Explore your world
© Underbelly Limited/Flickr
© Underbelly Limited/Flickr

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017: Where To Drink

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 2 August 2017
With this year marking the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s 70th birthday comes a whole host of merry festivities, and that includes swoon-worthy spots to drink. From booze tents popping up faster than a standing ovation to exclusive Fringe craft cocktails, check out our edit of the most happening places.

The Famous Spiegeltent

The name says it all — she really is famous! Since her 1985 Edinburgh debut, this travelling tent has served as a legendary Fringe hangout with a cult following. With an ambience fit for the stars and a spellbinding history as an unmitigated party palace, it seems only fitting that the Spiegel hosted Marlene Dietrich’s 1930s performance of ‘Falling In Love Again’ on its very stage. Between its own iconic bar, the constellation of mini bars scattered about and its reputation as the perfect place to people watch, Fringe goers will never want to leave.

The Famous Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 558 9005

Edinburgh Gin At The Fringe

Set to send all juniper enthusiasts fizzing with excitement this festival season, Edinburgh Gin has conjured up a menu of exclusive cocktails in honour of the Fringe’s 70th anniversary. These gin elixirs can be found embellishing Contini @ The Mound Tipple Trailer (The Mound on Princes St), Edinburgh Gin Terrace (The Place Hotel), Pop-Up Bar (George St), The Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre (Rose St), The New Amphion (Teviot House), The Loft (Teviot House), Edinburgh International Book Festival (Charlotte Sq) and Edinburgh Gin Room (99 Hanover St from 6pm). To top it off, Edinburgh Gin is sponsoring Chronicles at Sea, an effervescent Fringe show, part live-action radio comedy, part murder mystery.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery, 1A Rutland Place, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 226 0000

Gin O'Clock | Courtesy Of Tori Chalmers

Gin O’Clock | Courtesy Of Tori Chalmers

Brass Monkey

For those who like a more inconspicuous tipple or two, the Brass Monkey is just the spot. Situated near the Pleasance, it is close to all the hustle and bustle of the Festival. Slink into the back room, which hosts an abundance of pillows and screenings of classic films. This wee haven is known as a favoured hangout for some of the Fringe comedians, so why not see if you can spot them.

Brass Monkey, 14 Drummond St, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 556 1961

Cabaret Voltaire

Cabaret Voltaire is an absolute must for those who like to party. With drink prices that satisfy the wallet, fantastic music and a cool cave-like atmosphere, this is the place to drink the night away. Cab Vol is the don of live music too, being well accustomed to hosting an array of gigs from local bands to famous acts. The garnish on the cocktail is that during the Fringe, it transforms into Venue 338, Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire. This comedy hotspot operates until the wee hours of the morning and some of it is even free. Life could be worse.

Cabaret Voltaire, 36-38 Blair St, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 247 4704

A Pickering’s Gin Jolly

An unmissable occasion for avid gin gurus, the Pickering’s Gin Jolly is a celebration of the nation’s beloved tipple. Kick off festivities at the Pickering’s Airstream Cocktail Bar in the courtyard before shimmying your way to the Summerhall Distillery tour. Admire the gin making prowess of Pickering’s stills Gert and Emily and revel in the grand finale gin tasting session.

Pickering’s Gin, 1 Summerhall Distillery, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 290 2901

Gin Jollies | Courtesy Of Gregor Schmultz

Gin Jollies | Courtesy Of Gregor Schmultz

Edinburgh Tour And Whisky Tasting

The perfect blend of whisky and history, this booze cruise on foot takes Fringe goers on an expedition of Edinburgh’s Old Town. After a cultured meander, learn from the pros at Jeffrey St Whisky and Tobacco with a Scotch Whisky masterclass revolving around four special Scotch whiskies. We’ll cheers to that.

Edinburgh Whisky Walks: A Tour And A Tasting, 12-14 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, UK, +144 131 226 0000

Pleasance Courtyard

Delve deep into this cultural utopia awash with fairy lights and people from all corners of the globe to experience the true essence of the festival crowd. As one of the main Fringe arteries, the Pleasance Courtyard is a wondrous fusion of man’s greatest pleasures. Grab a brew or two and soak up the hustle and bustle of the festivities during the whole month of August. Whether waiting in between shows or simply setting up shop for the day, the Pleasance is filled with never-ending fun and an infinite supply of drinks.

Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 556 6550

The Pear Tree

Any Edinburgh native will know that The Pear Tree is a prime spot for grabbing a drink and chattering away throughout the year. The cosy interior is inviting and the garden couldn’t be more perfect for alfresco shenanigans. During the festival, this wee drinking abode is livelier than a heckling audience member and, like many places in Edinburgh, transforms into a Fringe venue during August. From comedy to cocktails, they have you covered.

The Pear Tree, 38 W Nicolson St, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 667 7533

Cocktail | Courtesy Of Tori Chalmers

Cocktail | Courtesy Of Tori Chalmers


The Underbelly is notorious for possessing a contagious and whimsical vibe. This party place most certainly deserves credit for hosting some of the greatest talent and coolest bars at the Edinburgh Festival. Whether the show-stopping Circus Hub on The Meadows, Udderbelly’s Pasture at George Square, Topside on Potterrow or the original favourite that is the Cowgate site — complete with three banter-filled bars and endless venues — this tried and true herd knows the Fringe drinking ropes like no other. Just look for the upside down purple cows and you’ll be good to go!

Underbelly, Edinburgh Central Library, 56 Cowgate, Edinburgh, UK, +44 1844 545 8252

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Destined to sweep audiences of their feet, there’s never a dull moment at Gilded Balloon Teviot. This notorious Fringe venue operates out of a miniature neo-gothic castle and boasts nine performance spaces, seven buzzing bars and a cafe. Although each bar is bestowed with its own unique fingerprint, the roof-top wonder that is The Loft rests in a league of its own.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, Teviot Row House, 13 Bristo Square, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 622 6552