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Five of the best places for a pint at the Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh is famous for its plentiful pub options, but which ones to choose? Sean Murphy sorts out the five-star bars from the no-hopers

Published: August 11, 2015

There's no doubt that during the festival, Edinburgh is one of the best places to be. Exhilarating and entertaining, the city really comes alive during the month of August.

The shows, exhibits, events and installations provide a carnival atmosphere, and the city's pubs, pop-ups and watering holes go out of their way to enhance the experience.

Here's our pick of five of the best places to grab a pint while enjoying the festival in Edinburgh.

For whisky lovers

Whiski Rooms
4-7 North Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LP, 0131 225 7224


The Whiski Rooms. Picture: WR

With a great view, an amazing range of malts – over 300 of them – and some amazing Scottish cuisine made using the finest, locally sourced ingredients, it doesn't get much better than Whiski Rooms.

It also happens to be home to one of only two Ardbeg embassies in the country. So, if you're a fan of peaty whiskies and Ardbeg in particular, a trip to the Whiski Rooms is a special treat.

For those who love craft beer

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The Hanging Bat
133 - 135 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AD, 0131 229 0759

The Hanging Bat. Picture: HB

The Hanging Bat. Picture: HB

Dedicated to the very best beers from the UK (and elsewhere), it's safe to say that the Hanging Bat is the daddy of Edinburgh's craft beer bars.

The selection is truly amazing. Be it can, bottle or draught, you might find the sheer range of beers to be somewhat overwhelming. With a great, laid back feel and staff who are always happy to impart their hop-infused wisdom, there are few better places to take a break from the festival and simply enjoy great beer.

For those who want something a little different

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1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL, 0131 560 1580

Summerhall courtyard. Picture: Summerhall

Summerhall courtyard. Picture: Summerhall

Summerhall – or Venue 26 as it's known during the festival – is a great little space, serving as a venue, arts space, studio, distillery, bar and micro-brewery.

Considered to be a go-to space for various Festival events, Summerhall is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a drink while still enjoying the buzz of the festival atmosphere.

Home to Pickering's Gin, Barney's Beer and the Royal Dick bar, as well as an amazing courtyard space, Summerhall is where the cool kids go during the festival.

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For those after something a little more traditional

The Blue Blazer
2 Spittal St, Edinburgh, EH3 9DX, 0131 229 5030

The Blue Blazer. Picture: TBB

The Blue Blazer. Picture: TBB

If you prefer more traditional pubs, then there's no better refuge from the festival madness than the Blue Blazer.

Situated halfway between Lothian Road and the Grassmarket, the Blue Blazer is usually filled with students, regulars, office workers and tourists – pretty much the full spectrum of the people who are in Edinburgh at any given time.

The atmosphere is always lively, and with a great selection of traditional beer, whisky and surprisingly rum, you'll find yourself staying longer than you probably expect to.

For those who want to stay right in the thick of it

Pleasance Courtyard
60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 9TJ, 0131 650 4199

Pleasance Courtyard. Picture: TSPL

Pleasance Courtyard. Picture: TSPL

For the rest of the year it's a rather dreary student union car park, but in August the Pleasance courtyard is transformed and becomes the village green of the festival, complete with bunting, gazebos and more than a few outdoor bars.

It's a great place for striking up random friendships while enjoying a drink and soaking up the atmosphere and you'll be be able to take your pick of the shows the numerous volunteers will try to convince you is the next big thing.

You never know, you might even spot some celebrities.


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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