The Hanging Bat

Bars and pubs Old Town
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
The Hanging Bat

Edinburgh’s altar to the art of craft brewing is not so much a bar as a brewery with chairs, and few other options

Following feedback from the venue we have made amends to the original review.

The Hanging Bat is a peculiarity on the Edinburgh bar scene, in that it seems to have jettisoned many typical bar-like elements in case they get in the way of appreciating a good (read: craft) beer. There’s no cocktail list, although a select group of spirits, especially gin, are available. There are no dimly lit corners for an intimate rendezvous, with bright lights, glass doors and high grey walls bringing to mind the utilitarian feel of a brewery (which isn’t a million miles from the truth – the Bat does brew its own beer on the premises). Most significantly, there are no pints – patrons sip their brews from schooners (ie 2/3 pint glasses), so as not to over-indulge and lose appreciation for the craftsmanship behind the beer, while still paying pint prices.

If this all sounds a little pretentious and exclusive, it is. Of the 21 casks and kegs available on any given day, there’ll be only one or two token concessions to lager (sorry, pilsner) drinkers, while cider-lovers will have to take their chances on the limited selection of bottles behind the bar. The food menu is similarly uncompromising: a hefty selection of hot dogs and meatloaf burgers leaves vegetarians with very little to chew on.

Still, these are considerations to bear in mind only if you’re travelling in a party who don’t unanimously share your love of craft beer. If they do (or you’re willing to limit your group to those who will), there are few other places in town that will pay tribute to the making of good beer with such focused intensity as the Hanging Bat.

By: Niki Boyle


Venue name: The Hanging Bat
Address: 133 Lothian Road
Opening hours: Sun-Thu noon-midnight, Fri & Sat noon-1am
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening
1 of 1 found helpful

So basically you're saying it wouldn't appeal to the mainstream because they focus on quality beer - did you research the target market for the place / their ethos when it was established? It's a bit like reviewing a Mexican restaurant and complaining you couldn't get any Thai food. Around the stonkingly good beer offerings the ethos extends to the vast array of gin and carefully selected and sourced cider and wine. What were you after - a pint of Strongbow? Did you actually visit? I always try to organise a drink here on my visits from the Borders and I've never seen a bright light in the place. Downstairs has just the right ambience of candle light and artworks. Your rating of 3 out of 5 - rubbish.

1 of 1 found helpful

The Hanging Bat is a lovely, unstuffy and very UNpretentious place to get a good quality drink - wine, beer or spirit. Apparently because drinks cost around a quid or two more because they're a lot better quality than a Heineken or a Budweiser rubs some people the wrong way (even so called 'professional reviewers'). I say thank the heavens - let those uncultured cretins get sloshed at Frankie and Bennie's - good riddance!

What a lot of cobblers this timeout review is. It certainly bears no relation to my experience of the place after numerous visits. I could  go through the review picking it to shreds piece by piece, but why bother when the work has already been done

And just in case you think that may be a biased response, it almost exactly chimes with everything I was going to say about the review, and I'm just a regular punter.

Not quite sure this Boyle chap really understood where he was...  and as a result this probably the most ill informed review I've read in a long time. Wouldn't normally expect such petty behaviour from TimeOut. Since when is anything high quality immediately pretentious? Craft beer is brewed in smaller batches and can use up to 10 times more hops, so it's not going to be the cheapest beer, but it is by no means expensive.

If you're after good (well, really good) beer, this is your place. If like Mr Boyle, you're after a pie and a pint for a fiver, there's probably a Nicholson's near by.

Yet again Niki Boyle writes a, verging on offensive, ill informed review of a genuinely great and unpretentious bar set up and run by people who really care about what they do.

I've always found the Hanging Bat to be a really unpretentious place to try out new beers (I'm on a slow journey from lager to more tasty beers). Bar staff are always happy to suggest a beer or two if you let them know what kind of flavours/other  beers you like, and to give you a taste before you buy. Yes, what's on offer tends to cost more than a pint of Fosters. But you're getting something a whole lot more interesting than a pint of Fosters.

I've eaten here a few times. As a vegetarian, snack options are fine, but I've felt a bit short-changed by the limited veggie options for more substantial food. Was great to have Illegal Jack's nearby - a real shame it's now closed.