Bored of sipping pints in the same local bar every weekend?
Want to impress someone with your knowledge of Edinburgh’s coolest bars?
Familiarise yourself with these ten secret drinking dens in Edinburgh to make your next night out a memorable one.
Panda & Sons
For a proper speakeasy experience, head to Panda & Sons. From the outside it looks like a retro barbershop, but if you head downstairs through the bookcase (yes, really), you’ll find a secret prohibition-style cocktail bar serving up experimental drinks.
Panda & Sons, 79 Queen Street, EH2 4NF – pandaandsons.com
As the name suggests, this bar is a well-kept secret hidden away down a close just off the Royal Mile. Sister venue The Arcade is a very traditional haggis-and-whisky affair, but sneak in the back door and head upstairs to the Secret Arcade to enjoy their vast array of flavoured vodkas in a tourist-free zone.
Secret Arcade, Jackson’s Close, EH1 1PZ – secretarcade.co.uk
Badger & Co
The bar and restaurant itself isn’t much of a secret, but Badger & Co is full of quirky little surprises you might not be expecting. Below the main bar you’ll find a private dining room which contains a secret cinema and a dining table that can be transformed into a ping pong or pool table. Plus there’s a hidden beer garden tucked away round the back too.
Badger & Co, 32 Castle Street, EH2 3HT – badgerandco.com
Despite having been voted one of the best cocktail bars in the world, Bramble is a difficult place to find unless you’re in the know. Hidden away in a basement on Queen Street, there’s nothing but a small gold plaque by the door to indicate you’re in the right place. Once inside, you’ll be treated to some of the best cocktails the city has to offer.
Bramble, 16A Queen Street, EH2 1JE – bramblebar.co.uk
From the outside this place might just seem like a regular pub, but it’s well worth a visit if you love retro games. The whole place is themed around board and computer games, and there’s even a 1980s video game arcade in this American dive bar style drinking den. Oh, and they also serve Butter Beer.
The Mousetrap, 180 Leith Walk, EH6 5EA – facebook.com/themousetraped
Heads & Tales
Another underground bar which is hidden away down an unassuming set of stairs, this is the place to go if you love gin. As well as plenty of gins behind the bar, Heads & Tales is also home to two Edinburgh Gin stills right in the middle of the bar which you can admire as you sip your cocktails.
Heads & Tales, 1a Rutland Place, EH1 2AD – headsandtalesbar.com
The Bier Keller
Frankenstein’s has always been a favourite destination for student pub crawls, but did you know that it also has a traditional German beer cellar downstairs? The Bier Keller serves up a range of draft beers in 2-pint steins, as well as stein cocktails, schnapps and bottled German beers.
The Bier Keller, 26 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EN – bierkelleredinburgh.co.uk
Hoot the Redeemer
As if one secret bar isn’t enough, the folks behind Panda & Sons have created another hidden drinking den in Edinburgh. Hoot the Redeemer has a 1950s funfair theme with alcoholic slushies and ice cream, as well as plenty of inventive time warp cocktails.
Hoot the Redeemer, 7 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ – hoottheredeemer.com
The Brass Monkey
You would be forgiven for thinking that The Brass Monkey was just like any old pub, but if you venture through to the back room you’re in for a surprise. The whole room is filled with giant beds, with plenty of comfy cushions for lounging on and a big projector screen to enjoy some cult classic movies.
The Brass Monkey, 14 Drummond Street, EH8 9TU – facebook.com/thebrasser
The letters PDT stand for “Please Don’t Tell”, so that might give you an indication of why this is one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets. This hidden bar and club is full of arcade games, old-school consoles, kitsch decor and neon signs, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a quirky and fun night out.
PDT Mezcaleria, 23b Shandwick Place, EH2 4RG – facebook.com/Please-dont-tell-PDT-Mezcaleria
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