Where to drink in Edinburgh | My top 5 bars and cafés

Since moving to Edinburgh, I’ve had a bit of a bucket list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to go in the big city. I do my best to try different places rather than going to the same chains we have up in Aberdeen. In the past two years I have found some absolute gems and this list presents my five favourite places to get a drink – either alcoholic or hot.

Hoot The Redeemer


I only just discovered this place last night but, oh my goodness, I think it is my most favourite bar in the whole world. It is themed as a New Orleans 50’s vintage funfair with arcade games and a Tarot reader. As you enter, you’re greeted by a Zoltar style door that reveals the cute interior. Not only is the decor themed but as is the whole menu, there are so many amazing cute elements to this bar it made me so happy. First up, take a second to appreciate the awesomeness of that Señor Scoop vending machine that sells alcoholic ice cream!! 100% recommend that not only bars, but every establishment should invest in one of those. I got myself a cheeky Piña Colada ice cream. Another amazing gimmick is the Pinch ‘n’ Sip grabber machine, you use the grabber to pick flavours (I got pineapple and passion fruit) then you take that up to the bar and tell the bartender which spirit and style of cocktail you like and get someone bespoke that isn’t on the menu! So cooool. I also got two alcoholic slushies – one was a cosmo and the other was the ‘Corpse Reviver’ which is made from Tanqueray, Lillet Blanc, Blue Curaçao and lemon juice. The vibe was so cool and the prices are not ridiculous like some cocktail bars are. Amazing.

7 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DJ



Strumpets is a cosy little café hidden in the adorable West End of Edinburgh. Cross the cobbles of William Street and jumps into the bright and vintage decor of the cosy little space. Not that I have a pet, but the café is totally pet friendly which increases your chance of stealing a wee clap for a fluffy baby! I am also not a coffee fan but my friends that I’ve been with loved theirs and I have to say, oh my god, they have amazing loose leaf tea! Gotta love a classic English Breakfast tea but the real MVP is the Fairies’ Blood tea, so lovely, I currently have cravings. The owner Ingrida is so welcoming and lovely and is always able to give you a chat while you wait! I don’t have any pictures but they also have amazing cakes and pastries! You should definitely go, whether it’s a catch up with your friends or a business meeting you’re after, Strumpets if perfectly chilled and delicious!

35 William Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7LW

Indigo Yard


Another West End favourite here, Indigo Yard is a lovely restaurant and bar located on another lovely cobbled street (although at the moment some construction work ruins a little of the cuteness). It’s a really lovely space, the decor is so comfortable and bright. Shout out to the food, it is a really great menu and there are a great selection of cocktails. I would really recommend this place either for a meal or just to go for some wee drinks. Lovely atmosphere, service and selection. 10/10.

7 Charlotte Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 4QZ

Mary’s Milk Bar


A little different to my other establishments because it is primarily an ice cream parlour however, their hot chocolate ice cream floats blew my mind. I first came across this place on a Tumblr post so it made its way onto my Edinburgh bucket list. I went here with my childhood friend the first day I officially moved to the city. I am a big of fan of the float with Salted Caramel or the Sriracha Almond ice cream, I love the combination because you get an amazing combination of hot and cold, but also a whole lot of sweetness! It is located in the adorable Grassmarket, so if you’re ever in that area it is a must! Beware that its internet following means that it can get pretty busy during the peak seasons in Edinburgh (cough cough, August), I’ve literally seen queues out the door of the adorable Mary’s.

19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HS

Panda & Sons


Last but not least, Panda & Sons, the sister bar to my first love Hoot the Redeemer, Panda is also heavily themed. A prohibition style speakeasy with an entrance disguised to look like a barber shop until you reach the secret door bookcase (which I totally love). They have a great array of different cocktails, a little more expensive than its sister but they are very clever and fancy drinks, I mean look at that gif! That drink was also a piece of theatre! Who doesn’t love getting their drink in a smoky bell jar? It felt as magical as the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast. Both of the bars also offer spicy popcorn as a free snack, which I love. Would definitely recommend this one too!

79 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4NF

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