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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Old Town

An erratically-decorated cocktail bar close to Edinburgh's Red Light District, with an extensive drinks menu mixed by staff who know their stuff

One of the bars that helped kick-start the local cocktail scene more than a decade ago, Dragonfly remains all things to all people. Budding Bukowskis can sit downstairs, while the more discreet drinker can take their cocktail up to a small balcony-style mezzanine.

It’s not the city’s most glamorous cocktail venue, more like an old pub with a nightclub-sensibility makeover, and it does show its age. But Dragonfly is categorically different from the legion of bars in the nearby Grassmarket, has a sense of playfulness and even manages a homely feel if you catch it when it’s quiet.

If you want a late afternoon pick-me-up, there’s a simple but fine gin and tonic with Hendrick’s and cucumber, or if you’re out with your mates on a childhood nostalgia riff, the Raspberry Ripple might be more appropriate (vanilla vodka, raspberry vodka, cream, milk and raspberries in a glass rimmed with hundreds and thousands). Truly, all things to all people.

Whoever at Dragonfly thought up the Sparkling Tatanka deserves a medal. You take some bison grass vodka, mix it with apple juice then top it up with prosecco, slice of apple on top. It’s quick to make, packs a vodka punch but also retains the freshness and zing of apple and effervescent Italian wine. The bar’s Espresso Martini gathers rave reviews too.

By: Keith Davidson


Venue name: Dragonfly
Address: 52 West Port
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 4pm-1am
Static map showing venue location