Being a Leith resident and a prolific beer drinker, I spend a lot of time in pubs around the area. This is a non-extensive roundup of my favourite spots for a drink and a natter, originally published on Exploredi.com 🙂
This awesome pub is tucked away just off Lindsay Road, but it’s an absolute belter. The staff are super-friendly, they always have an exciting range of beers on tap, it’s awesomely decorated, and there’s usually a pretty cute selection of dogs to pet. Oh, and you can get pizza delivered from Origano or East Pizzas (two of the best pizza joints in north Edinburgh). Their pub quiz on a Friday is a load of silly, hilarious fun which I recommend if it’s your first time going, but any time is a good time to check this place out. Go follow them on Twitter, too – they’re really funny.
A relative newcomer to the Leith pub scene, this gem is the perfect spot for a quiet drink after work. It’s never over-crowded, and it has a great range of drinks, good bar snacks, and regular events like pub quizzes and live music. Plus, it’s jointly operated by Dawkin’s (a Bristol brewery), has the CAMRA seal of approval due to its extensive range of real ales, and also has an awesome craft beer selection on tap and in bottles. All you could ever want, really. Just don’t sit on the comfy red sofa – that’s my spot.
Malt & Hops
If you’re after a traditional, old-school-style pub with a busy vibe and cheap (but always decent) real ale, this is the place for you. The window seats are great for looking out onto the Shore, and they have hop vines running along the walls and ceiling, which make the atmosphere really chilled. It’s also one of the most popular – and best – spots to enjoy a ‘sunshine pint’, both with the older locals and the hipster youngsters.
Lioness of Leith
With its decent cocktail and wine menu, its unusual but fun decor (including an old pinball machine with a new lease of life as a table, a very large trippy AF painting of a bearded bespectacled man, and a neon sign that says ‘Don’t be a dick’), and its small but expertly chosen selection of beers, the Lioness is a firm favourite of any Leither. They also have a new food menu, which judging by their recent Instagram posts looks incredibly drool-worthy.
This dockside pub has it all. Want a relaxed atmosphere to have a few drinks with your friends of an evening? Head inside and sit by the fire through the archway in the intimate alcove. Want a pint in the sun? Get yourself a cold beer and sit outside on their floating deck. Want to watch the sports on a big screen? Teuchter’s is famous for going all-out when it comes to sports, rugby especially. Want comfort food? Grab yourself a sofa and a pint of mac n cheese or stovies (yes, you read that right – they do pint-sized mugs of a lot of their staple/comfort foods). More in the mood for fancy seafood? Order a big bucket of mussels and some oysters, locally sourced of course, and take a seat on their patio outside and pretend you’re on holiday in the Mediterranean. After a nice, interesting craft beer? Or a premium dram of whiskey? Or a good-quality wine? Teuchter’s offers all of those. Plus their very fun and very dangerous whisky ‘hoop of destiny’ game. I’ll leave you to find out about that one on your own.
Nobles is charming. It has gorgeous Victorian decor, quirky paintings (including a portrait of Bill Murray and one of a fat ginger cat), and the most impressive Leith-themed stained glass windows. They always have something nice on tap, but they also have an extensive selection of drinks for non-beer-lovers, and it has an ever-chilled atmosphere even when it’s really busy. Their food menu comes very highly-rated, especially their brunches, so it’s perfect for any time of the day. Top tip: sit at the ‘stage’ bit at the front and people-watch the afternoon away, both inside looking down onto the rest of the bar, and out the window onto Constitution Street.
Board games, a cosy atmosphere, Scottish beers, great pub grub, and cocktails in teapots. What more could you ask for? Haggis Eggs Benedict? Well then The Roseleaf is the place for you, a local’s secret for one of the best breakfast spots in town.
Bonus – Old Chain Pier
This lovely little spot is a bit further afield in Newhaven, but the short walk there is worth it, especially since it takes you along the harbour. If you’re lucky enough you’ll be able to get a seat by the corner window in the main bar, which offers almost-panoramic views over the ocean. If not, get yourself any other window seat which overlooks the Firth of Forth. As well as the stunning outlook, this pub offers good beer, great food and excellent service, plus locally-made crafts and cards.