Having a cocktail in an interesting bar is probably one of my favourite things to do when I’m exploring a new city because it’s a great way to break up a long day of being a tourist – whilst also doing something fun.
With the pubs reopening and holiday planning commencing, I thought it might be the perfect time to share some of my favourite bars in Edinburgh. Jess and I have been up there quite a few times over the past couple of years, and on every trip, we seem to find increasingly more geeky places to drink.
Now, I’m a fan of any sort of themed establishment – you know me – but being the film geek that I am, I’m definitely a sucker for a bar inspired by a movie – and as luck would have it, Edinburgh is full of them.
So, if you’re a Star Wars fan, or you love The Big Lebowski, make sure you check out these five film themed bars the next time you’re in the city.
FIVE FILM THEMED BARS IN EDINBURGH
If you’re a fan of classic movies, Lebowskis needs to be your first stop in Edinburgh. The bar / restaurant is inspired by iconic 1998 film The Big Lebowski, and whilst the décor is relatively subtle for a themed bar – apart from the massive mural of Jeff Bridges on the outside of the building – the drinks menu is 100% on point.
Ever dreamt of enjoying one of Lebowskis’ White Russians? Well, you’re in the right place. With over 20 concoctions, each based on a different character from the movie, there’s a lot to choose from.
You can opt for the classic, Dude, which is made up of vodka, Kahlua liquor, milk and cream, or go for something a little more exotic like The Walter, which comes with chocolate syrup and chocolate milk. And for those of you a little more adventurous still, go for the Nihilist with its shot of absinthe.
Drinks are between £5-6 which seems quite expensive for such a small glass, but I promise you they are strong. They also serve food if you need to soak up that vodka. The average burger will set you back about £11, and the sandwiches are £9.
Magic Potions Tavern
Whilst not directly related to Harry Potter – officially – it doesn’t get any more magical than brewing your own potions at the Magic Potions Tavern in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
Part of the Department of Magic – who also own two Harry Potter inspired escape rooms – the Tavern is a cocktail bar where you can create your own concoctions as if you were in one of Snape’s potions lessons at Hogwarts.
There are four different bubbling cocktails to choose from – Herbology 101, The Dark Lord, Liquid Gold, and Potion No. 9 – each taking about 15 minutes to create. You’ll also receive a rather smoky chest filled with shots on arrival, so make sure you line your stomach beforehand.
Oh, and did I mention it looks like you’ve walked into the Leaky Cauldron? You can check out some more of my photos here.
Address: 9 Blair St, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR
For another geeky themed cocktail experience, you need to head to The Cantina. Created by The Pop-Up Geeks, the Cantina is a Star Wars themed bar down East Market Street, which looks like the inside of the Death Star.
Not only will you see Han Solo hanging on the wall in his carbonite casing, but you’ll also be served by some imperial guards or ‘Startenders’.
The drinks are all themed as well – think Baby Yoda from the Mandalorian – and with an entire menu of Lightsabre inspired cocktails, both for the light and dark side, you will be spoilt for choice – all whilst listening to the Star Wars soundtrack.
The Pop-Up Geeks change the theme of their bar quite regularly, so The Cantina is only open for a limited time, but it’s already been teased that Witcher might be next. Past themes include Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Stephen Kings IT.
Address: 27 E Market St, Edinburgh, EH8 8FS
The Banshee Labyrinth
There are many haunted sites around Edinburgh, but there’s only one bar that claims to be the most haunted in the entire city, and that’s the Banshee Labyrinth.
Located halfway down the cobbled Niddry Street, this little pub is a maze of dingy chambers and dark corridors that have taken the horror movie theme and completely rolled with it.
Every single room holds a different surprise, from a karaoke bar to a games room, and with horror movie memorabilia everywhere there’s always something to look at.
What I found most impressive is their cinema room, which plays back to back scary films until the early hours of the morning. I could have easily spent the entire day in there with my Ghostbusters cocktail, watching Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Address: 29-35 Niddry St, Edinburgh, EH1 1LG
Frankenstein is based on Mary Shelly’s 1818 novel of the same name, but also every movie made about the monster since then. Set in a gothic church on St George IV Bridge, it offers up spooky themed drinks and a full food menu, whilst also being home to a massive collection of Frankenstein memorabilia.
That’s not even the best bit though. Every couple of hours, the bar comes alive – literally. They put on a massive animatronic show in the centre of the building, with flashes of neon lighting and epic sound effects, where Frankenstein brings his monster to life in a rather dramatic fashion.
The show doesn’t last long, but it’s a sight to see. For the rest of your time there, you can watch a projection of the Frankenstein movie playing on repeat on big screens hung above the bar.
Address: 26 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EN
Do you like to visit unusual bars? Which one is your favourite – would you take a trip to Edinburgh to check it out? Which movie do you think would make a fun bar theme?
What to read next:
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- The Ultimate Harry Potter Tour of Edinburgh
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- The Magic Potions Tavern
- 15 Movie Locations You Can Visit With Your National Trust Card