claim that a young girl’s ghost roams its halls. All the characteristics of a traditional pub are present and correct inside, including low ceilings, booths, and button-back leather benches, making for an exceptionally warm welcome. This is a no-frills winner with a good selection of craft beers and ciders, cocktails, champagne, and wine.
Mathers Bar – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
One of Edinburgh’s most down-to-earth bars is Mathers. It is free of airs and graces and unapologetically itself; it has hosted everyone from business travelers to chimney sweeps. It is a wonderful mingling swirl of Edinburgh society. It offers a good selection of beers at out-of-town prices, a friendly atmosphere, and steak pies so delectable they have since become the stuff of local legend, according to the Pub Heritage website, which lists it as “A historic pub interior of national importance.”
The Guildford Arms – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
The Guildford Arms’ enormous appeal is largely due to its diverse offering of real ales, which is constantly changing and is frequently procured from nearby microbreweries. Since 1896, it has been family-owned and run. The interior is impressive, with an ornate ceiling, wide arched windows, plush velvet curtains, and an upstairs gallery restaurant serving delicious steak and ale pies (using Orkney Dark Island ale and Aberdeen Angus steak). It’s a short distance from Waverley Station and a great place to start or end an enjoyable Edinburgh pub crawl.
The Café Royal – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
Here is a bar that perfectly captures elegant, traditional Edinburgh: polished brass, marble bar, sparkling shelves of spirits, and ornate paintings. Try to get a seat in one of the leather booths if you can get past the throngs of people milling about; they offer much-needed peace and privacy as you tuck into dishes like roast monkfish with mussels, clams, samphire, tarragon, and white wine or mushroom Wellington.
The Barony Bar – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
On Broughton Street in Edinburgh, which is rapidly developing, The Barony is surrounded by hip gastropubs. Its unassuming exterior is a welcome constant. Don’t let the minimalist interior of dark wood and the welcoming glow of draped fairy lights fool you; this place gives its modern neighbors a run for their money. The food and beverage menu offers flavors and quality well above its price range, including what may be Edinburgh’s best warm chocolate brownie served with pistachio ice cream.
Nobles – Best Pubs in Edinburgh
The interior of this gastropub, which was founded in 1896, features overt nods to the historic port of Leith. Model ships are arranged in a line along the bar’s back wall, and nautical paintings and stained-glass windows give the appearance of being on the ocean’s waves. The menus, on the other hand, are anything but monotonous and feature some truly delicious brunch dishes, such as fried free-range buttermilk chicken with waffles or a delicious wild-mushroom and smoked-cheddar sandwich on charred sourdough with hazelnut and rocket pesto.
Topic: Top 19 Best Pubs in Edinburgh, Scotland
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By: Travel Pixy
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