10 Oldest Pubs in Edinburgh


Today, we’re going on an exciting journey through time to discover some of the oldest pubs in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Pubs are cozy places where people gather to enjoy tasty food and drinks while sharing stories and laughter with friends and family. Can you guess what makes these pubs so special? Let’s find out together as we explore the history behind these historic landmarks!

1.Jolly Judge

The Jolly Judge is a charming little pub nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Imagine walking down narrow cobblestone streets and stumbling upon this hidden gem with its welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff. But did you know that the Jolly Judge has a history that stretches back centuries? It’s true! This cozy pub has been serving locals and visitors alike since way back in the 18th century.

Legend has it that the Jolly Judge got its name from a kindly old judge who used to frequent the pub, spreading cheer and good spirits wherever he went. Today, it’s known for its traditional Scottish fare, including hearty stews and freshly baked pies, not to mention its impressive selection of local beers and whiskies.

Step inside the Jolly Judge, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time. The walls are adorned with old photographs and memorabilia, each telling a story of days gone by. So, next time you find yourself wandering the historic streets of Edinburgh, be sure to pay a visit to the Jolly Judge and raise a glass to its rich history!

2.Frankenstein

Frankenstein pub offers a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that combines elements of horror, science fiction, and good old-fashioned fun.

As you step through the doors of Frankenstein, you’ll be greeted by a sight straight out of a Gothic novel. The interior is decked out with spooky décor, including bubbling test tubes, electric coils, and even a life-sized replica of the infamous Frankenstein’s monster. It’s like stepping into a mad scientist’s laboratory!

But don’t let the frightful décor scare you away. Frankenstein pub is actually a lively and welcoming place, perfect for enjoying a drink with friends or catching up over a delicious meal. The menu features a variety of pub classics with a twist, including monstrous burgers, freakishly good cocktails, and decadent desserts that are to die for.

In addition to its unique atmosphere and delicious food and drinks, Frankenstein pub also hosts regular events and themed nights, including costume parties, live music, and movie screenings. It’s a place where you can let your imagination run wild and create memories that will last a lifetime.

3.Kinleith Mill

Kinleith Mill has a fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century when it operated as a working mill, grinding grain and producing flour for the local community. Over the years, the mill evolved into a gathering place for mill workers and travelers passing through the area, eventually transforming into the cozy pub we know today.

Walking into Kinleith Mill feels like stepping back in time, with its rustic décor and traditional charm. The walls are adorned with old photographs and artifacts, each telling a story of the pub’s long and storied past. It’s a place where you can feel the echoes of generations past, a testament to the enduring spirit of Edinburgh’s pub culture.

Today, Kinleith Mill continues to serve as a beloved gathering place for locals and visitors alike, offering a warm welcome and a taste of history with every pint. Whether you’re stopping by for a hearty meal, a refreshing drink, or simply to soak in the atmosphere, Kinleith Mill is sure to leave a lasting impression.

4.World’s End

Prepare to embark on a journey to discover the intriguing history behind the World’s End pub, a true landmark in the city of Edinburgh. Nestled at the top of the Royal Mile, near the historic boundary of the city, this pub has a story as fascinating as its name suggests.

The World’s End takes its name from the ancient city boundary known as the Flodden Wall, which once marked the edge of Edinburgh’s urban area. Back in the 16th century, this wall served as a defensive barrier, protecting the city from potential invaders. The spot where the World’s End pub now stands was once the location of a tollbooth gate where travelers entering or leaving the city would pass through.

Over the centuries, the area around the World’s End pub has seen its fair share of history, including battles, riots, and dramatic changes in the city’s landscape. Despite the passage of time, the pub has remained a constant fixture, serving as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

5.Deacon Brodies

Get ready to unravel the intriguing tale of Deacon Brodies, a pub steeped in both history and legend, located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Named after the infamous Deacon William Brodie, this pub’s story is as captivating as it is mysterious.

Deacon Brodie was a respected member of Edinburgh society in the 18th century, known for his skills as a cabinetmaker and his involvement in local politics. However, beneath his facade of respectability, Brodie led a double life as a master thief, using his knowledge of locks and keys to carry out daring robberies under the cover of darkness.

Legend has it that Deacon Brodie’s secret life eventually caught up with him when he was caught and executed for his crimes. His story inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write the classic novel “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” in which the character of Dr. Jekyll is said to be based on Brodie himself.

Today, the Deacon Brodies pub pays homage to its namesake with a nod to its dark and mysterious past. The interior is adorned with vintage décor and memorabilia, including references to Brodie’s infamous exploits. It’s a place where history comes to life, and visitors can immerse themselves in the tales of Edinburgh’s colorful past.

But Deacon Brodies is more than just a museum of sorts; it’s also a lively and welcoming pub where locals and tourists alike come together to enjoy good food, drinks, and company. Whether you’re intrigued by the story of Deacon Brodie or simply looking for a cozy spot to relax, this pub has something for everyone.

6.Royal Mile Tavern

Prepare to step into the bustling heart of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile as we explore the storied past of the Royal Mile Tavern. Situated in one of the city’s most iconic locations, this pub offers a taste of old-world charm and hospitality that has been cherished by locals and visitors alike for centuries.

The Royal Mile Tavern holds a special place in Edinburgh’s history, with records dating its existence back to the 17th century. As its name suggests, the pub is located on the famous Royal Mile, a mile-long stretch of road that runs from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, passing through the Old Town along the way.

Over the years, the Royal Mile Tavern has served as a welcoming haven for weary travelers, a gathering place for locals, and a witness to the many events that have shaped the city’s vibrant culture. Its traditional Scottish décor, cozy atmosphere, and friendly staff make it a beloved institution in Edinburgh’s pub scene.

But perhaps what sets the Royal Mile Tavern apart is its role as a living link to the past. As you sit sipping a pint or enjoying a meal, you can’t help but feel the weight of history all around you. From the ancient cobblestone streets outside to the historic artifacts adorning the walls inside, every corner of this pub tells a story of Edinburgh’s rich and colorful past.

Today, the Royal Mile Tavern continues to welcome guests from near and far, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere where you can experience the true essence of Scottish hospitality. Whether you’re stopping by for a quick pint or settling in for a leisurely meal, you’re sure to leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

7.The Oxford Bar

The Oxford Bar has been a beloved fixture in Edinburgh’s pub scene since the 19th century, known for its traditional charm, friendly atmosphere, and, of course, its impressive selection of beers and whiskies. But what truly sets The Oxford Bar apart is its status as a favorite haunt of the renowned Scottish crime writer, Ian Rankin, and his iconic literary creation, Detective Inspector John Rebus.

For decades, Ian Rankin has been captivating readers with his gripping tales of crime and intrigue set against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s gritty streets. And throughout his celebrated career, The Oxford Bar has served as a source of inspiration and a real-life setting for many of his novels. In fact, the pub has become so closely associated with Rankin’s work that it’s often referred to as “Rebus’s local” by fans of the series.

As you step into The Oxford Bar, you can almost imagine John Rebus himself sitting at the bar, nursing a pint and pondering his latest case. The walls are adorned with photographs and memorabilia, paying homage to Rankin’s literary legacy and the iconic character he created.

But beyond its literary connections, The Oxford Bar remains a welcoming and inviting place for locals and visitors alike to gather and share stories over a drink. Whether you’re a fan of Ian Rankin’s novels or simply looking for a cozy spot to unwind, The Oxford Bar offers a warm welcome to all who pass through its doors.

8.The White Hart

The White Hart has been a fixture in the city’s social scene for centuries, with a legacy that stretches back to the 16th century.

Legend has it that The White Hart was originally established as a coaching inn, providing lodging and refreshments for travelers passing through Edinburgh on their way to destinations near and far. Over the years, it has played host to a colorful cast of characters, from merchants and soldiers to poets and musicians, each leaving their mark on the pub’s rich tapestry of history.

The White Hart’s name is steeped in symbolism, with the white hart—a mythical stag—holding significance in various cultures as a symbol of purity, strength, and freedom. As you enter the pub, you can’t help but feel a sense of reverence for the centuries of stories that have unfolded within its walls.

Today, The White Hart continues to be a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy a hearty meal, a refreshing pint, or simply soak in the ambiance of this historic establishment. The pub’s traditional décor, including wooden beams, cozy fireplaces, and antique furnishings, transport you back in time to a bygone era.

But perhaps what truly sets The White Hart apart is its sense of community. Whether you’re sharing a drink with friends, enjoying live music, or striking up a conversation with a stranger at the bar, you’re sure to feel right at home in this beloved Edinburgh institution.

9.The Beehive Inn

The Beehive Inn has a history that dates back centuries, with records of its existence dating as far back as the 17th century. Originally serving as a meeting place for local tradesmen and merchants, the pub has long been a beloved fixture in the community, offering a welcoming refuge from the rigors of everyday life.

But what sets The Beehive Inn apart is its unique name and the story behind it. Legend has it that the pub earned its name from the beehive-shaped huts that once dotted the nearby hillsides, where beekeepers would tend to their hives and harvest honey. The image of the beehive has long been associated with industry, cooperation, and sweet rewards—a fitting symbol for a place where friends gather to share laughter, stories, and good cheer.

Today, The Beehive Inn continues to uphold its proud tradition of hospitality, with its cozy interior, friendly staff, and delicious food and drinks drawing locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re stopping by for a hearty meal, a refreshing pint, or simply to soak in the ambiance of this historic pub, you’re sure to feel right at home.

As you raise a glass in The Beehive Inn, take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of history that surrounds you—the echoes of laughter, the clink of glasses, and the camaraderie of friends old and new. In a world that often feels fast-paced and fleeting, places like The Beehive Inn remind us of the timeless joys of good company and simple pleasures.

10.The Golf Tavern

The history of The Golf Tavern is intertwined with the rich tradition of golf in Scotland, with records of its existence dating back to the early 19th century. As one of the oldest golf-themed pubs in Edinburgh, it has long been a popular destination for golfers looking to unwind after a day on the links or simply soak in the ambiance of this storied sport.

But what sets The Golf Tavern apart is its close proximity to the historic Bruntsfield Links, one of the oldest golf courses in the world. Golfers would often stop by the pub after a round of golf to share stories, swap tips, and enjoy a well-earned refreshment—a tradition that continues to this day.

Step inside The Golf Tavern, and you’ll be greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere, with traditional Scottish décor, cozy seating areas, and friendly staff ready to make you feel right at home. The walls are adorned with vintage golf memorabilia, including photographs, clubs, and trophies, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the sport.

But The Golf Tavern is more than just a place for golf enthusiasts; it’s also a vibrant community hub where locals and visitors alike come together to enjoy good food, drinks, and company. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just looking for a friendly spot to relax, The Golf Tavern has something for everyone.

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