HOLYROOD 9A 9a Holyrood Road, 556 5044.–and–drinking/holyrood Sun–Thu 10am–midnight; Fri & Sat 10–1am. Basic pint: £3.10

Tucked ever so slightly off the beaten track, the Holyrood 9A has amassed a lot of respect and a strong reputation by making sure it’s good at what it does. For diners, that means making some of the very best burgers in Edinburgh, which are served up on chopping boards alongside cups of thick-cut chips in the seated area at the back, while drinkers are also treated to an impressive range of twenty beers and lagers on tap (including four real ales) and many more bottled lines in the fridge. It’s a simple but deservedly popular formula. High point: Great burgers, great beer

BLACK BO’S 57–61 Blackfriars Street, 557 6136.– Mon–Sun 4pm–1am. Basic pint: £3.20

Unchanged in years, the dark and spartan Bo’s is loved just the way it is by a mixed crowd of students, musicians, artists, journalists and more. Features a snug beer garden out the back and its own vegetarian restaurant next door. High point: Not broken and doesn’t need fixed

THE BOW BAR 80 West Bow, Victoria Street, 226 7667. Mon–Sat noon–midnight; Sun 12.30–11.30pm. Basic pint: £3

No frills, just old-fashioned charm, more than 200 whiskies, eight real ales (three of them guests) and around thirty bottled beers. A pub built around conversation and quality. High point: Whisky heaven

UNDER THE STAIRS 31 Merchant Street, 466 8550. Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun noon–midnight. Basic pint: £3.25

A recent planning issue that’s rendered Under the Stairs table service only for the foreseeable future hasn’t affected its standing as the preferred shabby chic pre-club hangout for a host of young scenesters. Good food too, and a Monday night quiz. High point: Sunday roast, for those who survived Saturday night 20 THE LIST 2–16 Dec 2010


REVERIE 1–5 Newington Road, 667 8870. Mon–Fri noon–1am; Sat & Sun 10–1am. Basic pint: £3

The Reverie manages to be all things to all men without losing any of its unique charm. The cosy surroundings all dark woods, deep reds and gilt- edged mirrors are the perfect setting for regular jazz and folk nights; the whisky, wine and cocktail selections are top-notch; and, during the festive period, glasses of mulled wine are on offer for £2.50. It’s as suited to the daytime as it is to the evening drop in for a coffee or lunch from the very decent food menu, and indulge in some people watching along Newington Road. A little drop of drinking heaven in the south of the city. High point: Spot your bus go by through the huge windows, and decide to have one more drink

THE PEAR TREE 38 West Nicolson Street, 667 7533. Mon–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri–Sat 11–1am; Sun 12.30pm–midnight. Basic pint: £3.55

While the summery courtyard welcomes only the hardiest of drinkers in winter, this place is still worth a visit for the beloved atmosphere, leather sofas and cheap pies. High point: Pies and pasties for £1.50 >>

BAR MISSONI 1 George IV Bridge, 220 6666. Sun–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11–1am. Basic pint: £4.50

It’s a pricey treat, but the bar at Hotel Missoni is destination drinking for a cross-section of young professionals, tourists and anyone who wants to dip into their range of forty classic and updated cocktails. They’ve also got prosecco on draft. High point: Best cocktails in the Old Town ALSO RECOMMENDED: Divino Enoteca (5 Merchant Street) for well-preserved wines. City Café (19 Blair Street) for pre-club drinks.