When all of Edinburgh’s restaurants are booked up, take your pals to one of the capital’s independent wine bars.
Celebrate the festive season with a glass of something fancy, along with a few nibbles, like cheese. Especially cheese.
As well as the below, it’s also worth visiting Le De-Vin, Divino Enoteca or Wine & Roses – a wine and cheese pop-up at Shandon cafe, Tea & Sympathy, with the next on December 3 and 4.
Spry, 1 Haddington Place, Edinburgh (0131 557 0005, www.sprywines.co.uk)
This hip wine shop and bar has just hit its second birthday, and is a favourite hang-out of The Little Chartroom’s owner and head chef, Roberta Hall-McCarron. It specialises in naturally made wines which are available by the glass from about a fiver, as well as draught beer and non-alcoholic shrubs. The menu offers five courses for £40 (add matched drinks for another £35) and consists of small plates including chicken dumplings in Parmesan broth or Durrus with rum soaked raisins and crackers. Open for lunch, dinner and drinks Tuesday to Saturday from 1pm.
Smith & Gertrude, 26 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh (0131 629 6280, www.smithandgertrude.com)
“Life doesn’t get much better than a great glass of wine, well matched cheese and the company of friends”, it says on this six-year old venue’s website. We concur. If you’re intimidated by a long wine list, try their tasting evenings or Cheese and Wine Flights, which take place every fortnight and allow you to sample produce from different regions. Check out their Instagram @smithandgertrude for dates. They’re also currently offering Christmas hampers and curated wine cases, available via their online shop.
Mistral, 10-12 Bonnington Road, Edinburgh (0131 554 0801, www.mistral-leith.co.uk)
This place opened during lockdown, and has been operating as a bottle shop, with vino that’s sourced from small independent suppliers. However, they’ve just launched a sit-in offering, so you can buy a bottle of their wine, add £10 corkage and drink it inside with pals, or just visit for a glass or deux. Currently, there are accompanying nibbles including boquerones, cheese and charcuterie, with more substantial options coming soon.
Good Brothers Wine Bar, 4-6 Dean Street, Edinburgh (0131 315 3311, www.goodbrothers.co.uk)
Pop into this Stockbridge bar, shop and restaurant for ethical and sustainable wine and a festive menu, which is two courses for £22.50 or three for £27.50. They’ve usually got some mulled wine on the go if you’re feeling Christmas-y. You could also try their sister venues, Corstorphine wine shop and bar, Little Rascal,or Canonmills bottle shop, WineKraft, which has a weekend tasting table for those who want to try before they buy.
The Green Room Wine Bar, 19-25 William Street, Edinburgh (0131 225 1358, www.thegreenroomedinburgh.co.uk)
Head here if you want wine that’s decanted into 125ml, 175ml or 500ml sizes, so you can mix and match from their collection that features wine from small vignerons as well as bigger wineries. There are also pinchos and amuse bouche, including an IJ Mellis cheese board or a charcuterie platter. On November 25-27, they’re doing Thanksgiving Weekend wine flights and on December 2, there’s a Champagne tasting. See website for more info.