Famous Scottish pub crawls: Rose Street, Edinburgh

We take a trip down one of the capital city's most popular pub crawl routes

Published 15th Jan 2016
Updated 8 th Aug 2023


The Abbotsford

3-5 Rose Street

Start the night off at The Abbotsford, a legendary watering hole for Edinburgh residents. Its island bar and classic Aitken founts serve some of the best Scottish ales. And for anyone who wishes to grab some food before the madness ensues, even though it technically breaks the fundamental rules of the pub crawl, there is a restaurant upstairs serving an extensive range of stomach-lining foods.

Rose Street Brewery, 55-57 Rose Street

Rose Street Brewery has an ‘open-out’ front which makes the bar part of the street, meaning you can enjoy a bit of fresh air and the glorious Edinburgh streets while you make a quick stop off. Inside, the pub retains its traditional look and feel having originally brewed its own real ales. Nowadays, you can enjoy Nicholson’s Pale Ale or one of four regularly changing guest ales.

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The Kenilworth, 152-154 Rose Street

The Kenilworth was converted in 1904 and the whole building is listed so you might want to take a look around while you enjoy your drink (it’s first floor windows are a particular attraction). Named after a Walter Scott novel, this is about as close to traditional Edinburgh drinking as it gets.

The Kenilworth, Rose Street. Picture: wikimedia
The Kenilworth, Rose Street. Picture: wikimedia

The Black Cat, 168 Rose Street

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Formerly Filthy McNasty’s, The Black Cat is an ideal Scottish bar. It’s featuring barrels, deer horns and whisky bottles give it the perfect twee atmosphere after from the bustle of the city streets. It's home to a pretty extensive selection of whisky so if you’re bored of pints, this is the place for a wee change of dram.


The Black Cat, Rose Street. Picture: wikimedia.org
The Black Cat, Rose Street. Picture: wikimedia.org

The Oxford Bar, 8 Young Street

A short walk from Rose Street (west down Thistle Street, crossing Castle Street) lies The Oxford Bar. Anyone who has read Ian Rankin’s crime novels will be well acquainted with The Ox, as it’s affectionately known, as the drinking hole of Detective Inspector John Rebus. Inside, the bar welcomes you with a homey interior and atmosphere alongside some of the best beer in the city.

The Cafe Royal Bar, 19 West Register Street

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Also a short but rewarding walk from Rose Street is The Cafe Royal, known as a “Golden Age” traditional pub not least for its interiors. The Victorian pub is dominated by impressive architectural embellishments, oval island bar with ceramic tiled wall murals of innovators and impressive windows made by the same firm that supplied windows for the House of Lords. Drinks on offer include six guest beers from regional breweries.

The Cafe Royal Bar. Picture: wikimedia.org
The Cafe Royal Bar. Picture: wikimedia.org

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