Karen at Nauticus

Bon Accord's Guide to Edinburgh's Best Cocktail Bars

At Bon Accord, we live by two hard and fast rules: make the best soft drinks around, and love thy neighbour. That’s why we love giving kudos to our favourite local businesses. This week, we’re talking cocktails!

The recent Edinburgh Cocktail Week 2022 was a smash hit, with its biggest-ever bill of events, pop-ups & bars. We popped along to the opening and were blown away by the drinks on offer! 

With a few new favourites under our belt, we felt qualified to give our (non-conclusive) guide to Edinburgh’s best cocktail bars!

Commons Club

There’s been loads of buzz around the opening of the new Virgin hotel on Grassmarket - and for good reason!  Its blend of Victorian architecture with contemporary design is everything that you would expect from a hotel nestled in the historic India Buildings of Edinburgh’s Old Town. 

Within it, is the Commons Club Bar & Restaurant, a venue where you can unwind in luxury amongst plush soft furnishings, cosy nooks, and stunningly sumptuous lounge areas. 


Their drinks are dotted with references to Scotland's landscape and history like 'William Wallace', 'Breakfast in the Highlands' and 'Hadrians Wall'.      


Start your perfect Commons Club evening by grabbing a few cocktails before feasting on delectable Scottish produce in the restaurant. End your perfect night in the hotel's ‘Funny Library’, where you can peruse the classics alongside a post-dinner coffee. 

If you want to treat yourself, then Commons Club is the one-stop destination for you.


Launched earlier this year, Bittersweet in Leith is the new venture from bartender and distillery director, Fabrizio Cioffi, alongside his chef brother, Simone. Fabrizio had already found success in the city after running the artisanal Old Poison distillery, based at Edinburgh’s Biscuit Factory.


Given their background and their heritage, Fabrizio and Simone are best placed to show us exactly how to indulge like Italians. And trust us when we say that they’ve very much succeeded. 

Negronis, martinis, spritzes: you name it, they serve it. And better yet, most of their serves feature the spirits distilled at Old Poison. The presentation alone is stunning, but the taste is unparalleled. 


And it doesn’t stop at the drinks. Simone has curated the perfect menu of Italian street food to soak up any burgeoning sore hangovers. We were delighted to see our favourite Italian snacks like taralli on the menu, along with some mouth-watering specials and antipasti boards that are perfect for sharing!

If you’re already longing for days of summer gone by, look no further because Bittersweet gives you a taste of Italy without having to leave Edinburgh. 

Panda and Sons

Owned by bar industry legend Iain McPherson, Panda and Sons has become a pillar of Edinburgh’s bar scene.

Panda and Sons takes you on a journey down into a hidden underworld of luxurious libations. Hidden behind a barbershop storefront is the prohibition-style speakeasy, complete with ambient lighting that gives glimpses of the cocktail-related curiosities adorning the walls. 

Panda & Sons Interior

But the setting is only part of the story behind why this location is not only an Edinburgh favourite, but an international award-winning bar. 

Each chapter of the cocktail menu reads like an odyssey in itself, regaling tales of how the cocktails came to be and why they were chosen for the menu. No attention to detail is spared here as you flip through everything from classic cocktails originating from the world’s most iconic bars, to modern twists featuring techniques like fat-washing and ultrasonic infusions. 

Panda & Sons Cocktails


Panda and Sons is the best location for any occasion, but particularly for those wanting to impress out of town visitors as the team behind this bar are leading the fore in Edinburgh’s cocktail scene. 

As you rouse from your cocktail-induced daze and pull yourself back onto Edinburgh’s busy streets, you’d be forgiven for thinking the experience was all a dream. 

Hoot the Redeemer

From the same award-winning team, we have Hoot the Redeemer, Panda and Sons little sister. This time, they’ve jumped forward 30 years from the 1920s prohibition to a 1950s New Orleans funfair!

You’re greeted by an old-fashioned fortune teller at the door, behind which is a world of fanciful drinks and nostalgic food. 

They call themselves the ‘Unofficial king of the cocktail slushy’ for a good reason: they have a wee ice cream factory in the back of the bar, where they create flavours from Whiskey and dark chocolate to classics like White Russians, and Piña Coladas. 


Hoot’s ice cream and slushy offering is a result of McPherson’s fascination with reinvention, and obsession with creating new ways to enjoy cocktails. In a move reminiscent of Caractacus Potts from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, McPherson actually built Hoot the Redeemer’s original ice cream machine himself from an old frozen product vending machine!

If all of that is not enough to tempt you, then hopefully the team behind it are! Recently, they’ve been sharing their cocktails of the week over on Instagram so you can sample something new each time you visit! 



Hoot the Redeemer say it best themselves: “our ethos is that we aren’t a serious bar but we take having fun and making sure you have fun very seriously”.


For cocktail and soda lovers alike, our full collection of drinks is available online now, including mixer and soft drink variety packs, and sharing bottles for all occasions!

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