Sandy Bells: such a happy, old-school pub! They have a good selection of whiskies and ales, along with friendly staff and a comfy bar… and one more card up their sleeve. Fantastic folk music sessions that take place almost every night of the week, the best in Edinburgh.
The focus here is on Celtic folk music, but you’re sure to catch hints of blues, American folk, and much more. The vibe is great, just people coming together and playing for each other – so different from the paid pub-bands you get in some places – and many of the regular musicians are pretty darn skilled at what they do. Captain’s Bar near Old College is rightly famous for its folk scene, but Sandy Bell’s is famous across Scotland as the hub of Edinburgh’s folk music community.
Check their website for exact details on the different sessions, but if you go on the weekend you’re in for a busy night, whereas weekday sessions are more mellow affairs. If you know your way around a harmonica, fiddle or another folk instrument, why not ask to join in? Make use of the international language that is music! Make sure you get there early to grab a seat, it’s a pretty small place.