Seven hip new bars in Edinburgh that do great food
LONG gone are the days when flat caps were waht counted as fashion in Edinburgh’s smoky drinking dens and the closest you got to a gastro pub was a packet of crisps.
If you’re looking for a great night out with good friends and delicious food then the capital city has you covered.
Eat well and drink well at these seven new amazing bars in Edinburgh that promise a great night out.
184 Cowgate, EH1 1JJ, 0131 226 1645, www.ox184.co.uk
Not always the most salubrious area of Edinburgh, the Cowgate has been given a real boost by the opening of OX184. One half of its name gives away its address, the other the star foodie attraction — beef!
This stylishly designed two-storey bar has a hip East London-style vibe and some decent steaks on the menu. I recommend the rib eye topped with garlic prawns and a side of peppercorn sauce. You can wash it down with craft beers, whiskies or even whiskeys.
The Jolly Botanist
260 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3, 0131 228 5596
If gin is your poison this is the place for you. They stock over 50 gins at this ‘gin bar and dining room’. Served, of course, with Fevertree Tonic as standard. You can savour ace Scottish gins Caorunn from Speyside, Islay’s Botanist and Edinburgh’s very own Pickerings.
The laid back Victorian London meets Left Bank Paris ambience is the backdrop for some decent food too, such as West Coast mussels and slow-braised beef shin. Scotland and Italy combine with the stomach lining chicken, pancetta and haggis in a Drambuie and mushroom sauce.
The Devil’s Advocate
9 Advocates Close, EH1 1ND, 0131 228 5596, devilsadvocateedinburgh.co.uk
Over the last few years some of Edinburgh’s long-forgotten old closes have been brought back to life and this hip new bar and kitchen gloriously show what can be done.
Arguably the most switched on — and certainly some of the best dressed — bar staff in Edinburgh conjure up an array of tempting cocktails, some with seasonal twists. A fine craft ale served alongside their braised ox cheek and bone marrow pie, with spring onion mash and purple kale, is the perfect antidote to Edinburgh’s chill North Sea winds.
54 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EJ, 0131 225 69
If cocktails are your tipple this is the place. Same goes if you are missing Edinburgh bar institution Bar Kohl, as the same team are still here in the same venue, just with some exciting twists.
No longer does the menu revolve around burgers and vodka. The space is brighter and breezier too. An aperitif of Count Collins — Portobello Road negroni, lemon, house orange bitters and soda — gets the party started, before the likes of crispy pigs ears, or Scottish lobster served with chargrilled watermelon, grapefruit and crème fraiche. And yes they still do some mean vodka cocktails!
Bar à Vin
17 Queensferry Street, EH2 4QW
Lovers of proper wine and quality Francophile food were delighted that the man behind award winning the L’escargot Blanc restaurant, Fred Berkmiller, decided to open up a wine bar at the tail end of 2015.
This former barbershop has been reborn as a temple to fine French wine — they know their Meursault from their Médoc here — and as a foodie hub too. On the menu are an Auld Alliance of French and Scottish cheeses, as well as charcuterie and Breton sardines. For something more substantial the restaurant awaits upstairs.
The Beer Kitchen by Innis and Gunn
81–83 Lothian Road, EH3 9AW, 0131 228 6392, thebeerkitchen.co.uk
Edinburgh’s Innis & Gunn were already renowned for their world-class craft beers. Last year they really started getting their superb lager into pubs too, but the most exciting development for Edinburgh residents is their ace new Been Kitchen.
The very idea of a ‘beer kitchen’ is enough to have hungry fans of the amber nectar salivating. I love that that not only do they do great steaks, but also innovate with the likes of a brilliant reinvention of the humble Scotch egg. I love too that you can enjoy a ‘beer flight’ and also taste many of their ales on draught, which you normally only see in bottles.
26b Dublin Street, EH3 6NN, 0131 556 5967 spitfirebars.com
If you like the (also fairly new) Hanging Bat in Lothian Road you will love Spit/Fire from the same people, with its superb beers, bourbons and seriously tasty comfort food at this split-level New Town bolthole.
Upstairs take a booth and choose from half a dozen draught beers, complemented by grilled meats from their rotisserie oven. Their burgers are the stuff of local legend. Brown sugar BBQ brisket with kimchi in a bun anyone? Downstairs a dozen draught beers await.