Pubs? What Are They Good For!: Your favourite Edinburgh and Glasgow bars

Here are your favourite pubs and bars in Glasgow and Edinburgh, each of them special in their own way

Feature by Peter Simpson | 07 Jan 2015

There are hundreds of bars across Scotland, each with their own unique twists and little foibles that make them special, so choosing which one to head to for a drink can be a bit tricky. Let’s look, in no particular order, at your top seven from this year’s Survey (there was a three-way tie for fifth place) to see just what makes them stand out, and help cut down on the time spent deliberating over where to spend your evening.

Let’s keep it simple at first, and deal with those of you who want a ‘proper pub.’ Well, The Belle on Glasgow’s Great Western Road fits the bill for that – there’s a genuine fire, a great range of beers, the occasional live band, and non-outrageous prices. That’s the kind of combination that wins you votes. If you’re after good beer but fancy heading ‘outside’ to drink it, look no further than Inn Deep, just down the road on the banks of the Kelvin. The leafiest outpost of the burgeoning Williams Bros. empire, Inn Deep makes the most of its location by laying on a huge range of guest beers as well as Williams’ brews, and the interior is cosy and comfy for the 51 weeks of the year when going al fresco isn’t really an option.

For those of you who like their bars quirky and unpredictable, Hillhead Bookclub’s split-level wood-clad space is the place for be. The former cinema off Byres Road is a great place to spend the evening getting distracted by the architectural details and weird stuff on show, and if that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing, the Bookclub also features a table tennis cage. ‘Something for everyone’ is the expression, we believe.

The Skinny Food and Drink Survey 2015:

 The best cafes in Edinburgh and Glasgow

 All your favourite venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow

Over in Edinburgh, the lovingly-restored Victorian features of Nobles on Constitution Street would be worth a visit under any circumstances, but the great beer range and nice modern touches inside mean that your trip may well extend a bit longer than planned (always a sign of a good bar, we find). For those who believe a trip to the pub isn’t complete without some top-notch food, The Vintage are glad to be of assistance. The Vintage menu ranges from the usual burgers and platters through to gastro fare such as slow-roasted hare and braised ox cheeks; throw in one of the best beer lists in the city and your self-appointed task of getting through dinner and drinks while moving as little as possible just became a lot easier.

If you reckon a pub should be a place to lay back and relax, then the Leith outpost of the Brass Monkey is the survey winner for you. A larger and more spacious version of its Drummond Street namesake, the Monkey melds a good drinks range and a solid soundtrack with the kind of laid-back atmosphere that makes the place feel like a giant living room. Granted, it’s a living room filled with strangers, but you’ll still feel right at home.

And for those of you who like a bit of variety in your evenings out, The Hanging Bat on Lothian Road is a good place to start. The Bat have dozens of great beers on the go at any one time, drawn from brewers and producers from across the UK and beyond, as well as a big range of artisan spirits and a thoroughly meaty food menu. Well, as we’ve seen from this year’s survey, you lot do like variety in your bars...

The Skinny Food and Drink Survey closes on 28 November 2015; the results will be announced in January 2016