Just touched down in Edinburgh and looking for some classic, great pubs and bars to visit on the city’s most famous street? Team member Louise talks us through her top tips for where to visit on the Royal Mile…
“From the Castle to the Palace, the Royal Mile is Edinburgh’s hub. Always abuzz with visitors and locals, these are just some of the incredible bars on this historic street – with an extensive selection of whisky, of course!
1 – The Amber Bar
Starting our journey at the top of the Royal Mile, Amber is situated within the Scotch Whisky Experience. With well over 400 whiskies to choose from and expert bartenders on hand, we’ll find you something to drink.
2 – The Ensign Ewart
Heading just a few yards from Amber is the Ensign Ewart. If you’re looking for traditional, rustic feel, look no further. With an entirely Scottish food menu including classics you tend not to find anywhere else, Ewart’s has everything you could need for a comfy night out. With live music every night from 9pm, this is not a pub to skip.
3 – The Jolly Judge
The Jolly Judge is an Edinburgh local’s worst kept secret – once you pay them a visit, you’ll understand why. Nestled in a small close [old-timey alleyways!] just off the Mile, you’ll find tartan carpets, friendly staff, a cosy fire, dogs, and a bigger whisky & beer selection than most people know how to handle!
4 – The Albanach
You never forget your first specialist whisky bar – and for most people in Edinburgh, the Albanach is theirs. It’s easy to get lost with their ceiling-high shelves of whisky bottles, but the staff are always ready to take you on a whistle-stop tour of the drams available.
5 – The Inn on the Mile
With less of a traditional vibe and more of an upmarket bar paying homage to their original banking roots with pennies making up their tables, the Inn on the Mile is a fascinating wee haunt. I say ‘haunt’ – ask them about their resident ghost…
6 – Whiski Bar
It’s there in the title. If you want a whisky bar, find Whiski. While their dram selection is already impressive and their tasting flights are so well put-together, what continues to strike me most about this place is their décor. They’ve committed hard to the whisky world – take a trip for a glance at vintage whisky adverts, various branded mirrors and trinkets and a fashionable array of whisky boxes.
7 – Monteith’s
Something a little different from the other bars listed here, Monteith’s is best known as a cocktail bar – and their cocktails are incredible. Unique whisky cocktails steal the show and if you’re only in for drinks, try to grab a seat right at the bar – just look at their collection of gins, whiskies, wines… Download their drinks list. It’s 40 pages.
8 – The World’s End
While it sounds like something out of a pirate movie, at one point, World’s End was exactly that – the City of Edinburgh used to only be the Royal Mile from the Castle down to this pub, and on the pavement outside you’ll find gold markings where the city walls used to stand. Head inside for an encompassing history lesson over a dram – and usually TV sports as well.
9 – The Waverley Bar
Okay, this one isn’t technically on the Royal Mile, but it’s on the corner of the World’s end and Saint Mary’s Street and it’s too good to miss. With a big square bar in the centre of the room, you can’t help but be in awe of their seemingly-glowing whisky bottles. If you’re here during the Fringe, you’ll find some super intimate shows in their function rooms here as well.
10 – Kilderkin
Ah, the last one. Down by the Palace, and the last pub on the Mile, is Kilderkin. Arguably the most rustic on the list, Kilderkin is a comfortable and easy-going place to have your last few drinks. With regular events like whisky tastings, live music and charity pub quizzes, something is always happening here!
And don’t worry – there’s a taxi rank down by the Palace to take you home once you’re done!”
Find out more about things to do on the Royal Mile here.
Find out more things to do in Edinburgh from the Scotch Whisky Experience team