5 of the best date destinations in Edinburgh

Whether it’s a nerve-wracking first date or an anniversary night out, try one of these five bars in Edinburgh

A first date can be an awkward, uncomfortable experience which may fall depressingly short of glamorous movie expectations.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a Hollywood world where it starts to snow at the perfect moment or spontaneous song breaks out around you, but a great date location is one thing you can control.

If you’re looking for somewhere a little different, these unusual bars all have something special to help the night run more smoothly and give the date an unexpected edge. From quirky to romantic this list covers some of the best spots in Edinburgh.

Panda & Sons

Disguised as an old fashioned barber’s shop, Panda and Son’s harks back to American speakeasies. Entering through a deserted shop, down a flight of stairs and through a swinging bookcase is the most exciting (or nerve-wracking) start to any date. Inside is dark, intimate and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to grab some of the huge barber-style chairs. The outlandish cocktails list is also guaranteed to keep conversation flowing; you could spend hours deciding which one to go for and when you do they are dangerously strong. This place is the perfect mix of novel and sophisticated.

79 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 4NF, 0131 220 0443, pandaandsons.com

The Hanging Bat

At 11 o’clock any electric lighting goes off in the Hanging Bat and the bar is lit solely by candlelight, making the various alcoves and nooks even cosier. Beer here is the main focus, with many delicious craft beers, and the constantly changing draught beer selection is particularly good. Food-wise, the beer theme is complemented with good quality BBQ food which values local, fresh produce to create no fuss, hearty meals. This is not a fancy, dress-up date night, but the space is intimate and the food and drink great – maybe one to surprise a guy with.

133 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh, EH3 9AB, 0131 229 0759, www.thehangingbat.com

Sky Bar at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

Edinburgh’s striking skyline is one of its most beautiful aspects and the Skybar boasts one of the best views in town. Overlooking the castle from both its outdoor terrace and glass walled lounge, it’s hard to think of a more romantic setting. The bar itself is simple and sophisticated filled only with white sofas allowing nothing to detract from the Castle’s dominating position. The only negative is the slightly businessy feel to the bar but the view definitely makes up for for the presence of a few men in suits. It’s only open on Thursday nights, from 6pm – midnight.

34 Bread Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AF, 0131 221 5555

The Cellar Monkey

If low key but comfortable is what you’re looking for, The Cellar Monkey (downstairs from the Argyle Bar in Marchmont) is the perfect first date night. Candlelit and cosy, the atmosphere has a chilled ‘sitting room’ feel with plenty of comfy sofas, hidden alcoves and soft lighting. What’s more, there are stacks of games to play, and what better way to get away from polite, awkward conversation than a round or two of Jenga? This place isn’t fancy but the drinks are reasonably priced, and it has a comfortable, homely feel. If things are going well you can sit for hours without being moved along.

15 Argyle Pl, Edinburgh, EH9 1JJ, 0131 221 9759

The Basement Bar

Sitting somewhere between a bar and a restaurant, The Basement Bar is relaxed and slightly eccentric; filled with tequila bottle lamp shades, wooden panelled walls and quirky patterned cushions. The Mexican food is simple but delicious and everything comes with an extra twist: the guacamole is made in front of you and to your specification, the fajita ingredients are served on a two-tiered platter with a D.I.Y principal and the sweet potato chips come with cinnamon butter – believe me it works. For a relaxed dinner in a bar-like atmosphere this is the perfect location.

10a-12a Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3RH, 0131 557 0097, www.basement-bar-edinburgh.co.uk

Find these location on our Edinburgh bars map:

Main image: The Hanging Bat

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