6 of the best craft beer bars in Edinburgh

Looking for the best places to enjoy craft beer in Edinburgh? Then look no further

Published 28th Sep 2017
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

The Hanging Bat

(133 Lothian Road, EH3 9AB, 0131 229 0759)

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveler

The Hanging Bat is synonymous with craft beer in Edinburgh and as such was always going to be the first name on this list.

The Bat is a beer lover's mecca, with many regularly making the pilgrimage to simply bask in the glory of its beer range.

With no less than 20 taps available at any one time - six cask and 14 keg - and around 120 bottles and cans you'll probably struggle to choose.

Luckily, you have several options should you suffer from the 'Paradox of Choice'; first, you can order one of the Bat's many flights and try five of their wonderful beers at once, or you can simply ask for advice from one of the friendly beer sommeliers that inhabit the bar and are always on hand to help.

Some of the hottest British breweries, including Kernel, Cromarty, Cloudwater Brew Co., Tempest and and Siren regularly take up residence on the draught taps and cask pumps, while the bottled beers range from as far away as Japan, America and closer to home in Belgium and Germany.

We also love the fact that they do farmhouse ales - saisons and sour beers - as well as a section lovingly entitled 'strange brews' (and yes we were intrigued too).


(143 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JS, 0131 220 6517)


With a name now more ubiquitous than many of those brewing giants it sought to take down, Brewdog has built its brand not just upon creating great beer but also providing amazing places to drink said beer.

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These churches of Brewdog (well it is fast becoming a cult) are some of the best places to get access to the world's - and Brewdog's own - craft beers.

Situated near the Cowgate, the bar is effortlessly cool with its stripped back interior and laid back atmosphere.

It'd be a mistake to believe that the emphasis is simply on Brewdog's (admittedly great) own range of beer, as the moment you step into the bar, you are greeted by a blackboard filled with some of the best craft beers available from all over the globe.

Perhaps best of all is the Brewdog's diary of tap takeovers and meet the brewers giving you access to some of Scotland's - and the rest of the UK's - best brewery beers and the creative masterminds behind them.

The Potting Shed

(32-34 Potterrow, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 9BT, 0131 662 9788)
Potting shed 2

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Definitely the most interesting in terms of interior architecture of all the bars on this list, seriously, it has to be seen to be believed. Whoever designed the layout should be applauded for their enthusiasm and skill.

Don't be fooled by the stylish interior, the Shed does beer and it does it well, with 14 keg taps and three cask taps, you'll know you'll know you've come to a bar that does beer well. Serving schooners and pints, the Potting Shed has a varied selection that focuses mainly on Scotland but also offers the best of British as well as some global beers.

Interestingly, the Shed also offers some cracking cocktails (made by the Potting Shed's wonderful Molly) so should the mood take you, you can indulge in these as well, all while enjoying the Shed's live music and excellent cuisine.


(32b West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 9DD, 0131 662 1757)


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Usher's is the product of a drinks dynasty, indeed it is named after one of Edinburgh's - and Scotland's - most famous distilling and brewing families.  This basement bar is large without being cavernous, comfy without being claustrophobic.

Offering a stunning selection of real ales and craft beers with no less than 15 keg taps and five ale taps, and a wondrous selection of bottled beers (with access to some of the rarer beers you'll be lucky to see elsewhere), Usher's definitely does justice to the family name.

When we visited they had everything from great Scottish brands like Fallen and Drygate through to more established brands from outside these borders like Flying Dog and Oakham. Be sure to try the Usher's own brand too.

Best of all they have a not bad selection of whisky, so you can have fun pairing the two (we are sure the Usher family would approve).

The Holyrood 9a

(9A Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AE)

Craft Beer

Reading the beers that are on offer is half the fun. Picture: Holyrood9A Facebook

Situated just off of the Royal Mile, in the old town, Holyrood 9a has one of the largest arsenal of beer taps on this list with 25 in total, so you know this is a venue that is passionate about beer.

Looking like the ubiquitous beer bar found in many New York city based movies, the Holyrood is clean, sparse and thankfully, welcoming.

With a focus on Scotland's wonderful array of breweries including Loch Fyne, Tempest and Cromarty as well as offering a small selection of world beers, the Holyrood will satisfy even the geekiest of beer fan's needs.

The Holyrood also offers a mouth-watering selection of food as well as beer flights, so it looks like you might just have to stay for the long haul.

Trust us you'll find yourself lingering here longer than you should and having no regrets when you inevitably do.

Six Degrees North

(24 Howe Street, EH2 6TG)

Craft Beer Edinburgh

Picture: Six Degrees North Facebook

Belgian beer is the name of the game at Six Degrees North, with the owner, Robert Lindsay, having fallen in love with the country after spending three years there before returning to Scotland.

His passion for Belgium’s famous beers is evident not just in the bar's paraphernalia but also on the SDN website which describes Belgian beer as the “pinnacle of the brewing process”.

The Six Degrees North brewery, which is located in Stonehaven - named for its location relative to Brussels - provides a large portion of the beers here but there's a huge array of guest breweries on the 40 taps (you can view the tap list here).

The interior of the Howe Street venue is not at all showy, with minimal furniture and decoration, and plenty of natural light.

The food is fantastic too, with a tapas style menu focused on continental (and more traditional Scottish) classics.

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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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