Move over, whisky! Craft beer is probably becoming Scotland’s favourite beverage, considering the amount of craft beer bars and microbreweries popping up in Edinburgh in recent years.
Now, that may be a bit of an overstatement – but Edinburgh’s love for craft beer is strong indeed.
To make matters even more interesting, there is not one, but two yearly festivals dedicated to craft beer – the Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival in July at the Corn Exchange, hosting craft breweries from all over the world, and the Craft Beer Experience in November. The latter has a focus on Edinburgh breweries, and it takes place at the Assembly Roxy on Roxburgh Place.
Are you a serious craft beer lover wanting to explore the wonderful world of Scottish breweries? Make sure you visit at the right time to catch one of these events. Otherwise, fear not – you can always join one of the Edinburgh beer tours below, or just follow our guide to the 15 best Edinburgh microbreweries and craft beer bars!
- Edinburgh: Old Town Beer Walking Tour and Tasting
- Edinburgh: Coastal Bike, Beer and Brewery Tour
- Edinburgh: Loch Ness and Scottish Highlands Full-Day Tour
- Discovering Malt Whisky: Day-Tour from Edinburgh
- Loch Ness, Glencoe & Scottish Highlands Tour from Edinburgh
Best Microbreweries & Craft Beer Bars in Edinburgh
1) Innis & Gunn
81-83 Lothian Road
Founded in 2003, this Edinburgh based brewery now exports its fresh brews to over 35
countries. In Edinburgh, you get to try it directly from the source, so to speak! Based on Lothian Road, the Innis & Gunn Taproom serves not only its own beer but also a wide selection of other brands.
You could say this is the best place for craft beer in Edinburgh, and that’s possibly down to its
extensive collection of craft beer – 26 rotating taps, to be exact. The small-batch brews are
interesting, so maybe you should start with a taster set. The staff are experienced, so just let
them know your tastes, and they’ll help you select. Nice atmosphere, too.
2) Campervan Brewery
112 Jane Street
Campervan Brewery is a pretty cool place to be. Situated in Leith, on the Edinburgh coast, this
brewery started life on the road as a “mobile brewery” in a 1973 VW campervan (hence the
name). Today, having opened a permanent location in 2017, it’s still going strong.
Their spacious taproom is laid-back and unpretentious. It’s a little off-the-beaten-track, being set in an old industrial unit, but it’s well worth tracking down.
Once you’re here, try one of their eight keg lines – they brew a new beer at least once a month, so it’s always worth asking. Food is available from a nearby pizza joint. It’s all surprisingly authentic, without the frills and fanciness of other craft beer places.
50 Lothian Rd
Born and bred in Scotland, Brewdog is such a successful brand that it’s gone global, with 78
bars spread around the world. Though founded in Aberdeenshire, three are located in
Edinburgh. Choose between the Lothian Road or the Cowgate location (which is a little bit more central). Otherwise, there’s even a Brewdog at Edinburgh Airport.
Both the city-based bars serve up their speciality craft beers and regular guest brews with a
warm and friendly atmosphere for good measure. There’s a lot of food available (and even a
vegan menu) in this shabby chic environment. Makes for a great place to sample craft beer in
Planning to head to Spain? Make sure you save our Barcelona craft beer guide!
4) Red Squirrel
21 Lothian Road
Modern and sleek, with a stylish boho ambience, Red Squirrel – in the West End of Edinburgh –
is a fabulous, gastropub-esque experience. Open from 9 a.m., it’s the perfect spot for breakfast,
brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or an evening meal. An all-day venue for craft beer and quite
The staff here are super friendly, which is always a plus; they’ll help you select from their five
“favourites” on-tap, including Fallen Local Motive (a session IPA) or Tempest Long White Cloud,
an extra pale ale. There’s also a selection of global and domestic cans and bottles to sample.
57-61 Blackfriars Street
This charming little bar and tasting house is where you’ll fall in love with craft beer in Edinburgh.
It’s an independent bar with a cosy, traditional aesthetic, complete with cool contemporary
touches that’ll have you coming back for more. You’ll find it between the Royal Mile and
At Salthorse, there are 12 keg lines serving up foreign and domestic beer, with around 350
beers from around the world available by the bottle or can. If you’re wondering where on earth to start, the knowledgeable staff will be on hand to help you pick out what you fancy.
People love it here – for good reason.
6) The Holyrood 9A
9a Holyrood Road
Situated in Edinburgh’s Old Town, this wood-panelled pub is a prime location for craft beer
enthusiasts. This hip hang-out may be set in a traditional building, but inside, its rustic features meet modern aesthetics. It’s also much bigger than it seems!
They have a huge selection of beers – so vast that you could easily spend hours trying a few of
them and not make a dent on their list. Pairing their beers (e.g. Leith Juice) with one of the
delicious burgers on the menu – the haggis burger, for example – is highly recommended.
Don’t miss out and go back for breakfast – it’s full-on.
Heading Stateside? Don’t forget to check out our guide to Brooklyn’s 15 best craft breweries!
7) Bow Bar
80 West Bow
This place is old-school. Emphasising cask beers over kegs, and offering a selection of single
malt whiskies, this is the place to come. It’s all about tradition at the longstanding Bow Bar. They even serve pies – you can’t get more traditional than that!
Surrounded by hipster havens, Bow Bar holds its own in this historic neighbourhood. Inside, it’s all classic (some might say refreshingly) British pub interiors – leather, dark wood, and gleaming lamps.
The one-room bar serves eight cask ales and six kegs from a selection of Scottish-only
brewers; simply ask what’s on and away you go—a top spot for craft beer in Edinburgh.
8) Jeremiah’s Taproom
7-8 Elm Row
Situated in Edinburgh’s Elm Row, Jeremiah’s Taproom is a low-key kind of place that adds a
modern spin on traditional with its interiors. More importantly, however, it has a huge range of beers.
Staff are very friendly, there’s a decent selection of music played, and the resulting atmosphere
is welcoming. There are 16 taps that showcase international and Scottish craft beers and
lagers, as well as an impressive stash of bottled beers. One brew to get you started is West St.
Mungo Lager (4.9%), from Glasgow, or the Deuchars IPA (3.8%) – an Edinburgh local.
9) Cambridge Bar
20 Young Street
Cambridge Bar is stylish and sophisticated, a relatively high-end spot for craft beer in
Edinburgh. Set in the historic New Town neighbourhood, walking through the doors reveals
period features, open fireplaces, and stylish furnishings. It’s fancy, alright.
But don’t let that put you off. This place specialises in “carefully researched” beers to make sure you have the best selection on offer. Favourites like Guinness are served on-tap alongside craft beers and ciders; three guest cask lines change according to the season, too.
Hungry? Good, because Cambridge Bar is well known for its food. The burgers, in particular,
are immense – even better paired with a beer.
3 Robertson’s Close
Right in the heart of Edinburgh, in the bar-filled Cowgate area, Pilgrim Bar is a lively spot to
sample all things craft beer. It’s a hipster-friendly spot with upcycled furniture (the bar is made of suitcases, for example), welcoming backpackers and beer-lovers alike. There’s plenty of atmosphere, with entertainment, quiz nights, and music.
It’s very cool, but what about the beer? They’ve got tons of bottles on offer from around the
world, but their sustainable ethos means they have a few organic beers on-tap, too. It won’t be
hard to find something to suit your taste.
11) The Potting Shed
Opening in 2018 on Potterrow – just south of the city centre – The Potting Shed is an excellent
spot with a rustic, well… potting shed aesthetic. If you’re looking for craft beer in Edinburgh, you won’t find a more lively atmosphere than this. There are even little sheds to sit in outside, and there’s live music.
There’s a good selection of local beers on-tap – from Jock’s Home Brew to the stronger Smoke
Bomb. If you’re standing at the bar wondering how to begin your beer odyssey, ask the friendly
staff – they know what they’re talking about and will direct you to something that’ll suit your
32b West Nicolson Street
This basement bar burst onto Edinburgh’s Southside beer scene in early 2014 and hasn’t
looked back since. Though it’s low-key and literally underground, it’s touted as Edinburgh’s best bar by numerous publications. Besides the atmosphere, there’s the beer to thank for those
Sticking by the motto of “the purveyors of mankind’s greatest creation,” Ushers boasts bottled
beers on offer from around the world, but (of course) the focus is on craft beer. There’s a
massive selection on offer – most of the UK’s top breweries have been represented here at
some point or another. If you want to try them all, you’ll probably have to come back a few
13) Six Degrees North
24 Howe Street
Undeniably hip, Six Degrees North was established in 2013 by Robert Lindsey. It all began with
a fateful trip to Belgium, where he understandably fell in love with beer, brewing, and Brussels itself – the name comes from the fact that Edinburgh is six degrees north of Brussels!
Today, Lindsey and his team brew classic Belgium beers the old-fashioned way: the
carbonation is natural – by way of secondary fermentation – and they’re unfiltered. There are
also some more modern “hop-forward” styles, with collaborations with other breweries on offer, too. The decor is minimal and, again, Belgium-inspired!
14) Guildford Arms
1 West Register Street
Owned and operated by the same family – the Stuarts – since 1896, the Guildford Arms is a
classic Victorian-style bar. Located in Edinburgh’s New Town, it’s just about as traditional as
they come – plush carpets, ornate wood finishes, patterned ceilings, etched glass, shiny taps,
and upstairs dining. A vintage beauty.
More than just a spot for craft beer in Edinburgh, this place is an Edinburgh institution. It oozes atmosphere, history, and authenticity from the moment you walk through the revolving doors.
The beers on offer represent a frequently rotating selection of international and Scottish beers –
three cask ales, eleven kegs, and six local casks in the cellar (currently).
15) Stockbridge Tap
2 Raeburn Place
A local favourite, Stockbridge Tap is a friendly spot located just outside the city centre. More
than just a local favourite, however, it’s actually a multi CAMRA Award-winning pub. And don’t worry, it’s not snooty.
If you plan to come here, expect a laid-back atmosphere. Fun fact – there are mirrors on the walls here taken from breweries that no longer exist.
In terms of beer, it has two regular cask ales and four rotating. The regulars vary, but they come from Cromarty, a microbrewery in the Highlands, and Swannay Island Hopping, all the way from Orkney. As a bonus, the food is reasonably priced.