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Bars and pubs West End
4 out of 5 stars

Spreading their wings ever further from the range of cosy little Swedish-themed bars they started out with in Leith, the Boda team have recently taken on their biggest project yet with Akva (the Scandinavian equivalent of ‘Aqua’). Set in the cavernous two-storey glass and steel premises formerly occupied by Cargo, it’s not somewhere you might associate with their fashionably rustic, downhome style. But then neither was The Tun on Holyrood Road and they’ve made a success of that since it became Hemma.

So it may not have the same cosily snug feel that long-standing Boda fans have come to expect, but Akva instead takes their customary style and makes something a bit more Friday night out of it. Craft beers line the bar, jars of cashews and wasabi peas are stacked behind the till, and rugs and weathered wooden furniture add some much-needed warmth to the space. There’s a small play area for little children and babies at the rear of the ground floor room, and out the back is one of the main selling points, a large seating area which overlooks the freshly-renovated canal and all the new properties around it.

These new residents and the many students and office workers in the area are a broad church of customers which Akva seems to do well by. Apart from the good bar stock and the sense of homeliness the owners have worked hard to achieve, the food menu is a highlight. A modest but well-worked selection, it offers great burgers, open sandwiches on Manna House bread, and mains including lasagne and the typically Scandinavian smorgasbord platter or trout and dill potato salad.


Venue name: Akva
Address: 129 Fountainbridge
Opening hours: Sun-Tue 10am-11pm, Wed-Thu 10am-midnight, Fri-Sat 10am-1pm
Static map showing venue location