The bars of Edinburgh have heaps to offer: from trendy cocktail spots to whacky themed bars, every Edinburgher can find the perfect place for them. So, we’ve gathered up a sweet list of the most quirky bars in town to inspire your next night out with pals.
1. The Mousetrap
When it comes to the quirkiest of bars, The Mousetrap will top our list over and over. Many a nights were spent there playing board games, with a dollhouse, or just listening to the live music and DJs. The bar is named after the iconic board game, Mouse Trap, and is consistent with its board game theme. On top of the decent humans that work there and good vibes, guests can vibe to all sorts of music from classic rock and old-school hip-hop, to latin vibes (every Thursday) and open mic nights on Sundays. What is more, there are plenty of board games around, as well as some arcade games at the end of the bar. This is a true gem of Leith Walk and Leith itself, and is worth supporting this gaming and music bar in Edinburgh.
2. Panda & Sons
Panda & Sons just looks like a vintage barber shop at first glance, but once you walk through a door that is also a bookcase, you’re transported into a clandestine wee bar with imaginative concoctions. Guests don’t expect luxurious grandeur at Panda & Sons, but the quality of the cocktails: each drink is created with balanced touches of both modern and classic influences. There is just something way more exciting about and the allure of the prohibited bar concept itself, and the speakeasy quirky bar has knocked it out of the park.
3. The Cauldron Wizard Bar
This is a wizard-themed bar, a place for potion making and magic. The Cauldron offers wizard-inspired cocktail masterclasses, where guests don a cloak, learn how to use a magic wand and create some potions and lotions to drink. What is more, visitors can opt for the Wizard Afternoon Tea experience, where interactive tea-brewing and treat making takes place. However, those who wish to just swing by for some drinks without the interactive experiences can also just book a drinks-only table. Out of all the uniquely quirky bars, The Cauldron is the most magical.
4. Hoot The Redeemer
Hoot The Redeemer is another speakeasy quirky bar owned by the same people as Panda & Sons, and follows a vintage fun fair theme. As soon as you walk down the stairs to the basement bar, you’re welcomed by a fortune teller and her crystal ball that lights up if you touch it. once you’re in, it’s a boomin’ bar with good vibes most nights. There is also a claw crane machine within where guests can catch a ball with a surprise cocktail. Just take the surprise cocktail ball to the bar, and enjoy your drink!
5. Balie Ballerson
This is a fun one: ball pit bar Ballie Ballerson opened in 2022 for the first time, welcoming fun-loving Edinburghers to bring out their inner children. Visitors just take a menu full of sweet-inspired drinks (opt for the ever-popular Skittles Sour, made with pink gin, limoncello, and Skittles) and add a giant ball pit, into which you and the squad can dive, swim, or chuck the balls around. The ball pit also features mirrored walls and ceilings, ideal for selfies. Ballie Ballerson is located on Forrest Road, in the site of the old McSorley’s Irish Bar, where it’s spread over two floors and can welcome up to 300 ballers.
6. Paradise Palms
When it comes to quirky bars, this one is decked in palm plants, rainbow colours and good vibes. One of the main go-to places during the Edinburgh Fringe, Paradise Palms offers award-winning vegetarian food from Lucky Pig, decent cocktails, international beers and an inclusive atmosphere. The bar also hosts DJs every Friday and Saturday as well as the occasional midweek gig here and there.