View Full Version : Beer Bars in Edinburgh

04-27-2004, 08:29 AM
I have been in Edinburgh for the last 7 months and I am wondering if I have missed any good beer bars. I have heard of one called Kays bar, but so far have been unable to find it.
I go to The Guildford Arms, Berlin Beer House, Pivo, Thompsons all pretty regularly, and I only have a little more time here left and I dont want to miss anything, because God knows when I will be able to come back. Any info would be appreciated.


04-27-2004, 10:01 AM
Welcome to the board. The best one I knew of there has closed.

04-27-2004, 10:06 AM
The Bow Bar
80 West Bow

This could well be my favorite bar in the world. The usually have at least 3 taps of real ale on and they have a beer festival at least once a year. I think there's the ubiquitous Deuchars and rotating guests. IIRC they have 4 regular keg taps, but who cares about that right? Did I mention the 100+ bottles of malt?

The Starbank Inn
64 Laverock Rd

Oh, come on it's not that far out to Leith and this pleasant little boozer on the banks of the Forth (great view!) is well worth it. I think it might be a Belhaven pub (if they still have tied houses) but there were definitely guests beers on. The floor is listing a little to port, but that's part of the charm of this place.

The Royal Oak
Infirmary Street

I almost hesitate to give up this one as it's my secret place. What makes this incredibly wee place so special? Two words: Late license. Wide range of folk music gets played here. Sometimes the downstairs is opened for proper concerts. If my memory serves it's Deuchars and McEwans plus one guest cask.

The Oxford Bar
8 Young Street

Simple, small, and smokey. I love this place, not the least of which because it's the home of the fictional Inspector Rebus (from the pen of Ian Rankin). There's a small front room with a tv that I think is usually just on for the football. You can buy pies from a hot box on the bar. There's a back room where all manner of discussion or quiet contemplative necking of pints goes on. I know they had ....you guessed it Duechars and I think a guest or two. Historical and literary, can you beat that?


Edinburgh has plenty of nifty pubs, well I guess it always has, but real ale and good beer is not that hard to find, as you've no doubt found out. There are some simple places like the Doctors (not the actual name of the place) near the Uni that always have a few decent draughts on. Even some of the trendy bars down to the Grassmarket offer decent brew.

Have you done the Caledonian Brewery Ceiliedh on Saturday night?

Man, I could hop on a plane right now.

04-27-2004, 10:14 AM
Boy, I agree! I could go back there in a heartbeat! I would agree with MeridianFC's comments and would add just one more. If you have the time and the transportation, I would try to get to Traquair House. It's about 30 miles south of Edinburgh, if memory serves...we stayed there for a few days, but you can go and check the museum and see the tiny little brewery where they make this wonderful ale!

Richard English
04-27-2004, 11:48 AM
Quote "...Man, I could hop on a plane right now..."

$600 would do a round trip at present!

And I always found Rose Street the best place for boozers - although I hear it's not so good as it used to be.

04-27-2004, 12:07 PM
From what I can remember, Kays Bar is on Jamaica St (?). A great little place (looks like a small house, very out of place), decorated withoak barells, red velvet and smoke. Without a map let me see if I can help. With your back to the castle and or Princess/Rose, go about 2 or three blocks down the hill and start heading left. Jamaica is a "U" shaped street and Kays is on the far side. If you walk the entire "U" it will feel as though you are walking down an alley. Enter thorough the side or front.

After you get lost trying to follow my "directions" just ask someone.

I agree with Bow bar being great, there was also an old converted grain cellar near the Grassmarket(?) under the castle that had decent beer and a great atmosphere. Live music, etc... I'll try to get the name.

04-28-2004, 03:01 AM
Thanks for all the info...I agree that the Bow Bar is one of the best pubs around here...last night I was at Cloisters (owned by the same people) and had the first porter that I have had since I have been here.
I will get to the others you all suggested


04-28-2004, 04:02 PM

Some of the same info is here (and the review is 4 years old) but it's interesting to see what Protz has to say about all o' this.

If you're going to the bar can you make mine a pint of An Teallagh? Failing that any Atlas will do......

04-29-2004, 07:00 AM
Bannermann's. That was it. Good beer, good pub food all stainless steel bathroom, if that's what your into.

Wish I were there.