5 of the most unusual pubs in Edinburgh

It's fair to say that Edinburgh has its fair share of oddities, curios and eccentric places and this of course extends to its pub scene.

Published 2nd Feb 2018
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

5 of the most unusual pubs in Edinburgh

Panda & Sons

(Panda & Sons, 79 Queen Street, EH2 4NF )

Unusual bars in Edinburgh
Panda & Sons. Picture: P & S

Difficult to find but well worth seeking out, Panda & Sons looks, from the outside, like a barbershop but heading down the stairs and through the bookcase you'll find the speakeasy bar that easily rates among Edinburgh's best.

Inside everything is vintage - from the furniture to the books and even a gramophone - except the cocktail selection which is at the pioneering forefront of the city's mixology scene.

Hoot the Redeemer 

(7 Hanover Street, Edinburgh EH2 2DL)


Secret bars are the order of the day for the team behind Panda & Sons because this bar is another that you may struggle to find.

The strangeness doesn't stop from the moment you pass the psychic palm readings sign outside, heading down the stairs to pass through the Big style fortune teller machine to a dive bar that's as serious about having fun as it is about its mixed drinks.

Sporting a 1950s funfair theme with alcoholic slushies and ice cream, free popcorn and old school cinema style seating, you know you're in for an evening of oddity when you can pick ingredients from a claw grab machine to take to the bar to make a bespoke cocktail.

Sheep Heid Inn

(43-45 The Causeway, Edinburgh EH15 3QA)


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The unique nature of this traditional pub doesn't end with the name or the fact that it counts royals - both current and historical - among its patrons but in the fact that it is has its own bowling alley which dates back to Victorian times.

According to legend, the Inn, which apparently dates back to 1360, became a favoured stopping off point for Mary Queen of Scots on her way between the royal palaces of Holyrood and Craigmillar, a tradition that was continued by her son James VI, who is said to have presented the innkeeper with a ram’s head as thanks for the many hours spent using its skittles alley.

Badger & Co

(32 Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3HT)


Located within the former home of Kenneth Grahame, the author of Wind in the Willows (no, really) Badger & Co is full of quirky little surprises you might not be expecting.

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The bar itself is fairly normal but hidden below you’ll find  Toad Hole, 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.

The Mousetrap

(180 Leith Walk, EH6 5EA)


The regular pub facade hides a gamer's paradise for those who love retro arcades.

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The Interior of this quirky pub is themed around games (both electronic and traditional); with an old school arcade gaming area, plenty of board games to be played and an American dive bar aesthetic it's the perfect place to unwind after a tough day at work.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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