Edinburgh Festival Guide: Where to drink, Southside
Gin lovers should head for 56 North, craft beer fans to The Southern and those in need of a gardening tool to The Potting Shed
From a bar showcasing local breweries to a boozer dating back to the 1860s, we select where to drink when you find yourself thirsty in Edinburgh's Southside. If you arrive for one and stay until teatime, you're in luck, as many of the bars serve great pub grub.
2–8 West Crosscauseway, EH8 9JP
This stylish cocktail bar should be compulsory visit for anyone with even a passing interest in gin; the bar holds more than 200 bottles from around the world. Fortunately the clued-up and approachable bar team will happily guide your choices. Meanwhile, from the kitchen, 'Bertha' (a blisteringly hot charcoal oven) sends out a steady stream of well-presented gourmet burgers and steaks, all served with beautifully crispy skin-on chips. Look out also for their seasonal secret gin garden, which provides a botanical haven during the festival.
More info on 56 North
The Auld Hoose
23–25 St Leonards Street, EH8 9QN
Dating back to the 1860's, the Auld Hoose is essentially a traditional (and child-free) boozer. There's a diverse clientele, including those attracted by a jukebox stuffed full of punk, metal and goth anthems. There is a decent selection of ales and malts dispensed by a good-natured bar team. The food largely focuses on the standards – burgers, dogs, and mac and cheese – with vegetarian and vegan versions of these available too. A plate of towering nachos certainly lives up to its reputation as one of the biggest in town.
More info on The Auld Hoose
74–78 South Clerk Street, EH8 9PT
There's plenty going on at this Southside hostelry; in-house events include live music, quizzes, and big-screen football action at the weekends. There's a reasonable selection of cask, draught and bottled ales, with an emphasis on 'beer-miles' and showcasing local breweries.The menu heads towards the Tex-Mex side of the pub-grub spectrum with a selection of burgers, gourmet hot dogs and smoky ribs while tables are laden with a great range of spicy sauces.
More info on Clerk's Bar
26 Brougham Street, EH3 9JH
Bars like The Cloisters have ticked along for years and have perhaps never quite been given the recognition they deserve for surfing the wave of the craft beer movement – if not starting it off in the first place. Here, big beards and fancy beer flights are swapped for a quiet expertise, a warm welcome and a rotating range of 19 cask and keg beers from brewers like Pilot, Cairngorms, Alchemy and Black Isle. There's a nicely edited range of bottled beers from Europe and further afield, and a decent, locally sourced burger to boot.
More info on The Cloisters
44 West Crosscauseway, EH8 9JP
The bar staff here pride themselves on their Scottish hospitality, which coupled with frequently changing guest ales and modestly priced pub grub, makes Greenmantle a favourite among locals. The usual suspects of mac and cheese, beef and Guinness pie, baked tatties and nachos come in abundance, but these are no match for the show stopping buffalo burgers. The traditional pub décor features fairy lights, an impressive collection of coasters and humorous wall signs, while three large TV screens means no large sporting event is ever missed.
More info on Greenmantle
Henricks Bar & Bistro
1 Barclay Place, EH10 4HW
There's a strong emphasis on high quality drinks, with a good selection of cocktails, gins and whiskies and a keenly priced wine list which includes helpful descriptions of the varietals available. Catering to a broad market, including family groups, locals and theatregoers, the menu straddles the pub and bistro genres. Haggis bonbons, fish and chips or well-flavoured burgers will keep the comfort food brigade happy while salmon terrine, gnocchi or witch sole should appeal to those wanting something lighter.
More info on Henricks.
The Potting Shed
32 Potterow, EH8 9BT
Deliberately quirky, the décor of this gastropub puts a fresh spin on the gardening theme, with lampshades made from garden pails, and an eclectic collection of gardening implements adorning the walls. Drinks-wise, there's a broader than average wine list, some creative cocktails and 18 draught or cask ales. The food is very definitely a notch above pub grub, in both ambition and execution. With smart service, a well-crafted menu and a wide range of drinks, there's plenty to bring you back to this patch of earth.
More info on The Potting Shed.
The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro
1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL
Across the courtyard at the back, you'll find Summerhall's bar and bistro. Former vet students might recognise some of the bones and microscopes displayed. Enjoy one of a variety of Barney's beers or Pickering's gin from a tap, both brands which are brewed and distilled on site. There are also some great cocktails and a small wine list.The food menu features fish and chips with mushy peas, the Royal Dick burger, mac 'n' cheese or 'light bites' like chips with blue cheese mayo. During the Fringe Summerhall hosts over 100 shows, with theatre, music, dance and visual arts for all ages.
More info on The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro
22 South Clerk Street, EH8 9PR
The Southern offers a fantastic selection of burgers and a laid-back vibe. There is a killer selection of craft beers (from Scotland, the UK, Belgium and USA) and a compact wine and cocktail list. Fortunately, the savvy bar staff will happily dispense top tips on what your next tipple should be. The breakfast menu features the obligatory fry-up, pancakes or granola. At dinner, select from more than a dozen burger combos.
More info on The Southern
Where to eat Southside