Five of the best hidden bars in Edinburgh


Are you sick of drinking in the same bars day in, day out? EN4 News has you covered for some cool new watering holes where you can sample some of the finest alcoholic cocktails Edinburgh has to offer (or alcoholic ice cream, if you’re so inclined).


Panda & Sons

Panda & Sons is not a bar. It’s a barber’s shop. Definitely a barber shop. What do you mean you saw bouncers on the door? Of course you did. All barbers have bouncers on the door. Ok, you got us. Panda and Sons calls itself a “prohibition-style speakeasy,” deliberately set up to look nothing like a bar.

Step through their secret bookcase door and into a cocktail lover’s paradise. Their strict no hen/stag dos policy means you’re guaranteed a loud but sophisticated night on the town.

Hoot the Redeemer

You’d be forgiven for missing Hoot the Redeemer on Hanover Street – a bar which takes “hidden gem” to new levels.

Down a flight of stairs just beside Bella Italia is the funhouse-themed bar, which succeeds at making drinking fun again. Sample their delicious alcoholic slushies, or indulge in their boozy ice-cream. Try the Buckfast and Irn Bru one. It’s amazing. No, seriously.


Heads and Tails

Have you met Flora and Caledonia? They’re Heads and Tails two gin stills. When was the last time you were in a bar with gin stills? Heads and Tails is an Edinburgh gin-lover’s paradise.

For those who don’t enjoy mother’s ruin, the bar offers a huge range of beers, spirits and soft drinks, all of which can be infused with their homemade infusions and syrups. Head down for a more refined drinking experience.


Halfway House

If you can’t stick the thought of having to pick something from a 47-page cocktail menu which comes to you served in a broken lightbulb in place of a glass, get yourself down for a wee ale in Halfway House.

You’ll have passed this traditional pub a hundred times on stoats from the Royal Mile to Waverley. They have a huge selection of real ales on offer, and a true old-fashioned pub atmosphere.


Secret Arcade

If you’re a vodka drinker, Secret Arcade is probably what you imagine heaven looks like. Hidden down a lane on Old Cockburn Street, they stock over 100 different kinds of vodka and even offer a variety of Polish snacks from their bar menu.

If you’re one of those people who has a few Smirnoffs and thinks they’re Fatboy Slim, you’ll love Secret Arcade – they have their own dedicated DJ area, where you can show how musically versed you are about vodka, too.

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