Top Ten Whisky Bars in Edinburgh
It will surprise no-one that Edinburgh is exceptionally well served by Whisky Bars. The scene has exploded over the last 20 years, with a variety to satisfy the most discerning of aficionados. The Whisky Bars of Edinburgh is a hand-picked group of some of Edinburgh’s finest, designed to assist Whisky lovers in finding their perfect venue for the perfect dram.
Amber Restaurant and Whisky Bar @ The Scotch Whisky Experience
Situated on the lower-ground floor of The Scotch Whisky Experience, Amber Whisky Bar continues the mission of the must-see Edinburgh attraction to inform and impassion people about Scotch Whisky. The illuminated bar allows for superior visual assessment of the 380 whiskies+ on offer and a wealth of information is offered both by the interactive touch screen distillery guide, and via the more traditional method of chatting with the knowledgeable and friendly bar team. The food offering in this ‘Taste our Best’ accredited Restaurant is a highlight, from delicious Scottish tapas, to a full three course meal.
Whiski’s newer sister venue ‘Whiski Rooms’ expands on the mission of Whiski by adding a dedicated Whisky Shop and daily tutored tasting. Whiski Rooms enjoys a fabulous ‘world heritage site’ location, perched on the walk up The Mound toward The Royal Mile. Over 300 Scotch whiskies are served here to a discerning clientele, and the venue is one of the few ‘Ardbeg Embassy’ status venues, serving an extensive range from the popular Islay Distillery. Whiski’s excellence has just been recognized by the British Institute of Innkeeping, who have made it their Whisky Bar of 2014.
The Abbey Bar
Devotees to the The Abbey Bar includes locals, professionals, students and visitors, all of whom find the welcome equally warm, and the selection equally impeccable. The 120+ range of Scotch Whiskies is served with pride and knowledge, and there are a few whiskies from further afield. Complementing the whiskies is a full range of traditional beers, real ales, craft beers and lagers. This can be accompanied by traditional Scottish food, with locally sourced game a particular specialty.
Abbotsford Bar and Restaurant
Established in 1887, The Abbotsford has been in its present form since 1902, when famous public house architect P. L. Henderson designed the current grand edifice. The latest evolution of the Bar has been its restoration in 2007, to include the chic new restaurant ‘Above’ and give the fabulous original ‘Island’ bar a new lease of life. Whisky is taken very seriously, with frequent special offers, and a promoted ‘malt of the month’.
The Black Cat
Dram Magazine made The Black Cat a ‘Scottish New Bar of the Year’ Finalist, and it’s not difficult to see why. A Bespoke Bar in the heart of the city, The Black Cat is a cosy and sophisticated bolt hole, with a great outdoor seating area on Edinburgh’s atmospheric Rose Street. A hand-picked selection numbering some 100 fine Whiskies is complemented by local and international ales, ‘some of the finest coffee in Edinburgh’ and a menu of Scottish fare. Traditional Scottish Folk music is performed live on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
Situated in the popular Shore area of the regenerated port district of Leith, Teuchters Landing has been hit listed in the Scottish Eating and Drinking Guide 2012/13, Scotch Malt Whisky ambassador 2013 and CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2013. Teuchter’s Landing offers over 90 varieties of Scotch Whisky (as well as 17 beers on tap and 20 wines by the glass), but the food offering is just as important, with mussels and macaroni and mull cheese featuring as crowd-pleasing favourites.
The Albanach is a modern and welcoming venue, despite its location within a superb mediaeval building in a prime spot on The Royal Mile. The pub serves a range of freshly prepared Scottish dishes, including a delicious breakfast from 10am. More to the point of this article, The Albanach’s fantastic selection of 250 Malt whiskies includes a White Bowmore, several single cask bottlings, and a large selection of rare malts. There is also a huge range of other beverages including cask ales.
Whiski Bar and Restaurant
With 300+ Whiskies to add to its selection of wine, cocktails, and local beers, ‘Whiski’ is a whisky bar for the true devotee. Situated on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, Whiski has a unique ambience, with shabby chic décor and mood lighting creating the perfect environment to sample a ‘wee dram’. The excellent food offering concentrates on the Scottish classics.
The Bow Bar
The Bow Bar’s Gantry (rescued from an old Church)is stuffed full of Malt Whisky, with over 280 Whiskies forming a tempting display. Single Cask Whiskies, Whiskies with a variety of finishes, and newly released Whiskies are frequently featured, but old favourites are always included. In the tradition of great Scottish free houses, the ambience is cozy and informal, as the ‘Good Pub Guide’ found when they voted The Bow Bar ‘Whisky Bar of the Year’ in 2012.
The phrase ‘Teuchter’ is the Scottish version of ‘Country Bumpkin’, a playful put-down that belies the Whisky knowledge and passion displayed by the team at this informal pub. Teuchters combines comfy sofas, a great range of real ales, and a lively atmosphere, and is ideally situated in the heart of the New Town. The unique offering has clearly found favour –the bar has been recognized as one of The Famous Grouse’s ‘Top 100 Bars in the UK’.