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Looking for the best Edinburgh Old Town Pubs to lose a lively night at? If there’s one thing we know at Everything Edinburgh, it is where to drink in Scotland’s capital!
This guide details Old Town bars that are the cheapest, the cosiest, the most historic and the loudest!
We’ll also tell you where to get a boozy Harry Potter butterbeer, so if you are local looking for something different or a visitor planning your itinerary, keep reading to find out our recommendations.
Have we missed out your favourite? Tell us in the comments below!
→ Read this first | Our Old Town Edinburgh guide
1. The Devil’s Advocate for Cocktails Inside or Outdoors
The Devil’s Advocate is a compact, modern, bi-levelled restaurant with outside seating.
It is known for its cocktail menu and location down one of Edinburgh’s most famous pathways, Advocates Close.
The restaurant and bar was once an old Victorian pump house.
If you are a whisky fan you should check out their flights.
Our friends from North American adores The Devil’s Advocate.
- Address: 9 Advocate’s Close
→ Check out our favourite Old Town Restaurants here
2. Deacon Brodies Tavern for History and Tartan Carpets
Deacon Brodies Tavern is a busy High Street pub which enjoys footfall from The Royal Mile tourists.
The decor is Scottish with the upstairs bar carpet being none other than tartan!
There are also historic pictures and quotes on the wall.
This pub is named after Deacon Brodie, Robert Louis Stevenson’s muse for his infamous book, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Like many pub-goers, Brodie was a respectable citizen by day but a drinker by night.
He also gambled, which resulted in him turning to burglary to cover his debts.
Brodie met his match when he was caught and sentenced to death at the Tolbooth in 1788.
Be sure to check out both sides of the outside sign to see Brodie’s two faces!
Close to Deacon Brodies you will the remains of the gallows which saw the last execution in Edinburgh. Find Hume’s statue and cross over the road.
- Address: 435 Lawnmarket
3. The City Cafe for Boozy Milkshakes
This trendy, diner-style restaurant and bar is an Ev Ed favourite for its boozy milkshakes and casual menu.
Visitors can dine at booths or tables.
Its posh mac and cheese features in our guide on what to eat in Edinburgh.
- Address: 19 Blair Street
4. The Banshee Labyrinth for Ghosts, Gigs & Movies
There is no pub in the world like The Banshee Labyrinth.
It’s haunted and you need a map to make your way through each room.
There’s bars with snacks, pub seating areas, games, a stage and a cinema playing free films.
The Banshee Labyrinth is located in the caves just like the popular underground tours.
You won’t be surprised to hear that this Old Town pub features in our Halloween guide.
5. Whistlebinkies for Sweaty Dancing and Drinks
If anyone tells you they hate Whistlebinkies, they are lying!
Sticky floors, drunk punters, live music, and hot sweaty dancing.
What’s not to love?
Times have changed now so there might be less sweat and more sanitisation but still, Whistlebinkies should be on your pub crawl bucket list.
- Address: 4-6 South Bridge
→ Read next | Things to do at night in Edinburgh
6. Monteiths for Secret Close Drinking Indoors or Outside
For a calmer evening and a cocktail or two, head down the fairy light tunnel of one of Edinburgh’s closes to find Monteiths.
This classy bar has house goals decor!
The lighting is intimate, the staff are friendly, and the menu throws up a butterbeer-style cocktail for Harry Potter fans!.
- Address: 61 High Street
→ Potterheads! Read our Harry Potter locations bucket list
7. The World’s End for History and Good Chat
No Old Town pub guide would be complete without a visit to The Royal Mile’s historic World’s End.
This cosy traditional bar is more than meets the eye, as its exterior wall forms part of Edinburgh’s ancient Flodden Wall.
Good selection of whisky and pub grub menu available. Check out our Old Town restaurant guide for more on where to eat.
Our friend Scott works behind the bar so say hiya from Gemma!
- Address: 2-8 High St
8. The Last Drop for Date Night or Alfresco Drinking
The Last Drop will forever hold a special place in my heart as it was one of the first pubs myself and my now husband went to on our first date!
Locals do frequent this Grassmarket bar so you may be sitting next to a Scot while having a drink and listening to the banging soundtrack.
The Last Drop gets its name from its location.
In front of the pub is where public executions took place and the name is a nod to the last hanging.
- Address: 74-78 Grassmarket
9. Cold Town House Rooftop For Drinks Under the Castle
Climb Granny Green Steps to the Cold Town House rooftop which sits just underneath Edinburgh Castle at the bottom of the Grassmarket.
On a sunny day, the roof is rolled back so you can drink Cold Town House craft beer which is made onsite underneath Edinburgh’s most prominent landmark.
The drinks menu also includes frose, ideal for hot days in May.
Go with an empty stomach and enjoy a stone baked pizza with drinks.
Reserve ahead as this beer garden books up quickly from spring through to autumn.
In winter, you can take the kids along to meet Santa.
10. Brewhemia for Lively Drinks and Special Events
Brewhemia is a huge space across from the Waverley Train Station on Market Street.
This bar makes a massive effort with its decor, utilising flowers around the entrance arch.
The menu has an extensive list of beers and gin.
There are different sections to the space, with a quiet area upstairs if you are looking for a working space during the day.
Bands play on an elevated stage in the main bar and dancers in costumes dance on the tables.
There is a real carnival feel to Brewhemia at the weekend.
You can also hire out private rooms and choose to join in the action or not.
Keep an eye out of events such as drag brunches and Oktoberfest.
- Address: 1a Market Street
Don’t complete your planning without checking our Old Town bucket list
Our Old Town Edinburgh Guides
- The ultimate guide to Edinburgh’s Old Town
- 50 things to do for all the family
- Where to stay in the Old Town
- Old Town hotels for every budget
- Best Old Town Airbnbs incl. Harry Potter apartment
- Our favourite Old Town Edinburgh restaurants
- Walking tours including history and Harry Potter
- Spooky ghost tours featuring Edinburgh’s Underground
- Every Harry Potter location muggles can’t miss
Any questions or comments?
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