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Edinburgh's Coolest Craft Beer Bars

Home > Edinburgh > Bars | Breweries | Craft Beer | Lists | Nightlife
by India Tyrer (subscribe)
Avid explorer of both Edinburgh and Manchester.
Published March 31st 2017
Where to get the best craft beer in the captial


There are plenty of pubs and bars scattered around the capital, but if you're looking for something a little bit different from your traditional pub, here's a list of the best craft beer bars around Edinburgh. For all craft beer fans, and those who are always looking for somewhere nice and unique to discover, this list will help you discover some of Edinburgh's coolest bars.

Salt Horse

Despite Salt Horses' central location, tucked away between the Royal Mile and Cowgate, I've always found a seat in here. Situated on the fairly bare Blackfriars Street, Salt Horse is Edinburgh's best kept secret in craft beer. With minimalist, trendy interiors, a relaxed vibe, and excellent beer, this is my go to bar in Edinburgh. Think chalkboard menu, exposed red brick walls, and the warm glow of candle light.

And the beer? Salt Horse provides 12 keg lines and fridges full to the brim with craft beer. On draught, you can expect to find the likes of Thornbridge, Lukas Helles, and 11 taps that change daily. Served up in thirds or schooners, I love that there's always something new to try. Providing around 400 different bottled or canned beers, you're sure to find something you love. Salt Horse is split into the bar, and the shop next door, perfect if you're wanting to take away. For opening times and more information, click here to access their website.

beer craft ales drinks food pub bar edinburgh scotland explore culture
Beer garden at Salthorse


When the sun's out, be sure to head out to Salt Horses' delightful beer garden. Think retro signs, a BBQ, large wooden tables and benches, fairy lights, and plant pots scattered around the place, this is my favourite beer garden in Edinburgh. Hidden between a tall wall and a tenement block of flats, this garden is a real gem.

The Brauhaus

Again, a little hidden away, just out from the main bustle of bars on Lothian Road, Brauhaus provides a huge selection of beers from all around the world, and Scotland of course! Expect an ever changing exceptional selection of German, Belgian, and international beers, you'll be truly spoilt for choice.

This place has such a warm and cosy atmosphere. Enjoy a tipple on minimalist wooden tables and stools in candle light, what could be better?

The Dog House

For something a little different, try the Dog House. This is a real funky bar with a cluttered mismatch theme going on. With vinyls stuck to the walls, teddies and skateboards hanging from the ceiling, pictures, prints, and fairy lights occupying every free space, this place is really charming. If you're wondering where the inspiration behind the name came from, meet their resident bulldog who you'll find pottering around the bar.

There's a real inclusive feel to this bar, exemplified by their so called music policy which covers folk, hip-hop, funk and soul, rock and roll, and electronica, as well as live performers throughout the week. A great hub for music fans.

If you're feeling adventurous, try their butter beer. I haven't yet braved it, but as you walk in you'll see a sign that reads 'don't fear the butter beer.' I'll leave that up to you.

BrewDog

Whilst we're talking about great bars with 'dog' in the name, how could I write an article about craft beer and not mention BrewDog?

Although a chain, Brew Dog was born in Scotland. From its beginnings with its first bar in Aberdeen in 2010, to over 44 bars from 2015, the founders' ethos was always to share their passion for great craft beer. And that's definitely what they do!

With 8 BrewDog beers on tap, as well as guest draft additions, and many bottles and cans, this is truly a place for craft beer lovers. For their full list of beers and bottles click here.

Although always busy and bustling, this place has a chilled out, chatty vibe. Situated on the main club strip of Cowgate in an old karaoke den, BrewDog is a bit at odds with its local surroundings but nevertheless a great popular bar.



The Holyrood 9A

Just out of the Cowgate you'll find the Holyrood 9A. With over 20 craft beers and ales on offer from home and away, these guys 'take beer seriously' in their own words. And it shows! There's always something new and delicious to try, and this place is always packed, so get here early to bag a seat.

The interiors are simple and minimal, with white walls, bare wooden tables and stools, and candle light, this place is a great spot to spend a couple of hours enjoying good beer (and gourmet food!) For their menu click here.

The Holyrood 9A is owned by Scottish company FullerThomson, who also have 3 other amazing craft beer bars around Edinburgh: Red Squirrel, OX184, and The Southern (read on to find out more.)

Red Squirrel

Similar in style to The Holyrood 9A, Red Squirrel offers a wide range of changing and permanent craft beers to try, and gourmet burgers. Yum! Find them on Lothian Road, close to Princes Street, perfect if you're in the city centre and looking for somewhere new to try.

We love getting a flight of beer here as there's always so many tempting beers on offer, this is a great way to a range of different beers in smaller quantities. To see their full offerings click here.

beer craft ales drinks food pub bar edinburgh scotland explore culture
Flight of beer at Red Squirrel


The Hanging Bat

Head further down Lothian Road and you'll come across the amazing Hanging Bat. When this beer cafe opened in 2012, they were the only bar in the UK not to offer drinks in pint quantities, offering only schooners and thirds instead. The reasoning behind this was quite simply quality over quantity.

The beers here change daily, but you can expect to find the likes of Cloudwater, Wild Beer Co, Fyne Ales, Thornbridge, Tiny Rebel, and many, many more.

Pick from a wide selection from the keg or cask displayed on the large chalkboard and enjoy a stool or a cosy armchair. Set over 3 mezzanine levels, this place is cool and cosy.

The Potting Shed

True to its name, step into the wooden clad Potting Shed which takes its inspiration from all things natural, to find great food and a range of 18 craft beers that change regularly, as well as 5 cask lines.

Expect local beers as well as offerings from brewers from afar. To see what they've got on click here.

Harry's Bar

For those wandering the West End, head to Harry's! There are so many nice bars in this area of Edinburgh it can be difficult to know where to go, but I've always found that Harry's is a great bar with excellent beers! And what's more is that since 2016, Harry's has been run as a social venture.

They carefully select their suppliers to ensure they trade with socially ethical and sustainable companies and go organic where possible. Harry's is a great place to relax, but if you do fancy a shimmy there's a dance floor at the weekend.

OX184

Located on the busy Cowgate strip, OX184 can get extremely busy, but the premises are extremely large so capacity matches demand. This is a good place if you're planning on staying out late but don't want to go to clubs. Open until 3am, it's great if you want to carry on socialising over good beer into the night!

They regularly have DJs and live music on, so to check out what's on before you go click here.
With countless craft beers on offer, this industrial style space is young and chic.

Devil's Advocate

An Old Town gem! Devil's Advocate occupies one of Edinburgh's coolest locations, tucked away down Advocate's Close, one of the Royal Mile's historic, steep and narrow closes with amazing views down to Princes Street. In true Old Town style, this place is packed in over two levels into an old Victorian pump house.

A great, busy atmosphere, and effortlessly cool interiors, the Devil's Advocate is one to check out. If the weather permits, sit out in their outside terrace space, I love sitting out peering over the Close. They also do delicious food, click here to find out more.

beer craft ales drinks food pub bar edinburgh scotland explore culture
Devil's Advocate


Six Degrees North

This New Town bar was born out of a passion for Belgian beer. Six degrees North brew their own beer in the North east of Scotland and have venues dotted around the country.

They have hundreds of beers on offer on draught, in bottles, and in cans click here to find out what they've got on. The venue's insides are bare and minimal, the important thing here is beer!

Jeremiah's Taproom

I wanted to include a more traditional style pub in this list as Edinburgh's packed with them, but it's great to find one that supplies a wide range of craft beer. You'll find the Taproom on Elm Row at the head of Leith Walk.

The traditional bar dominates the centre of the room, with tables and chairs surrounding it, and stools around the bar too. Not only does this place have a great selection of local and international craft beers, with 16 taps, they also have an impressive range of over 50 bottled craft beers.

This is the perfect location if you're wanting the atmosphere and interiors of a traditional pub coupled with a great selection of craft beer.

The Southern

Last but not least, The Southern! The final member of the FullerThomson family, you'll find this place in Edinburgh's Southside. Tip: if you're going to a gig at Queen's Hall or an event at the Summerhall this is the perfect pre drink stop off.

The Southern has been respectful of its traditional pub features and has married the traditional and modern beautifully. It's a true contemporary twist on a traditional bar. Offering over twenty rotating draught craft beers and gourmet burgers, it' always a great trip to The Southern!
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Why? For craft beer and a good night out
Where: Edinburgh
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