By Jacqui Gray


Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities in the world. I lived there years ago and I semi-regularly return to catch up with friends and family. The city has an impressive mix of rich culture, vivid history, wonderful events, AND great bars. Scotts- well, they know how to drink and their capital certainly has some bars to be enjoyed. Tourist flock to Rose St. and the Royal Mile, where there are plenty of fun times to be had but, wonder of the main streets and see where you come out. There are some absolute gems hidden in plain sight, where you are more likely to find a nice mix of tourists and Edinburgh dwellers. Here is a wrap of some of my favs from cool, fun, quirky through to the downright odd bars in Edinburgh. Enjoy!

Foundry 39- A sensational cocktail list and a damn good burger! Seriously good burger!

Edinburgh Gin Distillery – not a bar but, you can learn how award-winning gin is made and tuck into some samples after. BUT forget about going on a weekend; it is so darn popular you have to book months in advance.

The Devils Advocate Chilled atmosphere, LOADS of fine whiskey and another outstanding cocktail list.

The Dome Jaw-dropping! The Dome was formerly a very grand bank so, there are loads of chandeliers, marble columns, lilies, and glitz. Locals come here but it has plenty of Insta-bait so every tourist also passes through at some point. Probably has my number one French Martini of all time! They also told me they are known for having the best Christmas decorations in the city.

Panda & Son Disguised as a barber shop it can be confusing to find. Once you step in the door you see a normal set of stairs leading down to a bookcase – huh?? After figuring out which book to pull from the self (this is the easiest part of finding Panda & Son) you step into America’s prohibition years. Low ceilings, nooks and crannies, barber stools and quirky panda-themed art all add to the speakeasy theme. The cocktails are SENSATIONAL – a little on the pricey side but, I let that slid since everything about this place is awesome! An absolute must!

The Brass Monkey
Probably one of the coolest pubs in Edinburgh! Cheap drinks, friendly atmosphere, hipster students and welcoming locals – but that is just in the main part of the bar! There is an intimate, super comfy, back room that is entirely covered with cushions and mattresses (with tiny tables to rest your pint) where they screen cult movies every afternoon. Great way to spend a rainy afternoon (and there are plenty of those in Edinburgh).

Paradise Palms is absolutely barking MAD but, somehow, it works and I loved it! Every color, texture, flavor, image, and sound possible is here. Just going to throw some of my notes at you because have no idea how to make it into something readable! A ceiling of stuffed animals in a vinyl shop.  Buckfast daiquiris from a teapot. Cabaret dancer performances. Dive bar? Pulled jackfruit po’ boy with a side of cider ketchup. Delicious vegetarian meal. Students, locals and festival goers. Book club for drunks. Drag brunch

Then there is The Voodoo Rooms – just go! Words are not enough.  Just look at that ceiling! Incredible!

In short, Edinburgh’s drinking scene is pretty diverse. Wander the narrow closes and cobbled streets and you will find them – quirky bars, stylish bistros and an abundance of wonderful historic pubs.


What have you found in Edinburgh and loved?


Jacqui Gray

Author: Jacqui Gray

Relentlessly optimistic, constantly curious and with an infectious energy and enthusiasm, Jacqui is a true freedom seeker. With her wiliness to go “all in”, she is always ready for spontaneous adventures and is most grateful for the people she has been lucky enough to meet and connect with, along the way.
Jacqui is a business owner, occasional Offshore Construction Worker, perpetual traveller and student. Her love of French Martinis, dressing up in costume and the beach are only surpassed by her favourite “job” – being a Rock Star Aunty.
For more adventures, visit her website:

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