According to one architectural guide Edinburgh's famous Cafe Royal has a "swaggering Parisian air". It was opened in 1863 and boasts Corinthian brass lamp standards, tall beveled windows, marble-topped counters and large tile pictures of famous inventors. It was said that this was the venue where Princess Margaret met a certain Roddy Llewellyn. What is less well known is that it was planned as a showroom for sanitary fittings. It’s a wonderful cathedral to the bon vivant – whether on a hot sunny day or a cold winter evening. It’s the sort of place you might go with mates for a swift half and when someone says lets have oysters and champagne everyone says yes!
A really decent pub.
This is part of the Belhaven chain and has a very good value drinks menu. Additionally the food menu is very reasonably priced and very tasty - a step above a lot of pubs.
In the less busy times of the week, there are great deals to be had on food and drink.
They even have a 'Man V Food' challenge on Tuesdays!
The pub is situated on the popular Shore area of Edinburgh (Leith) and feels like a pub that should be in a port with all the nautical memorabilia on the walls.
The Blind Poet is a small cosy pub with comfy, sink-into sofas and a friendly atmosphere. A great place to watch the footy, listen to Wednesday night’s regular live band or test your brain in the Sunday night pub quiz, its walls are scattered with famous quotes while the gents is famously adorned with clippings from certain popular men’s mags.
Below is Khushis Diner, a local institution, which produces fine and original curries at reasonable prices . Bright and buzzing, it’s a perfect place for a good catch up or a pre-show bite to eat and the open kitchen just adds to the atmosphere. There’s a huge selection of homemade curries on offer but it’s hard to resist the temptation of old favourites cooked to perfection such as their sweet, coconutty lamb korma.
Khushi’s BYOB policy means you can bring your own wine, or better still a cold pint from the Blind Poet upstairs. A perfect combination before heading next door to sample some free festival comedy in the Counting House.
If you like coffee you must visit Artisan Roast. Once tasted all other coffee will seem like pale imitations of the real thing. They buy direct from the growers and roast on site. What's more, if you bring your own cup then you pay less!
Probably the best cocktails in town, and it's a great, ornate classy bar tucked away just behind Princes Street.
They serve food too and its generally pretty good. If you're looking for something a little different then I'd recommend a visit.
It's very near Waverley Train Station on West Register Street, telephone 0131 556 7060. Website:www.thevoodoorooms.com
Edinburgh isn't exactly a city that hides its charms: a castle bang in the centre of town atop dramatic cliffs, a gothic skyline, a cobbled old town crammed full of tourist shops, a Georgian 'New Town' of refined restaurants and leafy squares, and several celebrated museums and galleries.
However, if you tire of tourists and want to seek real, everyday Edinburgh, consider a trip to the district just south-west of the city centre. Tollcross isn't what you would call beautiful, but is home to some of the city's finest ethnic restaurants (such as Number 1 Sushi and Lai Thai), as well as the King's Theatre and the Cameo Cinema. One of the finest arthouse cinemas in the country, the Cameo is both atmospheric and cheap, and with several screens offers something for every discerning cinema goer, as well as a much loved bar seeping with old-world atmosphere. The Beckett Pub nearby is similarly atmospheric, and neighbourhood newcomer, Cuckoo's Nest offers some of the cities best value for money drinks (particularly the cocktails).
Heading up the hill, you reach the Bruntsfield Links on your left, and beyond spectacular views across the Meadows to the Castle, Old Town and Arthur's Seat. Bruntsfield itself is one of the city's loveliest districts, a pleasing mixture of vibrant student district and upscale residential neighbourhood. Its main drag is home to several quality restaurants and bars, as well as a handful of intriguing shops, especially for foodies.
Coco's is arguably Edinburgh's best chocolatier, and sits near to a branch of Peckham's delicatessen and an extravagant cake shop. For those who wish to continue, the main road heads down into extremely well-heeled Morningside (though the shopping strip is perhaps a little underwhelming), and neighbouring the Grange and Merchiston, all of which are home to some beautiful Victorian villas on their leafy streets, and are a pleasure to stroll around.
Tollcross is at the southern end of Lothian Road, a ten-fifteen minute walk from all parts of central Edinburgh. The main road, Gilmore Place-Bruntsfield Place leads up the hill to Bruntsfield and then round towards Morningside. Multiple buses to all of these neighbourhoods, see Lothian Buses website.
This public house just two minutes from the castle is a great place to unwind after the day or build up to a night out. It's a sociable place to talk and drink with no piped (excuse the pun) music played. The furnishings are basic but comfortable enough and its location on the endlessly fascinating Victoria Street cannot be bettered. Real drinkers need only apply for a round.
80 West Bow
A visit to Edinburgh wouldn’t be the same without a pint in a traditional British pub. With a handful of universities and a horde of students in the city, finding cheap beer is relatively easy. Three Sisters was the best of the lot with three bars inside and a spacious courtyard.
139 Cowgate, Edinburgh
An award-winning chippy in the New Town. Enjoy a range of deep-fried treats, including haggis pudding or battered pizza with your chips, all covered in an Edinburgh-wide chip shop specialty, brown sauce (half HP, half vinegar, all fantastic).
While the food is good, the range of booze is amazing; especially if you fancy a jeroboam of champagne to wash down your chips.
Henderson Row, New Town
Best kept pub secret in Edinburgh.
Minutes from the hell of the Grassmarket and refreshingly free of stag parties and tourists.
A fantastic selection of ales, cracking selection of whiskies, gins, rums and vodkas, friendly staff and friendly locals (albeit friendly by Edinburgh standards).
A proper, old fashioned free house.
2 Spittal Street, in between the Grassmarket and Tollcross
Cosy pub on steep and curvy Cockburn Street. Loads of whiskys (they have a 20 page printed list with taste notes and prices) and good selection of ales. It gets the tourists right enough, but has a good crowd of regulars and enough randoms to ensure an entertaining time. Get a booth at the window and watch the world go by.
11-15 Cockburn St
Right up the road from Waverley Station.
It is a small, cosy, beautifully thought out bar on Queen Street away from the crowds of George Street. Lovely generous cocktail menu, gorgeous friendly staff, perfect lighting, comfy seats and cocktail menus bound inside the shells of literary gems (the guts of which went to a good home). It's the attention to detail which stands out here.
Weekends see decent house music played by friends and guests. Just don't tell anyone you don't like about it.
Queen St, Edinburgh
Great food, big portions, and reasonable prices. Free internet too, although no printing facilities. Try the chocoholic fantasy on the dessert menu! Mmmmmmm.
1a Market St, opposite Fruitmarket Gallery and Waverley Station;
tel: 0131 226 9560;
This is a typical Edinburgh 'boozer'. If you want to see what a good Edinburgh local pub is like go to this place. There is a good quiz here on Thursday nights where anyone can take part. The banter can flow here, especially on Thursday nights.
203 Easter Road (on the corner of Iona Street); tel: 0131 554 5180;
Directions: take any bus down Leith Walk (no 7, 14 or 22) or Easter road.
Great pub on Edinburgh's Grassmarket. Can I say anymore? Well, ok, I will. Few of the pubs on the Grassmarket are worth recommending but this is definitely one. Staff are friendly and the food is good, and at very good prices. A lunch here would not put a dent in your pocket and leave plenty of cash for drink. I have recommended this pub to many folk around the world and they have not been disappointed.
74 Grassmarket, EH1 2JR;
tel: 0131 225 4851
Still thirsty after a night of partying? At 6am, the Penny Black is the earliest opening pub in the city, offering you the chance to enjoy a wee dram with the city's most hardcore drinkers.
17 West Register St, EH2 2AA;
tel: 0131 556 1106
Up in the newly regenerated Fountainbridge area, once home to the city's many breweries, Cargo is tucked away in a shiny glass-and-steel building with all the charm of an office block. But walk inside, and out back, and you'll find yourself transported as the bar backs onto the canal. In a nice way. It can get a little overrun with office drones from the nearby insurance companies come 6pm but during the day, it's a real sanctuary.
0131 659 7880
Nestling at the bottom of Arthur's Seat, in Duddingston, this pub is the perfect antidote to the hustle of Edinburgh's city centre - especially at this time of year. In its long history, it counts Bonnie Prince Charlie and Mary Queen of Scots among its visitors and is a real, proper Edinburgh institution. Off the beaten track, perhaps, but as close to a country pub you get in the city.
Edinburgh, EH15 3QA
0131 656 6951
Teuchter's is a fabulous, easy, cool and friendly spot in the heart of the busy West End area. It's close to local offices and yet it's full of a mixture of folk who gather for the old favourite tipples and and real ales. In colder climes the wide range of single malts pulls in those in need of warmth and welcome. It’s notable for its friendly feel and old dark wood furniture.
For a central bar, happily, the sport is not intrusively (always) shown as the place is a haven for girls wanting a house white as well as corporate boys and sporty beer folks. I won't stretch you to an appreciation of the Highland title - that can be something for you to find out.
26 William Street, EH3 7NH;
tel: 0131 226 1036
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