The 12 Best Cocktail Bars in Edinburgh

By Sina Torner / Last updated on September 19, 2023

Do you plan to visit Scotland's green capital, full of historical buildings, museums, and buzzing nightlife? Then you simply cannot miss out on some of the best cocktails in Edinburgh.
Best cocktail bars Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a magical city. Every corner and every house in its old town seems to be a sight worth looking at. And there is also a large number of cocktail bars in Edinburgh.


The city center is crowded with pubs, restaurants, beer bars, and other night venues, and it quickly gets overwhelming when trying to find the best places to share some first-class craft cocktails with friends. So, here's the list of the 12 best cocktail bars in Edinburgh.

1. The Raging Bull

The Raging Bull is a colorful, lively, but still cozy at the same time cocktail bar. The decor is a quirky 1920s style with lots of velvet, flashy wallpapers, and marble tables.

It's located on Lothian Road in Edinburgh's city center, where you cannot miss the bright yellow wall inviting you to come in.

The Raging Bull is famous for its coffee cocktail creations, so try one when you are there. And if you plan to go on the weekend, better make a booking.

Cocktails start from £10.

2. Dragonfly 

Dragonfly Edinburgh

The Dragonfly Bar is one of Edinburgh's oldest cocktails bars but was closed and then revived and re-established only in 2018.

The atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back with painted walls, pillars covered in oriental wallpapers, Asian-inspired paintings, and some massive chandeliers.

What sounds like a random mix on paper works perfectly in real life. And the cocktails at the Dragonfly cocktail bar are a delight and make you want to come back anytime.

Cocktails start from £8.50

3. Cocktail Mafia

The Cocktail Mafia is one of the latest additions to Edinburgh's nightlife and opened only in December 2021. And within less than a year, it has become one of the city's top cocktail venues.

The bar itself is divided into two rooms. One is a modern take on the classic 1920s speakeasy style with comfy velvet chairs and purple Chesterfields.

The second room takes you into a totally different world. It features golden palm trees, poufs reminiscent of watermelons, and beach murals.

The drinks menu includes over 35 delicious cocktails, from creative takes on Tiki cocktails to a Black Forest Old Fashioned made with cherry.

Overall, the cocktails on the menu are a little more on the sweet side and start at £10.

4. Bramble Bar

Bramble Bar Edinburgh cocktail

Bramble Bar is a small, hidden cocktail venue in the basement of 16th Queen Street. It's one of the most popular cocktail bars in Edinburgh.

The bar has an intimate, unpretentious vibe. Matching its location, Bamble has the rustic interior of a genuine underground speakeasy.

You won't find the 1920 interior design here. Instead, you can enjoy DJs playing their sets on the weekends. Check out the lineup on Bramble Bar's Instagram.

Also, be aware that the music can get a little loud at times. Plus, you can't make reservations - the bar has a strictly first come, first serve policy.

Cocktails start from £8.50

5. Heads & Tales Gin Bar

Heads and Tales Edinburgh

The official label they guys from Heads & Tales is that of a Gin Bar. But this place is far more than a Gin parlor. 

The day job of the bar is distilling Edinburgh Gin, and at night the barkeepers serve an impressive selection of Gin -and fantastic cocktail creations- to their guests. Also, try some of their delicious bar bites.

The basement bar features steampunk decor, putting stills on display. Combined with comfortable cushioned chairs and sofas and a clever light concept, Heads & Tales is a great place to spend an evening.

Cocktails are around £10.

6. The Last Word Saloon 

Last Saloon Bar Edinburgh

The Last Word Saloon is located on St. Stephen Street and is brought to you by the guys who run the Bramble Bar.

It has a more stylish interior than Bramble Bar, with armchairs, a working fireplace, and decor that reminds me of a hunting lodge.

They offer a great selection of craft cocktails, beer, and wine. Of course, the namesake cocktail - the Last Word- tops the menu.

During the weekends you can enjoy beautiful live music. -Keep that in mind when making your reservations and expecting an evening of relaxed, quiet talks.

Cocktails start from £7.5

7. Three Marys Bar

Located near the shoreline of the Firth of Forth in Leith, Three Marys Bar is another bar that opened in 2021. It's a 2-mile ride -or walk- from the city center. But it's well worth the way.

The interior is elegant, with floral wallpapers, parquet flooring, and upholstered bar chairs in yellow velvet.

You can find classics and modern creations on the cocktail menu, all presented most appealingly. Just what you want from such a truly amazing cocktail bar.

Cocktails start from £7.50.

8. Panda & Sons

Located on Queen Street, Panda & Sons is one, if not the most popular and most frequented cocktail bar in Edinburgh.

The speakeasy is disguised as a barbershop. But behind its doors, you get into a surprisingly spacious, honest, and inviting bar. Don't get fooled by the pub-like atmosphere. The cocktails at Panda & Sons are absolutely sensational.

People like to describe it as a hidden gem or think it's an insider's tip. And if it weren't for the internet, they might be right. However, it is for the Internet, so it's far from a secret location, so making a booking is recommendable.

Cocktails are between £9 and £10.

9. Bar Tonic

Bar Tonic Edinburgh

Bar Tonic is a small cocktail bar just off George Street, near Edinburgh's old town. The place has a cozy feeling, and the staff is always welcoming.

You get entertained by live DJ performances from Thursday through Sunday while sipping excellent drinks. And what's even better, you can fill out this form on Tonic Bar's website before your visit for their Gold Card discounts.

The cocktail menu is -smartly and conveniently- categorized into six different flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, umami, herbal, and classic.

Cocktails from the menu are £10.50 each.

10. Hey Palu

Hey Palu Edinburgh

Hey Palu Bar is an Italy-themed cocktail and drinks bar on Bread Street in the city center. Palu is short for Palumbo, the surname of Alex, one of the three owners.

The bar opened in 2019. You can find a great selection of drinks in the Italian aperitivo style. Almost all cocktails feature bittersweet Amari, including Vermouth, and bring a bit of la dolce vita to Scotland's capital.

The modern interior is divided into a bar area where you can sit for an after-work spritz or a pre-dinner aperitivo. And then, there's the comfortable sitting area where you can spend an evening.

Cocktails are between £9 and £10.

11. Scotch Whisky Bar 

This bar is located inside the prestigious Balmoral Hotel on 1st Princess St. with its iconic clock tower. Queen Mum was one of the regular visitors - find out about her favorite cocktail, named after her here.

What's more, J.K. Rowling secretly finished the 7th Harry Potter novel in a room in a Victorian building.

But now to the bar itself! As the name suggests, the Scotch Whisky Bar is not so much a cocktail bar as a sanctuary for myriad Scotch Whiskies. In fact, it houses one of the largest collections in Edinburgh.

So, if you want to sip an outstanding instead of a cocktail, the Scotch Whisky Bar at Balmoral is the place.

12. The Bon Vivant

The Bon Viviant Edinburgh

Opened in 2008, the Bon Vivant offers fine dining in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. From smoked mackerel pâté to duck leg, the food you get is sensational, and the prices are fair. 

You can also try a Haggis here, the controversial Scottish national dish. -A pudding, traditionally made with sheep's pluck. It also includes the lungs, making it illegal in the USA.

Anyway… The Bon Vivant also has an impressive wine menu and serves fantastic mixed drinks. All drinks look perfectly elegant and can effortlessly keep up with what you get in a classic cocktail bar.

Cocktails start from £7; wine by the glass from £5.

More Bar Recommendations

Do you plan to visit other cities famous for their bar scene? Then are our recommendations for cocktail bars in some of Europe's most beautiful cities:

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