Edinburgh Festivals 2014: Cocktail hot spots

This article is from 2014

Cocktail Hot Spots

Grab a margarita or two to escape the festival crowds in our pick of the city's finest cocktail bars

It’s not all student theatre and stand-up comedians trying to make it on to TV panel shows – Edinburgh also has some classy cocktail joints where hipsters hang out and talented mixologists showcase their skills. Barry Cooper hand-picks a few places to escape the festival crowds for a margarita or two

Panda & Sons

This newcomer to Edinburgh’s cocktail scene is a subterranean speakeasy-styled sprawl hidden behind a quirky barbershop frontage. Cocktails use smokes and foams to pull off big flavours, but with an eye to history and a great catalogue of classics.

The Bon Vivant

With two tucked-away venues lending these bars a speakeasy vibe, the Bon Vivant is a cool spot to hide from the crowds while the staff make good use of the hard-to-source rums and bourbons on the back shelves. The Thistle Street branch has its own wine merchant next door – a good place to pick up a bottle to drink back at the ranch.


Tonic is a snug where table space comes at a premium. Just off George Street, it’s an ideal spot both pre and post-show for something short and strong or long and luxurious. Known for inventiveness, it boasts some ice-cream and sorbet staples as well as the best Porn Star Martini in the city.


A big and bookable hip hangout close to the Grassmarket, Dragonfly is a stalwart of the Edinburgh bar scene and continues to hold its own among the New Town upstarts. Head here for a daiquiri to start a night out with the girls, or if you’re flagging after one too many festival shows, hit them up for an espresso martini – guaranteed to give you a second wind.

The Last Word Saloon

This convivial St Stephen Street hangout specialises in the unconventional. Using rotovaps and steel ageing, as well as almond syrup and peach pearls, the staff push creativity to a new high. It’s a great spot for a night in Stockbridge or a stop-off while boutique shopping, and it could be a welcome respite from the Fringe hubbub.