Best Bar In London To Watch World Cup Pubs and Bars in Edinburgh Have Something for Everyone – Even One or Two Hangovers!

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Pubs and Bars in Edinburgh Have Something for Everyone – Even One or Two Hangovers!

Maybe you’re planning a stag or hen party…Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most popular destinations for indulgent weekend breaks!

For a city of just 477,000 people, we have an exceptionally high number of pubs, bars, clubs and music venues.

How will everyone survive? Well…one reason is that the people of Edinburgh have a real sense of fun and love to let their hair down!

Another reason is the hordes of party-animals from elsewhere who are drawn to Edinburgh to see if its reputation lives up to its billing!

With such a huge variety to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where to go. This is where this page comes in. I’m going to split this page into six sections to keep things clear and to the point – Trendy Bars, Traditional Pubs, Theme Bars, Student Bars and Sports Bars.

Of course, I can’t cover all the notable pubs and bars in the city of Edinburgh. Not even a 70-year-old local man could do that! However, I’ve picked out a decent number of excellent pubs and bars in Edinburgh to get you started and give you a taste of what’s available in this great city.

Traditional pubs

Out of pure respect for the history and culture of my home town, I’ll start with our rather lavish traditional pubs.

Generally, traditional pubs can be found all over the city, however there are too many on the Grassmarket, the Royal Mile and Rose Street just beyond Princes Street.

What was once a gallows, the Grassmarket is now a haven for intimate, cozy pubs with a fun name and character. Pub hopping is a simple task as the Castle side of the Grassmarket is a virtually uninterrupted row of various traditional pubs. Don’t like one? Go next door!

A two-minute walk from the Grassmarket towards the Cowgate and up Candlemaker Row brings you to Greyfriars Bar.

Located opposite Greyfriars Bobby, this pub is the best place in town to learn the story of Bobby, Edinburgh’s most loyal dog, and sample some traditional ale while munching on cracking sandwiches. It is certainly one of the most famous pubs and bars in Edinburgh.

From there, walk along the George IV Bridge. towards the Royal Mile where you will find Deacon Brodie’s Tavern on the corner. Named after the man who inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, Deacon Brodie’s Inn is about as traditional as it gets and a favorite with tourists and locals alike. Be sure to read Deacon Brodie’s interesting story on the outer wall!

If you’re still standing, take a walk along the Royal Mile, where there are plenty of traditional pubs and cafes to choose from. This might be enough for a day, but if you are well trained or in training, head to Rose Street beyond Princes Street.

Rose Street is somewhat legendary as it has the highest concentration of pubs and bars in Edinburgh, with cozy little shops lining both sides of the street. They say you get the freedom of the city if you finish one drink in every pub on Rose Street within 24 hours.

At the eastern end of Princes Street behind Burger King (don’t scroll down just yet) is Cafe Royal, a beautifully decorated bar with a central counter, impressive paintings on the walls and brass fittings everywhere. This would be a great option for an afternoon pint or a bite to eat with a partner or a few friends.

Trendy bars

Although George Street and the West End are known for their upscale establishments and must-sees, trendy bars are dotted throughout Edinburgh.

Hudson’s in the West End next to House of Fraser has only been open for a few years and is a stylish bar with hotel rooms upstairs. They usually keep the lights low, which can create a slightly sultry mood. That could be a good data bar. If your date doesn’t hold your attention, there are many TVs on the walls with the latest sports!

A walk through Charlotte Square takes you to the start of George Street, Edinburgh’s center for trendsetters. Bars such as Browns, Candy Bar, All Bar One and Le Monde are particularly popular. Many of the bars on George Street have tables and chairs outside on the wide sidewalks when the weather is nice.

Le Monde has three distinctive areas, each incorporating styles prevalent in the nightclubs of Paris, Vienna and Milan.

Two of my favorite bars in Edinburgh, Amicus Apple and Oloroso, are located on Frederick Street and Castle Street, which are perpendicular to George Street.

However, their location and approach could not be more different. Amicus Apple is located in the basement of its building and Oloroso is the rooftop bar. With stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, Oloroso is the kind of bar you go to with your partner for a romantic drink while enjoying breathtaking views in the open air.

Amicus Apple, although quite laid back during the day, is a real party place at night with regular themed parties and lots of crazy fun. We highly recommend a quiet drink at their tables outside on a summer day!

If you’re willing to venture a little further afield, I can highly recommend the Medina on Lothian Street around the corner from the Scottish Museum.

I can only describe Medina as a kind of North African hippy-den with style. They don’t make tables and they don’t make chairs. Instead, they have lounge chairs, beds and small stools with holes for your drinks. Expect deep reds, oranges and browns on the furniture, walls and ceiling. I can’t think of a better place in Edinburgh for a nice drink with your significant other.

Thematic bars

My favorite type of bar is a themed bar and luckily we have some excellent themed pubs and bars in Edinburgh. Let’s start at George IV Bridge where they have two bars with very different themes.

Firstly, Bar Kohl is a vodka specialist, stocking over 100 different vodkas from around the world of vodka making, and their cocktail list is one of the longest in town.

The thing I love about this place is the different types of vodka they have written on a blackboard on the wall. Locals love picking a random number without looking at the board to see what they end up with. Moderation is the word of the day…

Across the street you’ll find Frankensteins, the most famous of all themed pubs and bars in Edinburgh.

All three floors of this converted church are based on Mary Shelley’s classic novel, so expect near darkness, lots of electric balls, and a menu of food and drinks to suit your mood. Oh, and watch out for a pretty creepy surprise around midnight…I won’t say more.

Sticking to this theme of darkness, the Jekyll and Hyde Pub is well worth a visit. Probably the darkest pub in Edinburgh, your eyes may need time to adjust when you walk in. Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, this pub is decorated in a creatively ominous way to represent the character of Mr. Hyde. Make sure you find the toilet as soon as you arrive, as its discreet location could leave you feeling embarrassed!

On a Celtic note, Edinburgh’s excellent West End Scottish bar next to the Caledonian Hotel, Ghillie Dhu, focuses on Highland music, dance and culture.

Ghillie Dhu is definitely the most impressive new bar in town. Downstairs you will find a large bar with a wide selection of Scotch beers and whiskeys and liqueurs served by men in kilts. Behind the bar, you and your friends can occupy a private booth with a small, saloon-style revolving door.

Wandering up the spiral staircase in the lobby takes you to the ceilidh hall, where live folk bands lead Scottish country dances. If you have no idea what to do, the singer will describe the moves to you and then you will be surprised how quickly you will get it, how the mood and your dance partners will rock you!

The most striking and enjoyable aspect of this bar is the wide range of age groups in attendance. It is very refreshing to see the young, the younger and the youngest socializing and dancing together. Of all the pubs and bars in Edinburgh, this is the place to go for a taste of Scottish culture. While Ghillie Dhu has a loyal following, tourists will find the insight into the culture, language and dance of Scotland fascinating and exciting.

Student bars

With three universities in the city, Edinburgh University, Heriot-Watt University and Napier University, and a number of colleges, the city has a significant student population. As well as student unions, there are dozens of fun student bars and pubs in Edinburgh. Let’s take a look at the top three.

My student days are long gone, yet I still enjoy a good night at The Tron. The Tron is located just off the Royal Mile in Hunter Square and has three floors and a mezzanine. The Tron is ruled by a video jukebox with a bar that gives you full control over the background music.

Tron also has a “yellow card” system, thanks to which discounts can be obtained on a number of popular drinks. Due to its location near the Cowgate bars and clubs, The Tron is often used as a launch pad for night outs.

A stone’s throw from The Tron down a side street next to the Bank Hotel on the Royal Mile is The Globe, another sought-after student establishment. As the bar is practically underground, it features vaulted stone ceilings.

The bar also features cheap drinks. This makes it very popular among students and travelers and creates a very friendly atmosphere. The Globe has large TV screens at the end of small caves, which is excellent for watching live sports with a group of friends.

Cowgate in the Old Town is very popular with students and young people in general with one of the highest concentrations of bars and pubs in Edinburgh. The Three Sisters Bar is the largest and most popular bar in the Cowgate and has a large courtyard at the front which is often used for barbeques in the summer.

Inside, the bar has stone walls and low vaulted ceilings that create a cave-like effect. The serving area runs the length of the left wall and there’s a small dance floor tucked away at the very back if you want to prop things up. Numerous confession booths along the right wall can be used for more private conversations.

Sports bars

Although the vast majority of pubs and bars in Edinburgh have televisions and big screens showing live sports (we can’t do without our football in this country!), there are a number of bars that specialize in live sports.

The best sports bar in town is the aptly named Sportsters. This bar is located opposite the back entrance to Waverley train station and Edinburgh Dungeons on Market Street.

Sportsters is the proud owner of over 30 TV screens ranging in size from large to oversized, a large standing area that promotes a stadium-like atmosphere for big matches, and an upstairs restaurant serving quality pub-grub. If the game goes really well, there is access to City Nightclub from inside Sportsters!

Aussies themselves may cringe at the thought of a chain of Aussie bars called Walkabout, but if you like rugby, cricket, Aussie rules and ‘football’ then you can’t go wrong with Walkabout.

Located in the Omnicentre at the top of Leith Walk next to the Playhouse, Walkabout also host concerts which occasionally use the relatively large bar area and add to the very relaxed atmosphere of the venue. There is also an ATM next door which often proves to be very useful…

Those who know me well will understand that I must write something about the Standing Order in George Street. Love it or hate it, everyone agrees that it’s a bar for the people and that it’s as cheap as chips for a George Street bar.

What I love most about The Standing Order is the fact that it is a converted bank (hence the name) with very high ceilings and many cozy rooms branching off from the main bar. You’ll meet people of all ages at this bar and it’s almost always very busy, guaranteeing a casual, sociable atmosphere.

Standing Order has widescreen TVs on the wall opposite the bar and when the Scotland national football team lose, I mean play, the projection screen is rolled up, the bar is packed and the atmosphere is absolutely electric!

The sound of hundreds of people chatting, laughing and generally having a good time without the blare of background music is what The Standing Order is all about. Plus – there aren’t many places in Edinburgh where you can get a pint for £2!!

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