We've picked out some of the best bars and pubs to grab a dram (or two) in the capital this Burns night.

From historic pubs to newly renovated bars, here are some of the best whisky bars in Edinburgh to visit this Burns night and beyond.

Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar

(Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 28 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JX)

The Kaleidoscope Bar. Picture: SMWS

The renovated Queen Street premises of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society opened its whisky bar to the public in 2017, to the great delight of whisky fans.

With more than 200 rare single malt whiskies and other spirits are available at the Kaleidoscope bar each month, visitors are encouraged to explore its ever-changing spectrum of whisky flavours,

Offering a unique experience unlike any other on this list, the Kaleidoscope, in conjunction with the Society, focuses on flavour profiles, instead of distillery or region, with staff on hand to guide you through the various styles offering advice on each dram and where to go next.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) are celebrating Burns night by offering the world’s largest Bobby Burns cocktail menu, using rare single malt whiskies from their 12 flavour profiles.

The iconic cocktail can be varied to perfectly suit any taste as it uses scotch whisky as its main ingredient, along with vermouth and a splash of liqueur, often Benedictine.

The Society’s catalogue of unique single cask single malt whiskies, which are all categorised by flavour, allow for the ultimate customisation of the drink. Whisky lovers can experiment with twelve twists on their tipple with flavour profiles ranging from Old & Dignified to Young & Spritely.

Good for: something unexpected 

Teuchter’s Landing

(1c Dock Pl, Edinburgh EH6 6LU)

whisky bars Edinburgh

Picture: Teuchter’s Landing Facebook

Located on the popular Shores of Leith, the Teuchter’s Landing is a great place to grab a pint, head to their beer garden and enjoy the sunshine on a summer’s day.

But visiting in January, you’ll want to stay inside and admire the bar’s excellent array of over 100 whiskies, including single malts, blends and international names.

Good for: a cosy dram

Usquabae Whisky Bar & Larder

(2-4 Hope St, Edinburgh EH2 4DB)

whisky bars Edinburgh

Picture: Usquabae

If you’re looking to enjoy your dram in historical surroundings of the Edinburgh Vaults then Usquabae is the place for you.

With over 400 whiskies on offer, you’ll be able to try anything from blends to single cask single malts from the sixties and everything in between.

Run by some of the most knowledgeable whisky aficionados in Edinburgh, there’s always a tour guide on hand to take you through the world of Scotch whisky be you a beginner or a seasoned veteran.

Why not take away the hassle of having to choose a dram by checking out their excellent tailored tasting flights?

These include themes such as: For Peat’s Sake – a flight that explores different styles of peat such as Bruichladdich Octomore 9.3 and a Laphroaig 27 year old.

This Burns night the bar are running a special menu for the whole week, and hosting a traditional Burns supper on Saturday 25th January.

Good for: rare finds

The Canny Man’s

( 237 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh EH10 4QU)

Picture: The Canny Man’s Facebook

Established in 1871, The Canny Man’s is an Edinburgh institution and described by chef Rick Stein as “the best pub in the world”.

The first thing visitors may notice is the gantry with its bright red paint job and the hundreds of bottles that rest there.

There’s over 250 whiskies on offer here and the staff are deadly serious about helping you to enjoy them, so pull up a pew, ask for some advice and let the people behind the bar regale you with tales of the pub’s rich history as you take in the eclectic decor that’s been gathered by the patrons of the pub since it first opened.

The team also run a free of charge buffet Monday to Thursday between the hours of 5 and 6pm.

This Burns night the bar will be celebrating with bagpipes, and address to the haggis, and serving a three course meal with a dram for £30.

Good for: a dram and a chat

Amber Restaurant & Whisky Bar

(354 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE)

whisky bars Edinburgh

Picture: The Scotch Whisky Experience Facebook

For award-winning food as well as a great location and over 440 whiskies, you can’t go wrong with the Amber Restaurant and its accompanying whisky bar.

The restaurant, which is part of the Scotch Whisky Experience, offers whisky and food pairings as well as fantastic Scottish Tapas.

Also on offer are a selection of regional tasting trays for those of you who want to get the most out of your whisky tasting experience.

We also recommend you take a look at the McIntyre Whisky Gallery, a beautifully lit bar which offers direct access to the Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch Whisky Collection (described as one of the 7 wonders of the Scotch whisky world).

Good for: whisky enthusiasts 

Whiski

(119 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SG)

Situated smack bang in the middle of the Royal Mile, this traditional bar is an easy find for any tourist (or local) looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the hoards of shoppers outside.

The perfect place to enjoy a dram, Whiski’s gantry is always well stocked and filled with a range that would make any whisky collector jealous (there’s over 300).

The bar provides all day dining which means no matter the time of day, you can grab a bite to eat while you take a seat and decide on which whisky to enjoy next.

Visitors can also book a whisky tasting which are held daily in the tasting room – located next to the whisky shop.

These tastings include: Introduction to Whisky and the tasty Whisky and Cheese and Whisky and Chocolate tastings.

Good for: whisky tastings

Whiski Rooms

(4-7 North Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LP)

Picture: Whiski Rooms Facebook

Taking the baton from its stablemate and cranking it up a notch or two, the Whiski Rooms, which is also situated near the Royal Mile, offer a brilliant selection of drams in a far grander setting.

Perched on the Mound, the bar offers dramatic views over Princes Street and offers daily tutored tastings, a dedicated whisky shop and is home to an Ardbeg private dining room.

From 20-26th Jauary, the Whiski Rooms are serving up a traditional three course Burns supper for £29.95 per person.

Good for: a dram with a view

The Bow Bar

(80 West Bow Edinburgh EH1 2HH)

Located on Victoria Street (also known as West Bow), and situated close to both the Castle and the Grassmarket, the dog-friendly Bow Bar is one for fans of truly traditional pubs.

Hidden behind its unassuming frontage of blue paint and plain glass windows, you’ll find a classic gantry filled to the brim with whisky – over 300 – and a traditional bar that offers more than its fair share of real ales.

With friendly staff and a cosy atmosphere, this is a real hidden gem in the heart of Edinburgh.

Good for: a traditional atmosphere

Scran episode 3: Master blender Rachel Barrie’s guide to whisky tasting

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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