Bond No 9 in name refers to its location on Leith’s Commercial Street, in a large building once a whisky bond, shared by a Michelin-starred restaurant, offices and a furniture store among the residents. A lot of the original stone has been revealed in the main area with a good sized bright conservatory out to the rear which can be booked out for events. During the summer months it’s also a great place to park up and enjoy the weather in their outside area.
We made our way there for some decent sustenance after a cycle around Edinburgh’s coastal paths and arrived just in time to grab one of the last tables in the conservatory area. Brunch is served every weekend and the offer of their “bigger breakfast” was too good to skip: pork and herb sausages, smoked bacon, and Stornoway black pudding were the main stars of an ample dish backed up with the usual brunch features. Although the cocktail list is ample and well executed it was a strong cuppa and a virgin Bloody Mary with their house blend of spices for us, this time.
Leith is an area which due to a lot of redevelopment in recent years attracts a diverse crowd and Bond No 9 is no exception. Weekdays the main draw is relaxed food and great coffee, weekends a more restaurant feel is there with patrons enjoying top notch grub served by candlelight. Check their social media too as they’ll often have local DJ talent playing later in the evenings at the weekends.
Best Bars tip: The gantry holding all the spirits at Bond is one of the biggest and most diverse in Edinburgh. This means that they can rustle up not just the drinks from the award winning menu but pretty much anything your heart desires – Pisco Sour anyone?
Clouds & Soil is fortunate to be set in a townhouse which lends itself very nicely to a whole manner of spaces over five floors, the ground floor hosts the main bar area, the basement space is perfect for functions, and the first floor boasts a well-apportioned restaurant with private dining space. The top two floors are occupied by six luxury bedrooms which complete the space.
Having had a great eggs benedict here recently for brunch we went back to sample the seasonal dinner menu, amongst the choices on offer on this occasion was a duck breast served with fondant potato, marinated in vanilla pods and garnished with roasted root veg and a bramble and thyme jus, simply divine! Drinks wise we had a glass of house red with dinner but then skipped dessert in favour of the PBJ Flip – Buffalo Trace Bourbon, raspberry liqueur, peanut butter, cream and eggs, a twisted classic cocktail which really changed the game and if it wasn’t for an early start the next day we’d have had another or two.
With dining the heart of Clouds & Soil’s offer you are hard beat to find somewhere so good in the area. Open from brunch in the bar through to lunch and dinner throughout, there is always a contented buzz around the place. Weekdays are more casual and the weekend offers a more intimate feel.
Best Bars tip: Although Clouds & Soil offers many various dining options if you have a special intimate occasion then go for private dining for up to six in the Hendrick’s Gin room.
It’s not always about sitting down for a sophisticated cocktail. Sometimes you just want to cut loose, drink shots and party down until the sun comes up. Here are the UK’s BEST bars for debauchery. Now whatever mischief you get yourselves into, it ain’t our fault … enjoy!
It might be one of London’s teeniest charms, but what Casita lacks in square footage it makes up for in personality. This is the kind of bar you pop into for a quick one and then end up cancelling all of your plans (happily so).
Live piano music, sing-a-long throwback tunes, crazy-looking cocktails and some of the happiest party people in town. If you’re not feeling up to it, nip down here and they’ll turn that frown upside down — guaranteed.
With blackboard walls, plenty of chalk, and an easygoing crowd bopping about to garage rock — don’t be surprised at the more adult content drawn up on the walls. You can even have a go at one-upping them yourself. And remember, downstairs is for dancing. End of.
You know you’re in for some good ol’ fashioned trouble when you step into a bar and immediately need to peel your shoes off the floor. This is party-time Americana at its best and grungiest. It’s open seven days, always late, with a (sometimes) free jukebox cranking out classic tunes – from BRUUUUUUCE to Joy Division. So let’s get turbo-sh*tfaced on the bountiful bourbons. And we should probably tell you, if you give them your bra, they’ll give you a free drink. Now the decision is yours.
East London hipsters are a given, but those fond of a tipple – or twelve – come in by the bus-load after 3pm. Music-lovers are also in luck, as it often holds free events showcasing upcoming talent – from acoustic guitarists to spinning DJs.
The 70s basement décoris cheeky and cheerful, much like their staff and drinks. So when you’re looking to cut loose, there’s little better than this ode to Polynesia/Tiki-Americana, kitted out with (un)ironic shag carpets and Tretchikoff prints.
This cheeky spot is where Edinburgh comes to play. Garibaldi’s is a colourful Mexican-themed institution, beloved by all, boozed in by all, pole danced in by all. It’s late-night partying seven days a week, and it’s impossible not to shed your inhibitions here … the tequila shooters will make sure of that.
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila … and then it all gets a bit hazy, but we’re told Neon Cactus is home to well over 70 types of this beautiful spirit. The vibrant-themed joint not only specialises in Mexico’s infamous liquor but also brings the nation’s love for traditional street food, upbeat vibes and late-night partying to Leeds’ Call Lane.
Oporto is a must-visit for music lovers and late night revellers. This Leeds rock bar certainly lives up to its slogan/hazard warning of “Go Hard or Go Home”. Prepare yourself: you’re in for a night of heavy music, all night partying and shots, lots and lots of shots.
So Tiki it hurts, Aloha’s Polynesian carvings, colourful flowery wallpaper and bars set in wooden shacks transport guests to tropical climes where rum is king and Piña Coladas are served in fresh pineapples. This large basement bar attracts a fun crowd who are keen to dance in the packed room to classic songs and cheesy numbers.
A bright and flaming Tiki den, The Liars Club is all about having a real good raucous time. From cheeky flaring tricks from the bartenders to bangin’ reggae tunes to bamboo huts – you’d struggle not to cut loose down here.
The Newsroom can be found on the busy thoroughfare which links the city to Leith. With a range of hotels, shops, offices and much more close by. A bustling hub lit from the front by oversized jam jars filled with filament lamps lead you into a relatively unfussy and clean-feeling area with a large semi-circular bar at its heart. There are a lot of seating options on the ground floor with a separate well apportioned function space downstairs.
The food at The Newsroom is very much designed for great taste without too much fuss, which suits their guests’ demands perfectly. We tried the Great Scot burger, a haggis fritter with whisky mayo all served with salad and fries. Applewood smoke was hanging in the air after we tried the Smoking Ron Burgundy — Ron Zacapa rum with Cherry Marnier and Mozart chocolate liqueur, stirred down and smoked in a bell jar – worth the wait and our favourite Anchorman would be proud.
Very much a pre-club bar at the weekends with a DJ on every Saturday, The Newsroom attracts a young and upbeat crowd. Food is of course a major feature as is coffee and the vibe really does change throughout the day. If you’re looking for a warm up to your weekend then every Thursday there is Dr. Paul’s quiz, packed full of irrelevant facts and a lot of fun.
Best Bars tip: The beauty of The Newsroom’s downstairs private room is that is comes complete with its own bar and DJ booth, great news when you’re looking to have a party and want to impress your guests.
Paradise Palms is a little bit of the Vegas Sunset Strip dropped into the centre of Edinburgh’s Potterrow area. The décor is a mixture which goes beyond the eclectic into the downright fun: neon, green foliage, disco balls, cabaret club velvet and a huge stuffed boar’s head above the bar to complete the theme of having almost no theme. Somehow it all gels into an environment which is unique yet comfortable.
The Palms have teamed up with local street food mercenaries Ninja Buns who have committed a full kitchen takeover. We tried one of their signature efforts, a Taiwanese steamed bun packed full of Aberdeenshire pulled pork marinated in soy, ginger, garlic and star anise – those sneaky Ninjas know their buns! The bar team have put a big focus on tequila and mezcal – so the Paloma, a thirst quenching mix of tequila, fresh grapefruit and Caribbean soda Ting, was their recommendation. But there’s a great selection of beers too if that’s your thing.
The Potterrow area is the heart of the local university district and students and locals alike flock here for a great mix of music, killer cocktails and gourmet street food. The entertainment on offer is a mix of fresh local bands, DJs and cabaret nights.
Best Bars tip: Check in and chill out. The Best Bars team could have spent all night here and will the next time. Enjoy the atmosphere and ask the guys what’s going on later at night as that’s when the stage comes to life.
Located on George IV Bridge since it was opened back in 1993, Bar Kohl has seen in the changes well and kept its style in with the times. And it has always been a hot spot for those who enjoy a good drink.
We remember the days eons ago when the menu was comprised of 101 flavoured vodkas but that time is long gone and now the menu features a diverse selection of great drinks. The Barrel-Aged El Presidente is strong yet balanced and we probably finished it a bit too quickly; so when our tasty burger packed into a soft brioche bun arrived, we followed it up with the awesome gin-based Hoodoo Voodoo with a house-made strawberry shrub and Roots Hoodoo soda. If we had more time, we’d have had another.
Bar Kohl is a busy place especially at the weekend. That said there are two sides to it, so if you want to go for a date hit the left side, if you’re a big group then head to the right, and if you want a bit of space to dance the night away head to the back.
Best Bars tip: It’s not all about cocktails as the guys have sourced a wide selection of canned beers and matched them to different burgers. There’s just something about beer in a can which locks in a fresher taste and washes down those tasty packed burgers.
Formerly known as Hotel Missoni, the G&V Royal Mile Hotel has revamped and become an even more stylish staple on the Edinburgh scene. Gone are the Missoni kilts, but in their place come pieces by local kilt king Howie Nicholsby – and they’re rather fetching indeed.
Drinks are a seasonal affair, and when the sun is shining you can enjoy numbers like In Thyme Of Need with Mount Gay rum, homemade vanilla and fig jam, ginger liqueur, thyme syrup and choclate bitters. Sweet, full and oh so satisfying. For something a bit bubbly and fresh, order the Sunset Spritz with grappa, Aperol, lemon, raspberry syrup and Italian fizz. You can eat in the bar any time of the day, but if you want some alfresco dining head on to the terrace for the Cucina experience – think polenta fries and homemade tagliatelle.
And for those looking to celebrate a special occasion, treat yourself to one of the cocktail masterclasses or bring in your sweet toothed pals for a spot of afternoon tea.
Best Bars tip: For a mid-week treat, swing by between 6-8pm to try out the aperitivo trolley. The staff will roll it over and create bespoke cocktails right at your table, plus you can nibble on some Italian bar snacks too.