Best Speakeasy Bars in Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital is full of incredible experiences that will keep you entertained for days, including the extinct volcano upon which the castle is built, panoramic views from the national monument on Carlton hill and the national museum of Scotland.

Come the evening, you’ll see a different side to Edinburgh with an extremely lively nightlife. Being a student city, it has more than it’s fare share of cheap places to drink as well as many upmarket bars and restaurants including a bar in an old church and somewhere you can watch sports and drink skittle cocktails. Of course, there’s also a great array of speakeasy bars waiting to be discovered.

The speakeasy trend dates back to the Prohibition in which alcohol was banned in America which saw many of the bars go behind closed doors or some disguised as other establishments such as cafes and barbers.

Nowadays, the speakeasy concept is experiencing a revival across the world as many bar owners add a bit of excitement to the experience with hidden doors, passwords and dimly lit basement bars. In this guide I’ll reveal some of Edinburgh’s not-so best kept secrets and share some of the city’s best hidden bars.

Lucky Liquor Co, 39A Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 3NH

When you spot the bright neon sign on Queen Street you’ll know you’ve reached the Lucky Liquor company. The cocktails are hand crafted right in front of your eyes with creative recipes and perfect presentation. To tie in with the lucky theme, there are thirteen spirits and thirteen cocktails, all on a thirteen week cycle, hopefully one of them will be lucky for you.

This bar doesn’t have the usual dim and dingy feel of most speakeasy bars, it’s quite bright with tiled floors and walls that look like they’re straight from a London underground station. If anything it feels more like a juice bar than a cocktail bar. Adding to this, the cocktails are all clear thanks to their unique filtration system, don’t get fooled in to thinking you’re drinking juice as that could end messy.

The Last Word Saloon, 44 St Stephen St, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AL

The Last Word Saloon is another great bar from the owners of Bramble. Once you step inside this basement bar in Stockton, you’ll be transported back to the old west with big leather arm chairs in front of the fire place and a dark and moody atmosphere with candle lit tables.

For a small bar, The Last Word Saloon certainly has a large drinks menu with wines, beers, cocktails and punch that will keep you going all night. This bar is located away from the main Edinburgh nightlife so expect a more laid back atmosphere. Having said that, it still gets relatively busy, so you’ll want to book ahead if you’re a big group or visiting on weekends.

Essential cocktails to try include the Butter Scotch Cocktail, Sirens of Titan and their The Last Word speciality cocktail with made with green chartreuse and maraschino liqueur

Bullard & Worth, 89 Rose St N Ln, Edinburgh

Behind the frosted windows and worn down door of an old private detectives agency lies Bullard & Worth. This is one of those bars that you’ll only find if you really know about it but with no website or social media presence, only the elite speakeasy crowd will discover it.

This cosy speakeasy bar in Edinburgh only has 6 tables making it an exclusive venue, make sure you call ahead to reserve a place. Don’t let the locked door scare you away, just knock to enter.

Bramble, 16A Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JE

Bramble is one of Edinburgh’s oldest and best speakeasy bars, but also one of the hardest to find. Hidden beneath a dry cleaner in a very breaking bad style affair, once inside you’ll be rewarded with a cool atmosphere, extensive drinks list and some vibin’ old school hip hop playlists.

This quirky bar has even quirkier staff who will do their utmost to give you the best experience including well crafted cocktails and great table service. This cosy little bar gets lively as the evenings progress and on weekends you’ll find live DJ’s playing too.

Panda & Sons, 79 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 4NF

To get to Panda & Sons, you’ll need to take a trip to the barbers. No, we’re not suggesting a hair cut, look for the stairs and head down to the secret bookcase entrance. Once inside, the bar centres around the story of the (fictitious) owner Panda and his family. With a dedicated drinks menu for each family member, there is a wide selection on offer including first class cocktails freshly prepared.

Cask Smugglers, Waverley Mall Rooftop, 3 Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 1BQ
Whiskey, cocktails and preuvian street food in an old tourist information center.

New to the scene in Edinburgh is this speakeasy-inspired bar in an old tourist information centre at the top of Waverley train station. The owners have self-styled the bar as an ‘everyman’s cocktail bar’ and have been actively promoting it as a dog friendly venue which has been welcomed by the community.

The inspiration behind is said to have come from Scotland’s whiskey smuggling in the 18th century after imposing new duties on alcohol. As well as a whiskey-heavy cocktail meny and craft beers, there is Peruvian street food from Carlo Carozzi, one of the top three street food vendors in Edinburgh.

Heads and Tales Gin Bar, 1a, Rutland Place, Edinburgh EH1 2AD

What could scream Scotland more than drinking a cocktail out of an Irn Bru can, well that’s just one of the options at Heads and Tales gin bar. Nestled away in an unassuming basement is a cosy bar that specialises in all things gin.

I’m not just talking about Gin and Tonic, look out for Gin cocktails and maybe try your hand at their Gin masterclass so you can also become an expert. This bar is used by Edinburgh Gin for their distillery tour and it contains two old Gin stills on display.