Now that pubs and bars can welcome back customers again in Scotland, it only seemed fair that we told you about some of the best bars that the capital has to offer. However, if you are hoping to avoid the crowds and long queues just to get your drink, then these 10 hidden bars are perfect for you.
This quirky bar is set in the style of a sixties kitchen, and you will wonder how you ever walked past it before with its bright neon sign outside. The bar has an everchanging menu of thirteen different cocktails including the likes of their ‘Mr Magoo’ cocktail which is with Scotch whisky, coffee and caramel corn syrup. Lucky Liquor is well within walking distance of the city centre and will be the setting of a memorable night with good drinks and music (they even let you bring your own vinyl’s on a Sunday).
City Centre (39A Queen Street, EH2 3NH)
Entry to this hidden bar is through a tarot door which asks you a question before you enter, instantly making your experience different from any other bar in Edinburgh. If you simply cannot decide what drink you want (there are so many to choose from) you can have a shot on their Pinch n’ Sip claw machine which will choose your drink for you. If the drinks and fun atmosphere cannot entice you in, then the alcoholic ice-creams and popcorn sure will.
City Centre (7 Hanover Street, EH2 2DL)
The Bon Vivant was opened in 2008 and is situated on Thistle Street, meaning that it is often overlooked by accident. The bar offers European snacks and main meals along with champagne and cocktails in a relaxed setting to give the continental experience of dining. The bar also does regular tasting sessions, and there is even a wine shop next door if you decide that you want to take the taste of Bon Vivant home.
City Centre (55 Thistle Street, EH2 1DY)
Unsurprisingly, this is a very small pub, but the drinks and interior décor more than makes up for it. The bar’s use of old and dark wood along its walls gives the sensation of being in a log cabin out in the wilderness and makes the pub a cosy location for a catch-up with friends. The bar mostly offers beer and scotch, but they also provide high-quality gin masterclasses for those looking for a group activity to partake in.
Address: 94-96 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JR
5. The Permit Room
Located below Dishoom in St Andrews Square, The Permit Room is a stylish drinking establishment that is a little more sophisticated than most other bars. The bar’s décor itself will transport you to Imperial India with its artwork inspired by the Bombay tradition of Parsi theatre. The Permit Room even caters to those who do not drink, or the designated driver, because they offer a wide selection of non-alcoholic beverages. These include alcohol-free versions of Martini and Whisky Sour, which taste just as good as their alcoholic counterparts.
This bar offers cocktails and live music in a game-themed space that is reminiscent of the arcade games of the 90s. The range of cocktails and drinks on offer will not be as wide and varied as some of the other bars, but the fun atmosphere more than makes up for it. It is this more mundane option of drinks that make it a hidden pub, it is often overlooked in favour of bars with more drinks available, much to the loss of anyone who does not go in for a visit.
Address: 180 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 5EA
This retro bar in Edinburgh’s old town provides a cosy setting for customers to have a drink in. With good food available as well, Under the Stairs is the perfect place to stop to rest your legs after a busy day exploring the vibrant and busy city.
Address: 3A Merchant St, Edinburgh EH1 2QD
Winner of Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice 2020, this cocktail bar is a little out of the town, situated in West Port, is worth the extra walk for. It boasts an array of cocktails on its menu that are all handcrafted before you. There are DJ sessions over the weekends, making it a great bar for both night-outs and a quiet catch up with mates.
Address: 52 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2LD
Located at the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town, Secret Arcade is a vodka bar that provides an unforgettable experience. This vodka bar caters to everyone’s tastes and even has gluten- free options available on its menu. The bar is always open for lunch and dinner, it even offers breakfast over the weekends (although vodka first thing in the morning is not to be recommended.)
Address: 48 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1PB
The home of Edinburgh’s Gin, Heads & Tales Bar is an atmospheric location to try out their range of gins, as well as marvel at their two stills, which they have named Flora and Caledonia. The bar is also one of the best places to learn about gin in the city, with masterclasses on offer for £25 on what makes the perfect gin. You will also be able to taste four gin samples and a gin and tonic of your own choosing.
Address: 1a, Rutland Place, Edinburgh EH1 2AD
This place couldn’t be missed off our list. One of the first hidden bars we discovered. A speakeasy that you could walk straight passed and not even think twice.
It’s a great place to bring friends or a first date. They’ll be super impressed with the hip-hop beats and super cool cocktails.
City Centre (16A Queen Street, EH2 1JE)
Panda & Sons is one of Edinburgh’s best hidden cocktail bars and they certainly go the extra mile!
You descend some stairs to be met with a secret bookcase to enter the bar. This bar is so much fun to bring friends and they’ll certainly thank you for it.
Our favourite cocktail is the Birdcage cocktail. Its theatrical and brings the attention to your table.
City Centre (79 Queen Street, EH2 4NF)