There are still a good number of ‘proper old-school’ pubs left in Edinburgh city centre – and we’ve rounded up 12 of our favourites ones here.
Scotland’s capital has no shortage of places where you can wet your whistle, but as with many other areas of life, the city centre has seen major changes over the past few years – and not all of them for the better.
Much has been written about the death of the traditional boozer, and in the city centre pubs have to compete with a wide array of wine and cocktail bars, specialist gin and rum outlets and craft beer bars.
And that’s not to mention the number of ‘proper’ boozers which have been converted into gastropubs.
All is not lost, though, as there’s still some places where you can enjoy a good pint of lager and a packet of crisps – perhaps with a football match on the telly or a game of pool or darts.
1. The Waverley Bar
Where: 3-5 St Mary's Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TA. Admittedly, it lost a bit of its magic when the original owner, Ian Walker, passed away several years back. But it still retains enough of its old charm, such as the shabby-chic Whithnail & I-like decor, and Edinburgh Fringe posters from festivals long gone by. It's a bar with so much history. Legendary folk musicians like Bert Jansch and Dick Gaughan cut their musical teeth playing at the weekly open-mic night, and so many famous names have passed through its doors. A dying breed, the St Mary’s Street boozer is a throwback to a bygone age." Photo: Third Party
2. The Oxford Bar
Where: 8 Young Street, Edinburgh EH2 4JB. Fans of local crime writer Ian Rankin will already ken this place well, an Edinburgh institution since its inception at the end of the 19th century (1893, in fact). Literary ties aside, the bar is a true throwback to the city boozers of yesteryear. Photo: Third Party
3. The Barony Bar
Where: 81-85 Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3RJ. Broughton Street may have plenty of options when it comes to stylish bars, but for those looking for something more traditional, The Barony is certainly worth a visit. It has some of the friendliest staff in Edinburgh and a real fireplace, and even played a cameo role in the animated film The Illusionist. Photo: Third Party
4. The Cafe Royal
Where: 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA. Styled on those magnificent gin palaces of old, the Cafe Royal is a shining example of grand city bar with an impressive Victorian circle bar, elegant stained glass and white marble floor. The bar opened in 1863 and has remained virtually the same since then; the whole building and its interior were listed in 1970. Photo: Third Party