Six Nations City Guides: 8 great pubs n' pit-stops in Edinburgh!
#SixNations City Guides
Edinburgh boasts the prince of city centres, and it's the host city for the first game of Ireland's 2017 campaign.
Scotland V. Ireland, February 4th, 2.25pm
Edinburgh is the perfect setting for a Six Nations clash – there’s no reason to stray outside its Old Town on a rugby weekend.
Ireland's opening match falls in February, however, so brace yourself for a Baltic chill which may need the insulation of a glass of Scotch. “There are two seasons in Scotland,” as Billy Connolly once said. “June, and winter.”
Where to drink...
The Three Sisters in Cowgate (139 Cowgate; thethreesistersbar.co.uk) is a magnet for rugby fans, with two essential fittings: a beer garden and big screen. It's hosting the 2017 #SCRUMFanZone... with promises of "PIES PINTS & STEINS!"
The Beehive (18-20 Grassmarket; taylor-walker.co.uk) offers 400 years of history, cracking match day atmosphere and plenty pub food soakage - and it does its own special pale ale to boot. Just don't expect a seat.
For a traditional pub with grub, try The Last Drop (74 Grassmarket; nicholsonspubs.co.uk). It’s named after the last hanging in the area, but we prefer to think of ROG’s old habit of scoring last-minute drop goals. British cask-conditioned ales are a speciality... it's a short stagger from Victoria Street.
Independent.ie travel writer Tom Sweeney says whisky fans will be in heaven at The Dining Room (28 Queen St; thediningroomedinburgh.co.uk) - courses on the Taster Menu (£75/€99) are paired with unique, single cask whiskies.
If gin is your tipple, check out Heads and Tales (1a Rutland Place; headsandtalesbar.com), which has a huge array of brands, and a divine in-house blend, too. Grab a seat overlooking their copper stills, or hide away in a plush alcove.
Get to the stadium...
Murrayfield Stadium is to the west of the city centre, roughly a 20-minute walk down the 'Murrayfield Mile' from Haymarket (turn left at Roseburn). Nab a bus or tram (a return ticket avoids queues on the way back).
Full directions here.
What to do (besides the rugby)...
Impress your pals by whipping out one of these...
Yes, Edinburgh Castle (edinburghcastle.gov.uk; £16.50/€22) is where all the tourists go. But feck it, you're a tourist. And it's not just a 'castle' - a hodgepodge of tiny, fascinating museums awaits, as does a killer view of the city.
Edinburgh has its dark underbelly (literally), and Cadies & Witchery Tours (witcherytours.com; £10/€11.70) is a spook-tacular way to get to grips with its grisly tales, including that of bodysnatchers Burke and Hare.
Cup of coffee, anyone? Perhaps this one's for Sunday. Edinburgh's Brew Lab (6-8 South College Street; brewlabcoffee.co.uk) offers speciality brews alongside decent, artisan-influenced lunches and brunches.