You may not like whisky and many would say it’s because you’ve not had the right whisky – to which I would add, you’ve not had whisky in Edinburgh, Scotland. Experiencing whisky in Edinburgh gives you a flavor of the culture here as well, people who like to talk, often over drinks, and good Scotch whisky gives you the opportunity for both across the city.
Here are 3 of the best places to drink whisky in Edinburgh, a city to visit if you don’t know where to go, for enthusiasts and amateurs alike.
1. The Albanach
At first glance this pub on the corner of Edinburgh’s downtown might trigger your tourist trap alarm but staff at The Albanach are friendly and very knowledgeable about whiskies. Plop yourself down at the bar or grab a (rather hearty) meal before 8pm; anyone behind the counter will have the right whiskies whether you ask for their recommendations or have some specifics in mind. Based on your tastes, preferences, and combined with some creativity on their part, you may just find a whisky you never knew was perfect for you.
2. Royal Mile Whiskies
Again, deceiving from the outside if you tend to avoid places that look too popular to be interesting, Royal Mile Whiskies blend the drinks with the land from which the Scotch is fermented. Royal Mile Whiskies is where to go if you’re shopping for a gift or something to take home, it’s where I discovered my favorite whisky I never knew existed. Chances are high Royal Mile Whiskies is where you’ll find a unique Scotch too. Plenty of complimentary tastings inside as well to help you decide.
3. Arcade – Haggis and Whisky House
As the name implies, there are two things Arcade does especially well. Arcade is popular and often crowded but if you can catch a time when it’s a bit quieter, you won’t be disappointed. Since it’s well-known, it can be less inviting if you arrive at peak hours, so plan accordingly.
There are a lot of excellent places to drink Scotch whisky, with tastings and knowledgeable bartenders, across Edinburgh. For visitors, these three are in the middle of town, easily accessible, and fun places if you’re with friends or traveling solo. Up the road, Deacon Brodie’s Tavern is also a nice choice, with a few caveats. They’re one of the places open later for food, but avoid eating there on the weekends because there will be a line out the door. During the week however, excellent for an after-8pm meal or a generally anytime dram of whisky at the first floor bar.
Much like Turkish raki, the best accompaniment to whisky is conversation, with no better place than Edinburgh for both.