Tales on Tour – the Hungover Guide to Edinburgh

Tales of the Cocktail – Tales on Tour is a fucking huge deal. The fact that it’s taking place in Edinburgh starting today may have eluded many a keen observer as it is, at heart, an industry event and a once a year opportunity for lots of brands and bartenders to come together for a massive kickass celebration of their trade.

This is a cocktail

But what is the bar trade without the customer and his or her fatuous opinions? A sadder place, that’s what, so in my contribution to the Tales party, here’s a little low-rent city guide to where to take pre-emptive hearty grub drunk-ness prevention or how best to avoid the excessive bite of hangovers.

I suspect a lot of you visiting for the festivities are going to end up visiting the Thistle Sandwich Bar more than once. It’s just a couple of doors down from The Bon Vivant and is a great purveyor of breakfast rolls. They have regular lunch stodge specials too, so it’s worth noting.

The Bacardi city guide, featuring Stu McCluskey and Mike Aikman, was correct in identifying The Dogs as an unmissable stop near to several of their bars. Over the road from there is Chez Jules which is worthy of your attention and tends to serve a bit later than the average place. If you’re too late for there, you’re looking at Bar Napoli, but I’ll leave that as a judgment call for you.

Avocado toast with bacon from Hula

One that’s popular with late night meat lovers is OX184 on the Cowgate. It could be a useful stop off post-Devil’s Avocado and pre-setting fire to your dignity. But your meaty needs are likely to be amply met by the outstanding Nightcap and during the day by Reekie’s.

Of the later night takeaways, Three Coins, Moratti and Lucky Liquor staff favourite Dough are the best for pizza, Palmyra is good for kebabs, Kebab Mahal for Indian. If you need fed until 5am, you go to Pizza Paradise.

You will grow to love Nanna Flo’s Bakery on Morrison Street as they serve pies all night and they are good.


The next day death tremors can usefully be taken towards Tollcross where Quick & Plenty does what it says on the tin and the Yellow Deli is also pretty good.

If you want eggs for breakfast The Pantry just round the corner from Last Word is where you should be heading. Patisserie Maxime is bloody good, too. And Urban Angel is in the heart of bar territory but I suspect the service may annoy you.

If you want to explore the avocado solution to morning fuzziness, head to Hula – they’ll also do you porridge if you wake up and find yourself unexpectedly dressed in someone’s kilt – or Cairngorm.

Cairngorm is home to the city’s best grilled cheese sandwich, too, so that might be useful intel. Mellis in Stockbridge is handy for this, too.


The excellent Bow Bar has a limited number of outstanding pies served at lunchtime to go with their tremendous beer and whisky selection.

If you seriously think you have your shit together to go for a properly good meal, see if Purslane – right over from the Last Word – has a table. Or you could head to Broughton Street for L’Escargot Bleu or The Educated Flea. The food at The Bon Vivant is excellent, too.

Another option would be the Ondine oyster hour, but don’t go making a tit of yourself and ruining it for year-round customers.

If you find yourself at The Voyage of Buck, you’re just yards away from the best bacon roll in the city at Maialino. Stop off for damn fine cake at Strumpets while you’re passing. Buck has some great dishes on their menu, too, of course.

Oh, you’ll need coffee. Castello on Castle Street single-handedly powers the Lucky Liquor staff and is just around the corner from Bryant & Mack. Lowdown is great and so is Wellington. And I’ve mentioned Cairngorm.


Where else do you need? Sunday roast – The Ox or The Walnut. I hear the Queen’s Arms is on good form at the moment, also.

Could you face sushi? Kenji is right above Last Word so should sort you.

Burgers? Salt Horse on Blackfriars Street where Jones & Son will look after you. Salt Horse will also serve you some outstanding beer and has a great bottle shop next door. BBL on the Pleasance is a great burger and breakfast option and also doubles as a sneaky little vegan specialist, too.

Oh, and if you want haggis – which is delicious – Zest & Co does the finest haggis roll in the city and will serve you a delicious espresso while you wait.

Will that do? If not, there’s always our neighbourhood and stuff guides.

This hungover guide is probably not a bad source for anyone contemplating some serious drinking in Edinburgh in general so please feel free to use it for those purposes as and when. For those visiting just for Tales we hope it comes in handy and we hope you enjoy your time in the city.

Written by BKR