Robert Louis Stevenson once described Edinburgh as leading a “double existence”. He may well have been right — to this day, Scotland’s capital city manages to be simultaneously quaint and decedent, its crooked medieval streets bursting with innovative places to eat and drink. Step beyond its UNESCO-listed old and new towns, however, and there’s even more to discover. Join us below as we explore some of the city’s most exciting wine bars, from humble bottle shop hybrids to Michelin-starred mainstays.
Not so long ago, the idea of somewhere like Mistral thriving in rough-and-tumble Leith would have seemed laughable. Upgraded from a wine shop to include a bar and restaurant in 2021, you can still buy bottles there, while the menu includes Scottish oysters and mussels.
Spry is one of the newest and sleekest wine bars in the capital, with an interior that feels like an art gallery. It has a big focus on natural wines, while the food primarily uses Scottish ingredients.
If you’re a fan of South African wines, then Good Brothers is the place to go. In the wake of the pandemic, the owners have doubled down on those varieties in a bid to support the ailing industry. There’s also a sister property, Little Rascal, in the west of the city.
Le Di-Vin has shaken off most notions of formality to be the city’s most fun wine bar. Opened in 2008 before the more recent wave of wine bars, its French owner unsurprisingly has a healthy selection of wines from her home country among the 30 or so varieties available by the glass.
Another West End favourite, The Green Room may not have the longest lists in the city, but it does have impressive diversity, with wines from Bulgaria, Georgia and Hungary, as well as classic Old and New World offerings. The food is resolutely Mediterranean.
Halfway down Leith Walk, Nott’s Turkish owners offer plenty of cuisine from their homeland on the menu, alongside wines, too. The speciality platters come with wine pairings, but there’s a healthy selection of glasses to choose from even if you aren’t interested in eating.
Smith & Gertrude specialises in matching cheeses to selections from its broad cellar. A favourite of groups and people looking to learn more about flavour pairings, its winning formula has recently been rolled out in Portobello, too.
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