Edinburgh Book Festival: The best food & drink nearby

Literary-minded pubs, delicious coffee, and ice cream that even your dog can enjoy – here are our pick of the best food and drink venues within paperback-tossing range of Edinburgh Book Festival's Charlotte Square home

Feature by The Skinny | 03 Aug 2017
  • Bryant and Mack

Pubs and Bars near the Book Festival 

Cambridge Bar (20 Young St, 2 mins walk from Charlotte Sq)
One of a pair of notable Edinburgh pubs on Young Street, the Cambridge is the more modern of the two. A food menu that focuses on increasingly elaborate beers, a good range of local booze and a surprisingly ample number of seats make it well worth a visit.

Oxford Bar (8 Young St, 2 mins walk)
The other one of a pair of notable Edinburgh pubs on Young Street, this is the one that Ian Rankin's hotshot detective Rebus favours. It's a typical Edinburgh boozer, and one for conspiratorial whispering and pints of local ale.

Panda and Sons (79 Queen St, 3 mins walk)
Just down the street from the Book Festival at Charlotte Square, you’ll find a barber shop purportedly run by a large bear. Spoiler alert – this is a front for one of the city’s most interesting cocktail bars. Also, to get to the fun, you've got to push one of those secret bookcase doors that you thought only existed in spy films and fairytales.

Bryant & Mack (87-89 Rose St N Ln, 4 mins walk)
A top-notch one-room bar, Bryant & Mack is all dark colours, mood lighting, comfy seats and delicious drinks. The speakeasy vibe is complimented by the space itself – everyone gets their own little corner in which to plot away. 

Cafes near the Book Festival

The Caffeine Drip (10 Melville Pl, 5 mins walk)
A slice of South African hospitality in the West End, The Caffeine Drip has a number of strings to its bow. Great coffee – check. Milkshakes and smoothies – check. Hefty sandwiches – mmm-hmm.

Cairngorm Coffee (1 Melville St, 5 mins walk)
A bright, airy and simple space that's all stone, long tables and big windows, Cairngorm is ideal for watching literary fans running late for their Book Festival events as you gulp down a delicious flat white.

Food near the Book Festival

Social Bite (131 Rose St, 4 mins walk)
Do some good while grabbing your lunch – Social Bite donate all of their profits to charitable causes in Scotland and beyond, and one in four of their staff are formerly homeless. SB also operate a 'suspended coffee' scheme (pay for a coffee to be donated at a later point in the day) to help out the city's homeless population, so it's ideal for those who want to help others while going about the festive business. Oh, and the sandwiches are great as well.

Dough (172 Rose St, 3 mins walk)
You’re on the way from one show to another, you’re a bit hungover and you haven’t eaten in a day and a half. What you need is a slice of pizza – Dough have an extensive array of by-the-slice pies, all delicious sea water crusts and fresh ingredients. Go to them; they’ll see you right.

Calistoga (70 Rose St N Ln, 5 mins walk)
Californian-inspired bar-café Calistoga offers a kernel of west-coast glamour even on Edinburgh's darkest days. Ideal if you want to get away from the festival rush for an hour or two.

Affogato (36 Queensferry St, 5 mins walk)
A dinky little gelato spot just off the west end of Princes Street, Affogato tread the line of tradition and innovation quite nicely, then throw the contents of that line into incredible ice cream. Ideal for a post-discussion energy boost, and they also serve up ice cream for dogs. Yep.

Söderberg (31 Queensferry St, 5 mins walk)
Crispbreads, cardamom buns, sourdough breads and more await at the west end outpost Swedish bakery Söderberg; ideal if you're in a rush from event to event. Just dust the bun crumbs off your jumper before sitting down and you'll be fine.

To plan your EIBF schedule, head across to theskinny.co.uk/festivals/edinburgh-festivals/books to read our previews of the festival's best events, plus interviews with the literary talent heading to Charlotte Square