An insider's guide to Edinburgh: 11 places the locals love

A world-class bar and restaurant scene, culture on every corner and some of the best views any city could afford its residents '“ these are just some of the things Edinburgh locals love about the capital, as Alison Campsie discovers

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 11th February 2016, 12:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 12:23 pm
Salisbury Crags as seen from Blackford Hill. Picture: Jane Barlow
Salisbury Crags as seen from Blackford Hill. Picture: Jane Barlow

For cocktails and supper: Lucky Liquor, Bramble, The Dogs

The Dogs is part kitchen table, part canteen and part gastropub and is run from a Georgian first floor. I go with friends or after a private view at the gallery with the artist and staff. The menu is old school – whitebait, macaroni cheese, confit duck leg – with subtle contemporary additions or just as it comes. The wine list is well chosen and very well priced, as is the food. Invariably I go for the devilled ox kidney – it’s so good I think about it between visits.

Beforehand, I may well pop into Lucky Liquor or Bramble for the smoothest martini in town. The cocktails taste incredible but manage, where others fail, to do it with pared-down chic. Simple. Emily Walsh, 40, managing director of The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh

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Lucky Liquor Co, 39A Queen Street, 0131 226 3976,; Bramble, 16A Queen Street, 0131 226 6343,; The Dogs, 110 Hanover Street, 0131 220 1208,

For history and wildlife (and a great view): Water of Leith and Salisbury Crags

I love walking along the Water of Leith from Stockbridge to the Dean Village, exploring the closes and learning about the old mills which ground all the flour for the city. You can also see ducks, swans, dippers and gosanders. I’ve even seen a kingfisher. There is also a local man who makes stone sculptures. I also like walking up the crags in the evening and watch the sunset looking over the castle. With a cold beer in hand it reminds me of sundowners in Africa, though the temperature is slightly different. Vicky Stirling, 46, director of safari tour company Farside Africa

For a pint and a blether: Bow Bar

This place is right in the heart of the old town and is one of Edinburgh’s most traditional and beautifully preserved bars, There’s a wealth of fine ale and craft beer to choose from and an unrivalled selection of malts. There is no better place to enjoy a pint, a blether and a lively night in the shadow of the castle. Robbie McIntosh, 44, actor

Bow Bar, 80 West Bow, Victoria Street, 0131 226 7667,

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For an afternoon with the kids: Union Canal and National Museum of Scotland

It’s good to do something with the kids that doesn’t cost anything and there are lots of free things to do in Edinburgh. We often head up the Union Canal towards Fountainbridge and look out for all the wee boats and the ducks. We always takes some bread with us to feed them. Down here, you see a part of the city that you miss if you are in the car or on the bus. My kids are six and two and we also like the National Museum. There’s so much to see you can get lost in there and end up spending the whole day. David Marshall, 36, founder of Dad’s Rock playgroup and support service

Union Canal, Fountainbridge,; National Museum of Scotland, Chamber Street, 0300 123 6789,

To start the weekend: Brasil do Boteca

There are lots of new bars on Nicholson Street which I like to check out, but Boteca is a good place to start your Friday night. The decor is very tropical and there is usually a DJ getting things going, building the atmosphere. I like the cocktails and people seem to be in a good mood here.

Claire Smith, 25, trainee software developer

Boteco do Brasil, 47 Lothian Street, 0131 220 4287,

For a gig: The Voodoo Rooms

The sound here isn’t as good as at it is at the Liquid Room but this is a great venue. Its got the speakeasy area and then the bigger ballroom and it’s pretty upmarket - certainly judging by the prices, anyway. I’ve seen some great gigs here though, everything from charity nights to touring bands from the States. Neil Barlow, 30, musician and employee at Red Dog Music

The Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register St, 0131 556 7060,

For a lazy Sunday: The Shore

I tend to wander down to The Shore if I want to head out. It’s informal, it’s friendly and the food is good – quite traditional, but with a little imaginative twist. On Sundays, they sometimes have live jazz so it’s a good place to wrap up the weekend. I might have a bourbon. There are also seats outside by the water, so its a great place when the sun’s out. Scott Flockhart, 46, bookshop manager

The Shore Bar & Restaurant, 3 Shore, Leith. 0131 553 5080,