If you’re looking for a haircut, then this barbershop ain’t for you. So pass on through the false façade and head down to one of Edinburgh’s latest gems, Panda and Sons, a spacious speakeasy-styled cocktail den. You might be met with a cloud of smoke when you walk in, but don’t worry – there’s no fire, it’s just The Birdcage (a straight-up number that’s served under a bell jar filled with smoke).
The menu is divided into chapters with plenty of experimental creations like the Hungry Rastapillar with Wray and Nephew, jerk syrup and a foamy thyme top sprayed out of an antique siphon – a nice punch of spice and rummy goodness. The 1890’s Bamboo cocktail written up on the mirror is a smooth sipper, made with vermouth, sherry and bitters. Low ABV but all grown-up taste. For some nibbles to keep you going, order a half-pint of sweet chilli crackling and a cheese board.
There’s plenty of booths and corners to slink into, so just grab a seat and watch the team behind the bar work their magic. And when weekend DJs bring the party in, try out the speedy Utility Serves – think fancy and tasty spirit-mixers.
Best Bars tip: After you get out of your barbershop chair, say hi to Fandango — he’s the legendary Lego panda who’s apparently been on tour with The Rolling Stones … no bigs.
— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips