Best Rooftop Bars in Edinburgh: Drinks, Dates & Castle Views

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Rooftop bars in Edinburgh are a relatively new development which the Everything Edinburgh writing team cannot get enough of! 

Whether you are browsing for romantic date ideas, for cocktails with pals, special occasion drinks or city views, this guide recommends the best bars in Edinburgh with rooftops and includes details on what they offer.

Looking around Scotland’s capital you might be surprised to see that while the layered spires and roofs are interesting, they aren’t actually that tall! 

Since the city has kept natural heritage at the heart of planning, you won’t find skyscrapers like in London, in fact many of Edinburgh’s coolest bars are underground and in basements! 

Since the bars with views in Edinburgh are limited in numbers, be sure to make reservations to avoid disappointment.

Rooftop Bars in Edinburgh Old Town and Southside 

Nor’ Loft for Scott Monument Views & Small Plates

Nor’ Loft Rooftop and Champagne Bar (6 Market St) is located at the top of Market Street Hotel which is across from the back exit of the Waverley Train Station.

This is ideal for those who don’t want to stumble far! 

The small and slender rooftop offers views over to Princes Street Gardens and the Scott Monument.

There’s an aptly named cocktail on the menu dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. 

Nor Loft rooftop bar cocktail cheersing Edinburgh skyline

The name Nor’ Loft is a nod to the Nor’ Loch which used to sit where Princes Street Gardens is today. 

The inside bar is relaxed, simple and chic. 

The menu includes small plates such as mussels, pork, and salad, perfect for soaking up the alcohol without feeling horribly full.

A great choice of rooftop restaurants in Edinburgh for date night or pal time.

Rooftop 51 for Edinburgh Castle Views & Festoon Lights

Rooftop 51 at Fountainbridge (2 Freer Gait) is an indoor and outdoor bar at the top of the Moxy Hotel that attracts a youngish audience.

The trendy interior has cool cushions worthy of Etsy shopping. 

Whisky print on cushion at Rooftop 51 at Marriott Hotel Edinburgh

A variety of seating options (booth-like, group tables and a corner sofa) are luminated with festoon lights strung together, a pretty romantic place when visiting after dark.

During the day you can see Edinburgh Castle.

The menu includes craft beer and cocktails such as the sweet Barcelona.

Small plates are also available. 

This is a cool addition to Edinburgh’s rooftop bars and is a 10 minute walk to Haymarket Train Station in the West End

Rooftop 51 Marriott Hotel window into bar

SKYbar for an Exclusive Rooftop Edinburgh Experience

SKYbar Edinburgh at Doubletree Hilton (34 Bread St) is predominately an events and wedding venue that opens to the public a couple of days per week.

You know what they say, scarcity breeds desire so you have to reserve a table a couple of months in advance.

On Sundays you can enjoy afternoon tea with sweeping views of Edinburgh Castle from those West End windows. 

Cold Town House for Craft Beer, Frose & Pizza

One of the coolest and most relaxed rooftop bars in Edinburgh is Cold Town House (4 Grassmarket) where craft beer is brewed and pizzas are stone baked.

Drink the afternoon away under the shadow of Edinburgh Castle while sitting in a ski lift or around a bothy-style fire. 

If there’s a chill because let’s face it, it’s Scotland, hit the heater button for a wee glow and toasty rays. 

Cold Town House Pint in front of Edinburgh Castle

If visiting in a beer-loving group, go for the tower which packs in six pints. 

The frose is decent too. 

Cold Town House also features in our beer garden guide

Rooftop Bars in Edinburgh’s New Town 

Juniper Bar for Edinburgh Christmas Market Views

Across the road from the Princes Street exit of Waverley Train Station is Juniper Bar.

Located at 20 Princes Street, sharing an entrance with the Twenty Twenty and Hotel Indio, Juniper is a secret bar that folk walk past on a daily basis.

However, unbeknown to them, this hidden gem has Old Town views so if you don’t like the crowds at the Edinburgh Christmas market but still enjoy looking at the festive lights, reserve a window seat.

Juniper has a cocktail menu and does a mean espresso martini, believe me, I’ve tried many in Edinburgh! 

They are also known for their smoking teapot tipsy teas. A scroll-stopping hit for social media fans. 

Harvey Nichols Brasserie and Bar for St Andrew Square Views

The Forth Floor Brasserie (30-34 St Andrew Square), and no that’s not a spelling mistake, it’s a pun celebrating the Forth River, is a casual bar and restaurant.

Guests enjoy food and drink from 11am, including popular afternoon teas

Rooftop views peer over St Andrews Square, a thoroughfare from the upmarket Multrees Walk to George Street. 

On warm days, locals laze on the grass at this garden hiding tinnies under coats and you can people watch them from the Forth Floor Brasserie. 

There is indoor and roof covered outside seating available. 

The Forth Floor is open to corporate and event bookings. 

St Andrews Square Statue with Cherry Blossom Tree

Harvey Nichols Window Bar for Forth Views & Private Parties

The Window Bar offers a different type of view compared to the other Edinburgh rooftop bars!

Uniquely, you can see over to the Firth of Forth so if you don’t want to hike up Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill to take in these sights, head to Harvey Nics instead. 

The Window Bar is available for private hire.

Chaophraya 

Not quite a bar as Chaophraya is a stylish Thai restaurant but it deserves a mention for being one of the very few rooftops in the city before prime location views were demanded by thirsty Instagram fans!

Reserve a table on the rooftop and add in the notes that you’d like Edinburgh Castle views if possible.

Pad Thai on plate at Chaophraya Thai restaurant in Edinburgh

Dine on Pad Thai or Massaman curry and don’t forget to order a cocktail from the extensive menu with cute drawings. 

Chaophraya is the perfect date night dining experience and features in our guide to most romantic restaurants in Edinburgh.

Johnnie Walker Rooftop Bar, Edinburgh’s ‘Living’ Rooftop

The 1820 rooftop at the Johnnie Walker Experience (145 Princes St) is a bar that represents the saying ‘no holds barred’.

The rooftop is a living space where flowers encourage biodiversity through attracting bees.

So while you sip on the sweet nectar of the gods, the sedum rooftop is summoning nature around you.

Johnnie Walker Experience building

Naturally, the menu introduces patrons to Johnnie Walker and while you might not love the nation’s drink, whisky, there is a highball cocktail for everyone.

1820 puts on events such as Hogmanay on New Year’s Eve.

They do sell out so reserve a ticket if anything takes your fancy.

Why not combine a rooftop visit with an immersive tour of the property? 

Learn about the Johnnie Walker story and try three whiskies or highballs before finishing the day with Edinburgh Castle views at 1820.

The Lookout for Fine Dining & Drinks on Calton Hill

If you’re looking for a really special rooftop experience climb to the summit of Calton Hill and dine at The Lookout (38 Calton Hill).

The seasonal menu is curated and cooked by the team at the Gardner’s Cottage.

Indoor seating has floor to ceiling windows overlooking St James Quarter and beyond.

The kitchen is open so you can see chefs preparing your meal. 

There’s also a summer terrace for dry day dining.

Customers feel the breakfast is worth the price point. 

Reserve a table for a unique foodie experience suspended, partially, over of one of Edinburgh’s seven hills. 

Views over Edinburgh from The Lookout

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