But some have truly beautiful interiors – historically preserved island bars, ornate ceilings, and intricate tilework from the golden age of Edinburgh pub design.
We asked readers on our Facebook page their favourite pub interiors in Edinburgh, this is what they said.
1. Cafe Royal
Cafe Royal in West Register Street has an opulent Parisian-style saloon bar interior which makes simply enjoying a drink a luxurious experience. There is a traditional oyster bar serving fresh seafood dishes and a selection of continental lagers and local ales to try.
Photo: Lisa Ferguson
2. Guildford Arms
The Guildford Arms in West Register Street, New Town, is an old-style Victorian pub which has been family-owned since 1896. Gaze at the Rococo plaster ceiling and take in the ornamented bar - one of the last to survive from the 'golden age' of Scottish pub design - as you enjoy a quality real ale.
Photo: Guildford Arms
3. The Athletic Arms
The Athletic Arms, locally known as Diggers due to its past as a haunt for the Capital's gravediggers, is a timeless Edinburgh pub in Angle Park Terrace. It has a wood-panelled island bar, chequerboard flooring and deep red furnishings.
Photo: JON SAVAGE
4. Bennets Bar
Bennets Bar in Leven Street, Tollcross, is one of Edinburgh's oldest and most historic pubs. It has Art Nouveau windows, an intricate mirrored arcaded feature above the seating, with elaborate tilework showing cherubs and figures in classical dress. Choose from more than 200 malt whiskies or from its old fashioned cocktail menu.
Photo: Bennets Bar