Bars pop up across Edinburgh for the fringe festival

A Club Cocktail

As Edinburgh erupts with a plethora of actors, comedians and clowns for its annual Fringe festival, bars are popping up all over the city to keep visitors refreshed.

Scottish distiller Arbikie has brought back The A Club after its sell-out debut last year. It will be serving up cocktails made with its gin, vodka and chilli vodka alongside table-service food and live music at The Merchants’ Hall at 22 Hanover Street in the New Town. It is open now until August 27. Those welcoming the return of The “A Club Experience” include leading actor Brian Cox who enjoyed its hospitality and performances last year. “I am delighted to see the return of The A Club to the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe. Having been in involved with the Fringe since its inception, the diversity and quality of their offering is unrivalled. I was delighted to take part in last year’s A Club and I am looking forward to being in town this August to again enjoy their world class hospitality.” Book online at

Buffalo Trace Bourbon will be starting a UK tour in Edinburgh, bringing its Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up to the Riverboat Casino at The Last Word Saloon in Stockbridge from August 6 to 10. Open from 6pm until late, it will feature whiskey dinners, bourbon and cocktail masterclasses, exclusive drink menus and the opportunity to sample the widest range of whiskeys from the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery available anywhere outside Kentucky itself. The Buffalo Bourbon Empire will move on to Nottingham, Manchester and London along with a competition to find the best bourbon bars. Click here for details.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Bourbons at Buffalo Bourbon Empire

Stewart Brewing will be taking up residence at two Fringe hubs, Pleasance Courtyard and Teviot Square, alongside other Scottish brewers, Williams Bros and Drygate, serving a selection of their popular craft beers. Stewart Brewing’s Edinburgh Gold will also be served at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the third year running, while various festival pop-ups will also stock Stewart Brewing favourites. The line-up will include a special release, Edinburgh Festival, a 3.9% ABV session ale with a gentle, refreshing bitterness and a liberal dose of New Zealand hops that give it a citrus and pine aroma.

Edinburgh craft gin distiller Pickering’s Gin – based at leading Fringe venue Summerhall – has launched an exclusive bottling for the festival, marking the 70th anniversary of its original Bombay gin recipe and the birth of the fringe festival concept 70 years ago in Edinburgh. The one-off run of 650 bottles was distilled precisely to the nine-botanical recipe that was scribbled down seven decades ago at Mount Mary, Bombay. The 70cl limited edition bottles of Pickering’s Original 1947 are embellished with the 70-year heritage story with distinctive Edinburgh Festival Fringe labelling. Pickering’s Gin has also launched a new tartan bottling exclusively for The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place alongside Edinburgh Festival Fringe until August 26. It is made with the base of Pickering’s along with four additional Scottish botanicals – heather, Scots pine, bog myrtle and milk thistle – the first time Pickering’s has incorporated Scottish botanicals into its botanical blend.

pickering's gin edinburgh fringe

The Foodies Festival is in Edinburgh this weekend, taking over Inverleith Park until Sunday (August 6). It is hosting plenty of drinks including the fifth stop on a UK-wide tour by Patrón tequila. The Airstream bar, called Patrón The Summer, is serving a mix of refreshing summer favourites, twists on classics and locally-inspired serves. They include a creation by Mike McGinty of Edinburgh bar The Voyage of Buck, Not Just a Gooseberry…, which combines nettle cordial with Patrón Silver tequila, Patrón Citrónge orange liqueur, lemon juice and soda, garnished with a dehydrated lemon wheel and gooseberries.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which runs until August 28, has its fair share of booze on stage, mostly down to Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland, the Thinking Drinkers (pictured below). The two drinks writers are returning to the Fringe for their seventh year, bringing what they promise will be a new show, The Thinking Drinkers’ History of Alcohol. Illustrating their gag-filled whistle-stop history with five different drinks, they will be back at Underbelly’s Med Quad until August 27. Book your tickets at

Thinking Drinkers Ben McFarland Tom Sandham

Coinciding with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is Edinburgh Cocktail Festival. Click here for more details.

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