Sandy Bell’s is one of Edinburgh’s most famous answers to a traditional British pub – but with a twist. While most pubs in the city are littered with screens and football fans, Sandy’s (as it is known to its locals) has a distinct lack of sport paraphernalia. Instead, nestled into the back corner of the bar, past the long, dark wooden counter and the working fireplace, the area is reserved for musicians. Anyone with a folk or acoustic instrument is welcome to take a seat and play – the more traditional, the better!
At the weekends and during festival time, it’s almost impossible to find a seat in Sandy’s – but it’s actually just as enjoyable to stand at the bar, enjoying a beer or whiskey from their vast selection, as you listen to the music and get to know some of the locals, and the friendly pub dog, Kilo. My favourite spot is immediately to your right as you walk through the door, tucked away at a table with a view across the whole bar. If I’m feeling a bit peckish, I always order one of their incredible pies – the chicken curry one is a personal favourite – and wash it down with a pint of Innis and Gunn. The perfect winter’s night out!