Top 12 Brilliant Bars in Edinburgh To Visit In 2022

If you’re a student in Edinburgh, there’s tonnes on offer. From culture to beaches to the bar scene and live music, there is something for every taste and will amuse even the most discerning amongst you.   

The Scots know how to have a good time and that’s why they have some of the best bars in the UK. We said it. Mic drop.  

Edinburgh is a city up there for pre-drinks, afternoon drinks, cheap drinks, boujie drinks, basement drinks, meal drinks or day drinks. And as always, we’re here to give you a helping hand and have hand picked the best bars in city.  

 So, without further ado, let’s get on with it shall we? 

1. 56 North  

2 W. Crosscauseway, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9JP 

56 North features an intimate down to earth vibe, food to die for and an in-house gin distillery, which is ideal if you worship at the church of gin as we do.  

As you would expect, the drinks menu heavily favours gin with over 350 options to choose from, all with a recommended way each gin prefers to be drunk! If gin is not your thing, there are a whole host of other options available. From cocktails to whiskey, 56 North will have a tipple you can enjoy. The bar also offers gin experiences, giving attendees tours and private gin tastings, which can be booked in advance via the website. The large terrace is the place to be and the place to be seen on a sunny afternoon.  

2. The Devil’s Advocate 

9 Advocate’s Cl, Edinburgh EH1 1ND 

The Devils Advocate is icon of recent years within Edinburgh and situated within walking distance of the Royal Mile. The interior is a combination of imposing industrial and chic modern trappings but entirely comfortable. You’ll find yourself spoilt for choice whichever menu you look at food, drinks or cocktails. It’s a beaut space perfect for drinking away an afternoon with your student mates.  

3. Cold Town House 

4 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU 


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Cold Town House’s casual and down-to-earth vibes mean it hits the top three of our list with real ease. This is the ultimate relaxed stop for anyone looking for a pint of locally sourced pale ale and stone baked pizza by the slice. There are three floors to this sprawling bar with a roof terrace on the top boasting some unrivalled views making it an incred summertime drinking spot. Head downstairs, and you can even watch the house beer being brewed. 

4. Panda and Sons 

79 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 4NF 


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We know the vintage, speakeasy-inspired bar with a dark, edgy feel has been done over and over… But. Panda and Sons has achieved where so many others have failed.  

The shop front poses as a traditional barbershop and looks completely legit at first glance. It’s only after you wander downstairs looking for the man with sailor tattoos and a handlebar moustache to charge you more than you thought possible for a short back and sides do you realise you are now in a bar and have an espresso martini in hand. Don’t you just hate it when that happens! The vibe, the music and the drinks are more than the sum of their parts. A literal hidden gem in the Edinburgh bar scene.  

5. Hoot the Redeemer 

7 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 2DL 


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 Another day, another basement! But this time, it’s a basement bar with a big beautiful difference.  

A very unassuming, almost secretive doorway leads to a fantastical and magical (literally, the cocktail menu is Tarot themed) dive bar that will appeal to the child inside.  

The funfair theme is consistent throughout the bar and is a must-visit even if it’s just to see the creepiest doll fortune teller ever! Our favourite bit, though, is that they serve alcoholic slushies or boozy ice cream and you can play classic arcade games all at the same time. A true heavenly way to spend your time and your hard-earned student loan.  

6. The City Café 

19 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR 


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This glitzy and glittering American Diner celebrates 50’s American style. Still, more importantly it is diverse in its roles and hats it wears. By day, this is a slick and wonderful celebration of the All American Diner, complete with jukebox, neon signs, burgers and pale ales. The menu is affordable in true American Diner style, but rather unexpectedly, it is also tasty.   

By night, the lights are lower, and the rockabilly style is replaced by a genuinely cool pre-party party vibe. Hosting guest DJ’s on the weekend, The City Café sets the tone for the evening and gets you ready to venture off into an expectant night.  


7. Wee Red Bar 

Lauriston Architecture Building, 74 Lauriston Pl, Edinburgh EH3 9DF 


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It’s believed Wee Red Bar translates from Scottish to ‘Small Red Bar’, although we wouldn’t make that joke to any Scottish people you meet… because it isn’t very good! 

Anyway, Wee Red Bar is a true student icon located on the grounds of Edinburgh College of Art. The drinks prices are the most student-friendly on this list, and the club line-up listings are some of the most exciting and progressive across all of Edinburgh! The atmosphere is always super friendly, and given the location, it is a great way to meet new like-minded students.  

8. Bar Soba 

104 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DR 


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Cocktails X Streetfood X Music – the collab which makes our heart sing with joy.  

This is a true collaboration where the ingredients complement each other and combine to create something greater than the sum of the individual parts. One plus one equals three, if you will. Or, more accurately, Asian food plus cocktails plus student discounts means we stan.  

The huge selection across all menus means there will be something for everyone. Student discounts Monday to Friday means your pocket will be happy. Bottomless brunch options mean it is THE place to start any weekend party! 

9. The Cumberland Bar 

1-3 Cumberland Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6RT 

This is a quaint and traditional pub in the residential areas of the Georgian New Town. Sometimes you don’t need a gimmick or a theme or a niche. Sometimes what you want is the traditional done well, which is what the Cumberland Bar delivered with grace and charm.  

The selection of beers, wines, and ciders is great, and the show’s real star is the beautiful tree-covered garden terrace. The shaded areas make it an ideal spot for a summertime drink. Whether you just need a quiet drink or fancy some proper pub grub, the Cumberland Bar will be there! 

10. The Pear Tree 

38 W Nicolson St, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9DD 

The Pear Tree could realistically be renamed The Student Shrub, especially during the summer term. The Pear Tree’s beer garden is as legendary as it is massive! They regularly host bands and barbeques where the weather allows, the courtyard setting makes for a really unique and fun afternoon/evening.

They also have huge outdoor screens for the summer sporting fixtures too. Best of all, they are student friendly and have week day drinks offers on so ask at the bar for the details and show your ID to partake.  

11. McSorleys 

14 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN 


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It isn’t a student bar listicle without an Irish bar being mentioned. So, as this is the best of the best of the Edinburgh bars, we picked McSorleys, the Irish pub most dear to the hearts of Edinburgers and students alike.  

McSorleys is so very often heaving on during weeknights with uni societies and social clubs frequently attending en masse. The food and drink are at student-friendly prices whilst also offering some variety not often found in Irish bars. Canadian poutine makes it onto the menu and is a personal favourite of ours. 

McSorley’s casts open its doors to everyone from all walks of life and thrusts a pint of Clover emblazoned Guinness into their hand as they walk through them. Everyone is welcome, and all shall have a good time. There are no egos and never bad vibes at McSorleys.  

12. Garibaldi’s 

97A Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DJ 


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A student bar must have three things to reach legendary status.  

First are cheap drinks, something Garibaldi’s can absolutely deliver on. Next is an assurance of crowd-pleasing and cheesy tunes to get people up and moving, tick number two. Isn’t this looking promising? The final requirement for legendary student bar status? It is sticky floors, big tick number three, thank you very much.  

Garibaldi’s reputation precedes it, and you’ve probs already been before reading this blog. But in case you haven’t, get yourselves down there. The cheap drink deals, late-night opening and welcoming vibes make it a great night out without fail.  

Make sure to check the Covid restrictions in place for the venues ahead of attending to avoid any disappointment. Sick of boozin’? Check out these day trips to get you all cultured up and out in the open air.

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