The coolest bars in Edinburgh

Get yourself down to any one of our favourite drinking dens in Edinburgh and have a great night out in true Scottish fashion
It should come as no surprise that a country that does such fine whiskies also knows a thing or two about drinking establishments. Edinburgh is a sublime example of this, home to some of the best and most endearingly unique pubs in Scotland. We’ve tried and tested them all – it’s a struggle, but someone has to do it – and these are our absolute favourites.
The Brass Monkey
There’s a good chance that if you mention The Brass Monkey to anyone who studied in Edinburgh, they might shed a little nostalgic tear. There’s nowhere else like it. The back room is like a giant soft play area for grown-ups, with pillows, cushions and bean bags to lounge on while you watch whatever film is showing that day. Grab soup and a sandwich if you’re hungry and play the vintage arcade games if you’re bored. It’s a slacker’s paradise.

The Potting Shed
When the weather’s as inclement as can be in Scotland, nothing makes more sense than taking the outdoors indoors, which is just what The Potting Shed has done to awe-inspiring effect. Stepping through the door is like finding a passageway to the most endearingly quaint country garden. Flowers and plants grow in between the benches, the ever-friendly staff wear collarless shirt and flat caps and the food is as fresh and wholesome as if they grew it themselves. A pub to treasure.

We won’t make you try and guess what Whiski specialises in. Suffice to say, if ever anyone wanted to create a comprehensive archive of single malts, this is the only place to start. There are over 300 lined-up behind Whiski’s bar and the incredibly knowledgeable staff will be only too delighted to help you find the right one. The walls are adorned with every type of whisky merchandise possible and the food menu is designed especially for those who want something traditional with their Scotch.

The Refinery
Not many pubs feel like a traditional hunting lodge, so The Refinery is unique right from the get-go. It’s so Scottish, it might as well be eating tablet and playing The Proclaimers’ greatest hits on the bagpipes. The glass front gives way to walls of caramel-coloured wood and tartan armchairs. The city soon melts away and you’ll feel like you’re sipping a Scotch in front of a log fire in the Highlands, rather than right in the middle of Edinburgh.

The Royal Oak
The Royal Oak is as authentic as they come, a great old-fashioned pub with no aspirations towards being trendy or capturing any kind of zeitgeist. Instead, it’s a hugely friendly spot where everyone crams in to sing along with the trad musicians, belting out standards at the tops of their lungs, or reeling about – if they can find the space. A giant, warm bear hug of a pub.
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