From the wonderfully bizarre to the uniquely quirky, our guide to the top secret bars in Edinburgh is a must-read for anyone visiting this bustling city. It’s certainly home to more than its fair share of unusual bars. Some serve flaming cocktails, others are secret speakeasies. Then there’s the places that are only found by those ready to delve into the nooks and crannies of Scotland’s capital.
If you’ve heard the rumour of a rum bar or a buzz about a craft beer place, take a tour of the best secret bars in Edinburgh with us. Travel by train and enjoy no booking fees on train tickets to Edinburgh when you book Advance tickets with CrossCountry.
The Voodoo Rooms
Where: 19a West Register Street, EH2 2AA
Perfect For: Small and large groups of friends looking for somewhere different to drink
An amazing venue to hang out in - the Voodoo Rooms is definitely a curious place to grab a drink. It’s the perfect venue if you want to sit and chat with friends or have a quiet drink with your partner, as there is plenty of seating to chill out on. Enjoy crushed ice drowned in the alcohol of your choice, while unwinding in cinema-esque seating amongst retro décor.
You won’t find anything as obvious as a Mudslide or a Sex on the Beach on the cocktail menu. Instead prepare yourself for alcoholic ice creams, tequila slushies and craft beers not to be found anywhere else in the city.
Hoot the Redeemer
Where: No.7, Hanover Street, EH2 2DL
Perfect For: Small groups of friends and couples looking for somewhere different to drink
If you loathe the streets lined with the same chain bars serving up the same bottled beers and liquor-plus-mixer combos, then Hoot the Redeemer is just the place for you! Hidden away on Hanover Street, it’s easy to miss the narrow entranceway and its mysterious nature adds to its allure.
With their own menu of indulgent ice creams, it’s also perfect if you have a sweet tooth. Try Edinburgh Rocks (Glenfiddich, salted caramel and honeycomb) or a Bourbon Berry Pie (bourbon, short crust pastry and cherries), before moving onto an alcohol-filled slushy or a craft beer. You can make your way through the menu, eating and sipping in surroundings that embrace a 1950s New Orleans vibe.
Secret Tip: Enjoy the vintage funfair décor that includes a kitsch grabber machine!
Panda & Sons
Where: 79 Queen Street, EH2 4NF
Perfect For: Small groups of friends or couples looking for somewhere different to drink
With a strict no hen or stag parties welcome, Panda & Sons is a fabulous venue if you want to enjoy a few drinks minus an overly raucous atmosphere. Truly unique and cautiously tucked away, it’s very easy to miss this bar. The exterior is reminiscent of a suspect barbershop straight out of 1920s Chicago and if you manage to spot it, head down the steps to a bookcase that doubles as a secret entranceway and you will find one of Edinburgh’s most secret bars.
Pull on the correct book to gain entrance; the bar is well worth the treasure hunting effort. The cocktails smoke, the décor is niche, the seating is quirky, and the drinks are served in everything from tin cans to mini milk bottles!
Where: 41 Lothian Street, EH1 1HB
Perfect For: Small and large groups of friends, as well as couples looking for a fun night out
Do you dream of sipping refreshing spirits under the shade of a palm, while relaxing on the sand? Well, we can’t give you a tropical holiday, but we can provide the next best thing. Paradise Palms has a pleasant exotic feel, with a great atmosphere and quirky furnishings; it’s a whole roomful of fun! The rim of the cocktail glasses are adorned with brightly coloured flowers and its soft pastel blues, pale pinks and orangey-yellow hued décor gives it a tropical taste.
Set in the centre of Edinburgh, it has earned its reputation as one of the city’s best off-beat bars. Complete with a wacky offering of pin ball machines, dance-off competitions, bingo games, comedy performances and cabaret shows.
The Wee Pub
Where: 94-96 Grassmarket, EH1 2JR
Perfect For: Couples looking for an intimate yet different night out
Open 7 days a week, 8am – 1am, The Wee Bar – as its name fittingly suggests – is Scotland’s smallest bar. While small in size, it is certainly ‘huge on atmosphere’. As one of the finest secret bars in Edinburgh, the hardest part about enjoying a night out here is finding it due to its miniscule size.
Take a roaring fireplace, high tables accompanied by perch seats and throw in a drinks menu presented on a postcard that comes with a much-needed magnifying glass and you have one fantastically absurd venue. If it’s local Scottish produce you’re searching for, you have to try the impressive selection of home produce on offer here, including a fine choice of whiskys and gins.
Find out more about Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland by visiting some of our handy destination guide pages. If you’re ready to book your train, buy Advance tickets with CrossCountry and take a tour of our favourite secret bars in Edinburgh.