The Best Wine Bars in Edinburgh

Smith and Gertrude
Smith and Gertrude | Courtesy of Smith and Gertrude
Helen Arnold

Edinburgh certainly has no shortage of bars, but if you’re a wine lover, where’s the best place to indulge in your favourite tipple?

Loved by over 40s

Scotland’s long-standing relationship with France once ensured that many of Bordeaux’s finest vintages were earmarked for the Port of Leith, keeping the cellars of Edinburgh’s grandees lavishly stocked with claret. Back then, however, wine was a drink reserved for the well-heeled, while the masses had to make do with cheap beer or gin.

Even as recently as the 20th century, the best that Edinburgh could offer your average wine drinker was a selection of dingy, tobacco-stained pubs serving up pints of Heavy in an overwhelmingly male environment. Dare to ask for a glass of wine, and you’d be lucky to be served a warm glass of something highly dubious – along with a distinctly odd look from the barman.

Fast forward to today, however, and Edinburgh’s drinking scene has been transformed into a cosmopolitan arena with some of the country’s very best wine bars and pubs, offering a dizzying range of bottles from around the globe, in some of the city’s most historic and atmospheric venues. Here are some of the best.

Whighams Wine Cellars, Edinburgh

Something of an Edinburgh institution, Whighams Wine Cellars has been packing them in for over 35 years, and is still rammed with well-to-do besuited solicitors and accountants letting their hair down over a post-work drink. But it’s deservedly popular, with a fantastic range of wines – over 80 at the last count, and 35 by the glass to encourage you to try something different – all served up in an atmospheric, candlelit space, with live jazz on Sunday evenings. There are plenty of cosy little nooks and crannies for a business lunch – or a romantic encounter.

One-20 Wine Cafe, Edinburgh

This family-run wine venue situated at the bottom of Dundas Street in the New Town is a great place to stop for a glass after a long day of shopping. With cool, minimalist decor, Perspex chairs, Murano glass chandeliers and modern art on the walls, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a Milan coffee shop rather than an Edinburgh wine bar, but it’s all the better for it. One-20 offers an interesting range of wines personally sourced from independent producers, many of which you would be hard pushed to find elsewhere. It also boasts a carefully curated menu of cheese, charcuterie and pâtisserie.

Smith and Gertrude, Wine Bar, Edinburgh

Smith & Gertrude is one of a new breed of Edinburgh wine bars fast making their mark on the city. Come here for a relaxed lunch, order a glass from the 150-strong list (which focuses heavily on lesser known regions and varietals) and chill out to the vinyl collection. Meanwhile, order some locally sourced cheese and bread to nibble on while you browse the papers and watch the world go by.

The Devil’s Advocate, Wine Bar, Edinburgh

Tucked halfway up a coronary-inducing flight of vertiginous stone steps in one of Edinburgh’s many narrow closes lies the Devil’s Advocate: a dark, sexy bar which would make the perfect venue for a romantic rendezvous. Hole up in this former Victorian pump house and bag yourself a table on the mezzanine level, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the bar below. Tuck into cullen skink (a traditional Scottish smoked haddock soup) followed by North Atlantic cod, and wash it down with one of the wines from the list, including a zingy furmint from Hungary or a bone-dry Mosel riesling.

Good Brothers Wine Bar, Edinburgh

This cosy little bar is tucked just off the main drag in ever-fashionable Stockbridge. With a focus on natural and fine bottles, they champion small and up-and-coming producers from around the world, reflected in their eclectic list. They offer a revolving selection of 20 well-priced wines by the glass, as well as a lengthier list of over 50 bottles, with the English chardonnay a particular highlight. Pair these with delicious sharing plates including venison tartare and smoked haddock beignets.

West Room, Wine Bar, Edinburgh

Venice meets Edinburgh in the small and stylish West Room, where this authentically Italian outfit serves up Venetian cicchetti – small tapas-style plates, traditionally served up with a glass of wine and eaten standing at a bar. The simple dishes are perfect to share (or eat alone) and make the perfect accompaniment to the wine. Kick off with a glass of prosecco, then order a plate of fritto misto or crab risotto and select from the small, but well-considered wine list. Packed with office workers from the west-end for post-work drinks and business lunches, the West Room also makes a civilised pit stop for a nightcap at the end of the evening.

The Wine House 1821, Edinburgh

When a wine bar is run by one of Italy’s top producers, you can feel pretty confident that the selection is up to scratch. And so is the case with Edinburgh’s Wine House 1821, owned by renowned Italian winemakers, the Zonin family. The wine bar, on the ground floor of an elegant Georgian townhouse, offers a more contemporary setting within – think red Venetian marble, warm oak panelling and sleek lines. While Zonin is best known for its prosecco, this is the place to try out some of its other wines including vintages from its American estate.

L’Escargot Blanc Bar à Vin, Edinburgh

With vintage French posters adorning the walls and old pastis bottles hanging from the ceiling, there’s no escaping the inspiration behind chef Fred Berkmiller’s west-end outpost. Bar à Vin is your classic old-school French wine bar, with an almost exclusively French list of around 40 wines covering every main wine-producing region. There’s a particular fondness for organic, biodynamic and natural bottles. French cuisine is served up with carefully sourced Scottish ingredients, in an unashamedly Gallic ambience.

Divino Enoteca, Wine Bar, Edinburgh

In this atmospheric Old Town cellar, found in the hulking shadow of George IV Bridge, you can be sure of a fresh glass thanks to an Enomatic wine dispenser. Divino’s exclusively Italian list of 80-plus labels features stand-out bottles such as Antinori’s Tignanello and Gianfranco Soldera’s Brunello di Montalcino, for those with deep pockets. For a more exciting alternative to the ubiquitous prosecco, choose one of the sparkling wines from Franciacorta instead. Some interesting wine flights are also available.

Valvona and Crolla, Wine Bar, Edinburgh

Valvona & Crolla is Edinburgh’s oldest delicatessen and wine importer, established back in the 1930s when the average Scot probably thought that pasta – if they had even heard of it – grew on trees. Piled high with a cornucopia of foodie and vinous delights, this deli at the top of Leith Walk offers a little wine bar at the back of the shop. There is a huge array of exclusively Italian wines to drink by the glass or bottle, with more than 50 in the Veneto section alone. A policy of charging only retail prices (plus an additional £4 corkage) encourages you to experiment with more expensive bottles.

This article is an updated version of a story by Calum Bolland.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.