10 of the cosiest pubs and bars in Edinburgh

From traditional pubs to candle-lit cocktail bars, Edinburgh has plenty of welcoming spots to enjoy a drink when it gets a bit colder outside.

Published 23rd Oct 2017
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

Take refuge on a dark night and visit one of these cosy pubs and bars to warm yourself up in no time.

The Royal Oak

(1 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT )

cosiest pubs

Live music is a regular occurrence at The Royal Oak. Picture: TSPL

The Royal Oak is a famous, no-frills pub which is the perfect place to enjoy a pint of real ale or a dram of whisky.

As well as comfortable surroundings and a roaring open fire, The Royal Oak is also one of the best folk music pubs in the city with regular live music and folk sessions.

Under the Stairs

(3A Merchant Street, EH1 2QD )


Tucked away in an Old Town basement, twinkling fairy lights will lead you down to the entrance of shabby chic cocktail bar, Under the Stairs.

The eclectic decor features comfy retro sofas and plenty of cosy corners to relax in, along with some expertly mixed signature cocktails.

Joseph Pearce’s

(23 Elm Row, EH7 4AA)

Joseph Pearce’s is a great place to stop for a pint on Elm Row. Picture: TSPL

Embrace the Scandinavian ‘hygge’ trend and visit relaxed Swedish bar, Joseph Pearce’s, for a perfectly cosy experience.

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The welcoming, chilled out bar area feels more like someone’s living room, so you can spend a few hours enjoying drinks or tucking into a smorgasbord platter.

The Jolly Judge

(7 James Court, 493 Lawnmarket, EH1 2PB)


The Jolly Judge, tucked away off the Royal Mile, is just about as traditional as an Edinburgh pub can get.

Expect low beamed ceilings, a roaring log fire, relaxed atmosphere and plenty of real ale, malt whisky and pub grub lunches. A local favourite, and for good reason.

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The Hanging Bat

(133 Lothian Road, EH3 9AB)


If you’re looking for a cosy, relaxed bar with a modern twist, try The Hanging Bat.

The bar specialises in craft beer (with an ever-changing selection of 20 draught beers, as well as plenty of bottles), and the rustic exposed brick and wooden decor lends to The Hanging Bat’s cosy feel.

The Ba’ Bar

(4 West Coates, EH12 5JQ)

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Located in the recently refurbished Dunstane House, a boutique hotel in the West End, the stylish and atmospheric Ba’ Bar is inspired by the owners’ Orkney heritage.

Grab an armchair by the fire and enjoy the large selection of whisky, with over 70 varieties of rare, vintage and unusual malt whiskies available by the glass.

The Granary

(32-34 Shore, EH6 6QN)


Overlooking The Shore, The Granary is a homely pub and restaurant which is ideal for casual, all-day dining and drinking.

From a Sunday roast at the weekend to after-work drinks, the friendly atmosphere, rustic decor and comfort food menu all help to make The Granary a charming, cosy spot.

The Bow Bar

(80 West Bow, EH1 2HH)

cosiest pubs

Picture: contributed

The Bow Bar in Edinburgh (Photo: Contributed)

Traditional pub, The Bow Bar, is the perfect place for whisky connoisseurs and real ale aficionados to enjoy a drink. And was recently named the best pub in Scotland.

Everything here is simple and classic, from the traditional dark wood bar and bench seating to the lunch menu which consists only of pies.

Heads & Tales

(1a Rutland Place, EH1 2AD)


Hidden away underground in the bustling West End, Heads & Tales is a dark, atmospheric bar with a speakeasy vibe.

Specialising in gin (with an Edinburgh Gin still right in the heart of the bar), Heads & Tales offers perfect G&T serves and potent cocktails to enjoy from the comfort of a leather Chesterfield armchair.


(47-49 Deanhaugh Street, EH4 1LR)


Stockbridge neighbourhood pub Hector’s is the perfect mix between a buzzing city bar and a friendly village local.

There’s real ale and seasonal pub grub, including traditional Sunday roasts, and there’s even a weekly pub quiz to keep you entertained on long, dark evenings.

• This article originally appeared on our sister site the inews

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Gillian is a writer and blogger from Edinburgh, with a penchant for drinking cocktails, exploring the city's independent shops and trying out as many new restaurants as possible.
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