The 7 best Whisky Bars in Edinburgh during the Fringe (according to a Fringe veteran)

Fringe veteran, performer and whisky writer Felipe Schrieberg gives us an experts guide to the best whisky bars in Edinburgh during the Fringe.

Published 23rd Aug 2018
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The frontman for Edinburgh blues band The Blueswater, Felipe is the
producer for the Blueswater Presents shows at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe.

He also writes about whisky for Forbes,, and other publications.

Here he picks out the best places to get a dram during the Edinburgh Festival.

Jeffrey St. Whisky and Tobacco

(The Old Town: 12-14 Jeffrey St, Edinburgh EH1 1DT)

Picture: TripAdvisor

Is it cheating to start this list with a shop, rather than a bar? I’ve included the good people from the Jeffrey St. team because not only can you drop by for an organised tasting but also if you ask nicely you can have a seat and enjoy a selection of whiskies that you can’t find in any other Edinburgh bar.

They specialise in odd and obscure independent releases so make sure you try some of these.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society Kaleidoscope Bar

(The New Town: 28 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JX)

This is one of the few venues out there where non-members can enjoy the whiskies of the members-only Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Located in New Town, it’s a short walk from the centre and boasts a delicious unique selection of over 200 single cask, cask strength single malts, in addition to some rums, congnacs, and brandies.

Isle of Tiree Distillery to release first single malt whisky


The Abbey

(Newington: 65 S Clerk St, Edinburgh EH8 9PP) 

Picture: TripAdvisor

This underrated gem of a pub is located in Newington, and has some of the cheapest prices available for a dram as well as a respectable selection (200+ whiskies) that features a range of flight options. The food, pretty standard pub fare, is also excellent.

Bow Bar

(The Old Town: 80 W Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2HH ) 

Black Friday deals: 12 whiskies under £100 to buy this November - including Lagavulin and Aberlour

There’s a quite a few whisky bars just off the Royal Mile and most of them are pretty good but I’d pick this one over the others. A selection of 300+ whiskies in a cosy pub setting. Also boasts some excellent local draught ales and beers. Expect it to be pretty crowded during the Fringe though.


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

Picture: TripAdvisor

Usquabae is a large speakeasy-style bar and restaurant located just off the west end of the bustling Princes St. It’s the classiest-looking space of this bunch, serving phenomenal food and cocktails in addition to a majestic whisky list.


(Old Town: 32b W Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DD)  

Christmas 2023: 10 whiskies for under £60

Usher’s probably has the worst selection of whisky on this selection (though acceptable for a regular Scottish pub), and would never be included in any respectable whisky bar list. The reason to come here is historical. The building that houses Usher’s used to belong to the Usher family business, the clan responsible for spreading blended whisky around the world in the 19 th century. It used to serve as both offices and as a warehouse (which is now a beer garden). How can you resist drinking a blended whisky here? The answer is you shouldn’t.

The Jazz Bar

(Old Town: 1 Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1HR) 

Picture: TripAdvisor

The best live music venue in town also boasts a lovely selection of whiskies, from humble but lovely blends such as Black Bottle to higher end stuff like Glenfarclas 21.

There is nowhere else can you get a quality dram while listening to the best jazz in the country, or maybe catch one of the house bands playing the best funk after midnight.


• Visit to find out more about The Blueswater’s programming during the Edinburgh Fringe.

Copyright ©2023 National World Publishing Ltd
Cookie SettingsTerms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy
crosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram