Edinburgh Festival & Fringe is the biggest and best cultural festival on the planet. Edinburgh’s a great city all year but during August it transforms into an incredible place to be, full of fun, art, madness and sights you never see anywhere else.
We have been working with the Student Union there for a number of years now so have been to some of the best, less known, places during the festival which give you a great vibe but also don’t make you feel rammed in with the masses!
Here’s our Top 10 places to go to at the Edinburgh Fringe – check them all out this summer and have a great Festival!
1. Library Bar, Gilded Balloon
The Gilded Balloon, up in Bristo Square, is one of the key venues for Festival and actually takes over Teviot House, the Student Association’s building. It’s a fantastically good building anyway, being the oldest purpose built student union building in the world.
Tucked away on the ground floor (with a balcony on the first) is the Library Bar. This stylish bar in the old library has a great range of ales, lagers and bottles plus a perfectly formed menu (with great chips!) make this is a perfect place to take a break and chill.
2. Brewdog, Cowgate
(Photo courtesy of Brewdog)
We love Brewdog, their ethos (indie brewers trying to shake up a very traditional industry), their ales and their humour. They only have a few bars around the UK and this is possibly their best. Just far enough away from the Royal Mile but convenient enough for a good couple of beers.
Their pizzas are amazing too, try the Hamish McHaggis Classic!
3. Olly Bongo’s, Teviot Place
Edinburgh is full of chain restaurants but what you really need is a quirky, small, convenient place that does cheap, good food. This is it. Blink and you miss it, which is odd as it’s right by Teviot House, what becomes the Gilded Balloon. Olly Bongo’s is part British, part Turkish, all fab. From the banquette cushions in the window, watch the Festival go by or hobnob with a few comedians who regularly use this place (we bumped into Susan Calman last time we were there). Food is great, very cheap, particularly for breakfast or brunch. Drop in, chill out.
4. Arthur’s Bar, Pleasance Courtyard
Pleasance is another major venue for the Fringe, full of tiny little rooms with random comics trying out new stuff. The bars here are great and it’s the one place you can shelter from the rain as they have so many umbrellas!
But… tucked away at the back (head towards the loos), down the stairs and on the left is Arthur’s Bar. It’s like your own personal VIP area, get there early, grab a comfy bean bag or sofa and enjoy some of the great drinks and cocktails they do here. It’s a perfect place to stay while you wait for your show to start.
5. Bramble Bar, Queen Street
(Photo courtesy of Bramble Bar)
Another basement bar that’s in the busy New Town but tucked away on a street corner and easy to walk by! Lots of nooks and crannies to chill out in, a fab cocktail list and some decent DJs on occasionally, what’s not to love?
6. Pickles, Broughton Street
(Photo courtesy of Pickles)
Another basement bar (this is a ‘secret Edinburgh’ blog after all!) Pickles has great service and an amazing range of drinks on offer, be we go there for the cheese. The best range of cheeses in the city and some wonderful meat and cheese platters to sample with a decent glass of vino. Don’t forget to try all the chutneys they have too. Cheers!
7. Lovecrumbs, West Port
(Photo courtesy of Love Crumbs)
A cake shop. What more could you want? They pride themselves on only doing cake and not a load of sandwiches too. A great range of hot drinks is on offer with tea done particularly well. Pop in and indulge!
8. The Craft Bar, Pleasance Courtyard
This is a new addition this year, tucked behind the main bar opposite the entrance to Pleasance Beneath. They’re bringing together a fantastic range of craft ales, beers and ciders including loads from independent local breweries. And while you’re down at Pleasance, come and see our URBAN eat Beach Hut café on the green, lots of lovely food and hot drinks to be had!
9. Wildest Drams, Royal Mile
Hardly secret on the Royal Mile, eh? Actually, this is one of those basement (sorry!) restaurants in a brilliant location but an entrance that puts enough people off to keep the vibe here really great. The food’s fab, the range of ales and scotch can’t be faulted. It’s a great atmosphere and the staff are wonderful.
10. Gilded Garden, Teviot
We couldn’t finish without mentioning our own outlet could we? Next to the Gilded Balloon is the Gilded Garden, a great outside space with lots of food and drink options but head to the far end and you’ll find our Gilded Hut will a great range of URBAN eat products available all day.
Buy something during the 2015 Festival and you could win a £100 Ticketmaster gift card or even a lovely free sandwich ☺ Say hello to George too – he’s the knight!