Thistle Street Bar
Thistle Street Bar
4.5
4:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Tuesday
4:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Wednesday
4:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Thursday
2:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Friday
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Saturday
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Sunday
2:00 PM - 11:00 PM
About
The Thistle Street Bar is a traditional Scottish pub housed in a property built in 1780 and located in the oldest street in Edinburgh's New Town. We believe in putting customers first, giving them a warm welcome and doing our best to offer an experience which showcases the best of Scotland. This includes offering advice on our range of Scottish beers along with our wide selection of Scottish gins and whiskies to match our customers' tastes. Why not join us for some traditional Scottish music on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Check the website for details - thistlestreetbar.com.
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: New Town
Suits and shopping bags rule the streets of New Town, until after dark when strappy dresses come out to play. This is the city’s central business district with its smaller offices, clothes boutiques, and many of the city’s flashiest restaurants and ritziest clubs. The architecture along roads like George Street helps give it a swank and formal feel: it’s a planned Georgian development of regal townhouses, geometric squares, and self-important statues. But it’s also a very wanderable neighbourhood, with a healthy bustle at almost any time of day and fine people-watching in places like St Andrew's Square which fills with picnickers around lunch. You’ll also find a series of cheerful basement bistros on Hanover Street, while dark Rose Street has something of the feel of an undiscovered back alley and is chock-full of characterful pubs and small independent shops.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
149 reviews
Excellent
122
Very good
20
Average
2
Poor
1
Terrible
4

Derek
Edinburgh, UK9 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
Great service and atmosphere with a wide range of traditional beers, whisky and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Regular music nights add to the atmosphere. Highly recommend a visit.
Written 19 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cocktailtime
Fife40 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
Great wee bar. Cozy with the fire on. Prosecco was great as was the whisky selection. Would definitely return here soon when in Edinburgh. Staff were friendly.
Written 31 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi cocktailtime Thank you so much for the lovely review, I'm really glad you enjoyed the Prosecco, we've found that the brand, Sea Change, is one we really like, not just for the quality but because the company donates a percentage of their profits towards ocean conservation which is a really worthy cause. I'm also delighted that you'll visit us again when you're back in Edinburgh...I've a feeling we'll have the fire on most nights over the next wee while. Kind regards Robert Shepherd Landlord Thistle Street Bar
Written 1 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Stefan D
Cannes, France20 contributions
Oct 2023 • Friends
Been several times & been good, however had the most unfriendly experience tonight from a rude & aggressive bar person. Our company were accused of stealing glasses, which we explained was not correct as we decanted a whisky into a larger glass as the ice would not fit in the provided glass. We advised we returned the smaller glass to the bar after decanting & we were basically told to f.off & not come back.

I had requested to use by Belhaven staff discount code, but was told it’s not a Belhaven bar with a sneer, albeit it has Belhaven signs all over the premises, including outside.

I’d be very warey of returning to this establishment after this aggressive staff attitude. If I behaved like this at my work I’d be quite rightly sacked - AVOID at all costs!!
Written 27 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
With over 97 of our last 100 reviews being 5-star and with the remaining reviews being a mix of 3 and 4 stars, I felt it was important to personally address your comments in what is a scathing attack aimed at one of my small team of bartenders. So, for the sake of other people reading your comments, I’ll try to address each point in turn to give another side of the story so that they can make up their own minds as to what really happened. First of all, you say you’ve been in the Thistle Street Bar many times before, yet this was the first time you tried to use your 33% Belhaven staff discount card. I can therefore only assume that you’re a new employee of the company, so I’ll explain how the discount card works. Your discount card only applies to Belhaven managed bars. The Thistle Street Bar is not a Belhaven managed bar it is a Belhaven tenancy under a private limited company. I’m the company director and tenant which means that I’m responsible for all business costs including paying rent to the brewery, business rates, stock and utilities. I also employ and pay my own bar team. As you’re not a member of my team you’re not entitled to staff discount. I know my bartender tried to explain this to you and you weren’t happy about it but hopefully this clears the matter up. Incidentally, you refer to the bar having ‘Belhaven signs all over the premises, including outside.’ This simply isn’t true. Yes, we do have a Belhaven sign outside because we’re proud to be a Belhaven tenancy but the only Belhaven ‘signs’ we have inside are the font badges themselves as we sell Belhaven Black, Belhaven 80/- and Belhaven Best. However, we also sell Tennent’s lager, West 4, West St Mungo, Innis & Gunn lager and IPA plus Guinness along with a selection of Scottish cask beers which are not brewed by Belhaven. In fact, most people who visit our bar think we’re an independent establishment and not tied to a brewery at all. Let’s now look at the case of the missing glass. Our Thistle Street Bar branded malt whisky glasses are costly for us to buy but we feel the additional cost is worth it to give our customers the best experience possible when enjoying a single malt. As most people don’t put ice in a single malt our practice is to serve it in one of our branded whisky glasses unless otherwise requested. However, you did ask for a separate glass of ice and when you went back to your table you decanted your whisky from the branded glass into that one. Towards the end of your visit my bartender went to clear your table, but the branded whisky glass was missing. They therefore, quite rightly, asked you where it was and you told them that it was left on the bar. However, our CCTV footage shows that the glass was never left on the bar after you had finished with it. Finally, as mentioned previously, if you look at our reviews on TripAdvisor or Google you’ll see that 97 out of the last 100 are 5 stars with a couple of 4 stars and 1 three star. This doesn’t happen by accident and I’m really proud of our team who work hard to make customers feel welcome and give them the best experience possible when they visit us. In fact, if you take the time to read some of our other reviews the common thread is how friendly our bartenders are. Therefore, I’m shocked to read that the bartender on duty, whom I’ve worked alongside for over two years, and who is never anything other than pleasant to our customers, was rude, aggressive and even swore at you. You’re right to say that anyone who behaves in that manner shouldn’t be working in hospitality but in the two years I’ve known and worked alongside this bartender, I’ve never seen them act as you described, nor have I ever heard them swear, not once, as it’s just not in their nature. So, when you suggest they should be sacked based on a serious allegation they deserve the right to be defended. If you wish to take the matter further, please send an email marked for my attention to welcome@thistlestreetbar.com. Kind regards Robert Shepherd Proprietor Thistle Street Bar
Written 15 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

mattcarr2017
Farnborough, UK2 contributions
Oct 2023 • Friends
Fantastic bar, good selection of beer and great whisky. Knowledgeable and friendly staff, a truly great experience and would defintely recommend
Written 8 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi mattcarr2017 Thank you so much for the excellent review and recommendation. I'm delighted that the bar team looked after you and that you enjoyed your experience. hopefully we'll see you again soon. Kind regards Robert Shepherd Landlord Thistle Street Bar
Written 1 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

We Wallace
Perth, Australia45 contributions
Sep 2023 • Family
We have been travelling Europe for over a month now and done lots of tours etc, this is by far the best one ever.
I was born in Scotland and now live in Australia, we called into the thistle street bar for a few beers and we were lucky enough to meet Robert.I was mentioning a few things about Edinburgh and my past and Robert was very helpful and interesting in the things he told me.
I mentioned he would be a great tour guide and he told me he was !!
We booked a tour for the following day with our 2 cousins and I can honestly say it was the best morning of our trip.
Robert was a true gentleman and very knowledgeable, everything was perfect and I truly hope we meet again some time as it was so touching learning things about our birthplace.
Thanks again Robert and good luck to you and your family,
Regards Stuart and Barbara
Written 4 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Beth
Bristol, UK993 contributions
Apr 2023 • Friends
Cute cosy pub. We ducked in here for a baileys on my hen weekend between events to get out of the rain. Very cute and quaint would come back here again!
Written 28 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ToursJones
United Kingdom466 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
A traditional pub with a genuine friendly atmosphere and a full selection of drinks - sample your Scottish whiskies here.
Written 6 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hannah C
12 contributions
Jun 2023
This is hands down my favorite pub/bar I have ever visited, and I've been to thousands. The people were so friendly and went out of their way to make us feel welcome as well as handwriting a long list of other pubs and landmarks to visit based on our interests. The live music was also great and not just your typical pub classics (though those were great too). The building itself is also beautiful and while it is wee, it's bright and airy with plenty of room and all of the classic furnishings you hope to see. I truly cannot wait to come back for many more visits!
Written 6 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Hannah. What can I say? Such a brilliant review, thank you so much! We’re really delighted you enjoyed your visit and hope the information we gave you proved useful during your stay. Please come back and see us again some time. Sláinte Robert
Written 8 July 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

James S
3 contributions
May 2023
Best pub atmosphere in Edinburgh. Good beer and good company. We were there for live music, which was lively and a great way to finish our trip to Edinburgh.
Written 23 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi jhsulli2 Thank you for the lovely review, it’s much appreciated. We’re delighted you the atmosphere and the live music and are really glad we helped to make your trip to Edinburgh memorable. Please visit us again when you’re back in town. Sláinte Robert & Dorothy Shepherd
Written 29 May 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ArthurGrun
Tetbury, UK74 contributions
May 2023 • Friends
Almost opposite the apartment we were using while in Edinburgh, this is the kind of "drinkers" bar I personally miss in England. Compact, spotlessly clean, wonderful bar staff and NO FOOD. Instead you have to make your own conversation, or join in with the friendly locals, and enjoy well kept beers and of course a wide range of whiskies. On each visit we found a wonderful atmosphere and loved every minute. Perfect watering hole for those who hanker after a real pub.
Written 19 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Arthur Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review, we really appreciate it. What you’ve described is exactly what we’re aiming to achieve so we’re delighted that you’ve commented on it, especially the cleanliness which we’re very proud of. Our son, Michael, is our manager and, along with our small team of bartenders, strive to make sure our customers are made to feel welcome so they’ll be really pleased that they got a mention. Thank you so much and please visit us again the next time you’re in Edinburgh. Sláinte 🥃 Robert & Dorothy Shepherd
Written 29 May 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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THISTLE STREET BAR: Tickets, Tours & Things to Know (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Thistle Street Bar

Thistle Street Bar is open:
  • Sun - Sun 14:00 - 23:00
  • Tue - Wed 16:00 - 23:00
  • Thu - Thu 14:00 - 23:00
  • Fri - Sat 12:00 - 23:00