Edinburgh, City of the historic castle (and pubs) culture (and pubs) festivals (and pubs) music (and pubs) clubs (and pubs) social (much of it in pubs). In our novel, ‘Good Omens’ Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett imply that Edinburgh was created by an angel (its counterpart, Glasgow, was ascribed to a deamhan). It’s true that between the cobblestones and historic sights and shops the City of Edinburgh can seem like a slice of heaven (at least for the itinerant anglophiles among us) but a number of bars in the city hints at its devilish side. Here are four watering holes you don’t want to miss next time you find yourself in Scotland’s capital.
The Sheep Heid Inn
Local Lore says that The Sheep Heid Inn has been around since 1360, making it Scotland’s oldest pub. Located in Duddingston, behind Hollyrood Park, the Sheep Heid offers a great selection of food and drink in a cozy space. Curl up in an armchair by their fire during the colder months, or head out to the beer garden when it’s warm. Whatever the season, you’ll be glad you stopped to visit this historic bar.
This restaurant/bar is so nice, it’s not entirely clear why they let people drink in it. Located on bustling George Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, The Dome features an imposing exterior with columns and an interior upscale enough to match. The vaulted ceiling and mosaic floor, however, belie the sense of egalitarian comfort space manages to convey. There’s no dress-code, and with an excellent selection of reasonably priced drinks (at least for this side of town), you can feel like you are living the high life without paying for it.
An Edinburgh institution, Sandy Bell’s is a good place to go if you are looking to experience some great Scottish folk music. The pub features live performances every night. From fiddles to flutes, mellow melodies to lively jigs, Sandy Bell’s is where Celtic musicians come to play. A word of caution though: this is a not a venue for those who are tired, as limited seating and a loyal crowd mean it’s usually standing room only at this bar.
The Last Drop
The primary draw of The Last Drop is its location. Sitting in the shadow of Edinburgh castle, The Last Drop is smack dab in the middle of the Grassmarket, a bustling and scenic area in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. If the weather is nice, take a seat at one of their outdoor tables, if not, the relaxed interior provides a great place to relax. No matter where you are seated, you will be sure to enjoy the vast selection of real ales the bar provides.