Despite Salt Horses’ central location, tucked away between the Royal Mile and Cowgate, it is somewhat of a hidden gem. This means you can almost always find a seat, yippee!
Salt Horse is Edinburgh’s best kept secret when it comes to craft beer. With minimalist, trendy interiors, a relaxed vibe, and an excellent choice of ever rotating beer, this is my go to bar in Edinburgh. Think chalkboard menu, red brick walls, and candle light.
Salt Horse provide 12 keg lines and fridges full to the brim with craft beer. On draught you can expect to find the likes of Thornbridge, Lukas Helles, and 11 taps that change daily. Salt Horse serve up the goods in schooners (or two thirds) which to me just means an excuse to try even more. Anyone else?
Providing around 400 different bottled or canned beers, you’re sure to find something you love. For opening times and more information, click here to access their website.
When the sun’s out, be sure to head out to Salt Horses’ delightful beer garden. Think retro signs, a BBQ, large wooden tables, benches, fairy lights, and plant pots galore. I’d go so far as to say this is my favourite beer garden in Edinburgh! Tucked between a towering wall and mighty tenement block, this garden is a real gem and comes complete with a real cool vibe.
Again, a little hidden away, just out from the main bustle of bars on Lothian Road, Brauhaus provides a huge selection of beers from all around the world, (and Scotland of course!)
With an ever-changing, exceptional selection of German, Belgian, and international beers, you’ll be truly spoilt for choice.
This place comes complete with a warm and cosy atmosphere, perfect for those chilly winter days. Enjoy a tipple on minimalist wooden tables, beer barrels for stools and candle light, what could be better?
Devil’s Advocate is yet another Old Town gem. This bar occupies one of Edinburgh’s coolest locations, tucked away down Advocate’s Close, one of the Royal Mile’s many historic, narrow closes with amazing views down to Princes Street.
In true Old Town style this place is crammed in over two levels into an old Victorian pump house. A bustling, busy atmosphere, and effortlessly cool interiors, the Devil’s Advocate is one to check out. If the weather permits, how about enjoying their outside terrace?
They also do delicious food, click here to find out more.
The Dog House
For something a little different, head to the Southside and try the Dog House. This is a real funky bar with a cluttered mismatch theme going on. Think vinyls stuck to the walls, teddies and skateboards hanging from the ceiling, and pictures, prints, and fairy lights occupying every free space. Jam packed it may be, but it all adds to the charm.
If you’re lucky you’ll bump into the bar’s resident bull dog, who can often be found chilling in the bar.
There’s a real inclusive feel to this bar, exemplified by their so called music policy which covers folk, hip-hop, funk and soul, rock and roll, and electronica, as well as live performers throughout the week. Whatever your tastes, they’ve got it covered.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try their butter beer. I haven’t yet braved it, but as you walk in you’ll see a sign that reads ‘don’t fear the butter beer.’ I’ll leave that up to you.
No craft beer guide is complete without mentioning BrewDog.
Although a chain, Brew Dog was in fact born in Scotland. With its first bar in Aberdeen in 2010, the craft beer giants now have over 44 bars. The founders’ ethos was always to share their passion for great craft beer. And that’s definitely what they do!
With 8 BrewDog beers on tap, as well as guest draft additions, many bottles and cans, this is truly a place for craft beer lovers. For their full list of beers and bottles click here.
Although always busy and bustling, this place has a chilled out, chatty vibe. Situated on the main club strip of Cowgate in an old karaoke den, BrewDog is a bit at odds with its local surroundings but nevertheless a great popular bar.
The Holyrood 9A
Just of the Cowgate you’ll find the Holyrood 9A. With over 20 craft beers and ales on offer from home and away, these guys ‘take beer seriously’ (their words not min) and it shows!
There’s always something new and delicious to try, from the hoppy, bitter to the outright adventurous.
The interiors are simple and minimal, think white walls, stripped wood and candle light. They let the beer do the talking.
The Holyrood 9A is owned by Scottish company FullerThomson, who also have 3 other amazing craft beer bars around Edinburgh: Red Squirrel, OX184, and The Southern.
Similar in style to The Holyrood 9A, Red Squirrel offers a wide range of changing and permanent craft beers. Plus, they’re renowned for their gourmet burgers, so if you’re feeling peckish this is the place to go.
You’ll find these guys on Lothian Road, just off Princes Street, perfect if you’re in the city centre and in need of a refuel.
The Hanging Bat
Venture further down Lothian Road and you’ll find the Hanging Bat. Amazingly, when this self proclaimed beer cafe opened in 2012 they were the only bar in the UK not to offer drinks in pint quantities, offering only schooners and thirds instead. The reasoning behind this was quite simply quality over quantity.
The beers here change daily, but you can expect to find the likes of Cloudwater, Wild Beer Co, Fyne Ales, Thornbridge, Tiny Rebel, and many, many more.
Pick from a vast and varied selection from the keg or cask, find a comfy spot nestled in an armchair or sofa, and enjoy!
For those wandering the West End, heading to Harry’s is a must. Obviously, the lucrative West End is home to many a wonderful bar, but Harry’s is one with a difference.
Since 2016, Harry’s has been run as a social venture. They carefully select their suppliers to ensure they trade with socially ethical and sustainable companies and go organic where possible. That not only means great beer, but a clear conscience too, win! If you fancy a shimmy on the dance floor head down on a Friday or Saturday night and dance until the early hours of the morning.
Located on the busy Cowgate strip you’ll find OX184.
This is a great destination for those wanting to stay out late but don’t fancy dragging themselves to a club. OX184 is open until 3am, making it a great place to socialise, drink good beer and listen to good music into the night!
They have DJ sets and live music, so check out what’s on before you go click here.
Six Degrees North
This New Town bar was born out of a love and passion for Belgian beer. Luckily for us they’ve brought that great taste to Scotland!
Six degrees North brew their own beer in the North east of Scotland and have venues dotted around the country. With hundreds of beers on draught, in bottles, and in cans, there’s always something new and exciting brewing here.
Last but not least, The Southern! The final member of the FullerThomson family, you’ll find this place in Edinburgh’s Southside. This is the perfect place to head for a pre-gig tipple before venturing to the lovely venues of Queen’s Hall or Summerhall in close proximity.
The Southern perfectly marries traditional and modern to present a cosy, comfortable bar with delightful interiors.
Offering over twenty rotating draught craft beers and gourmet burgers, it’ always worth popping into The Southern!