The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak
1 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT
  • Telephone 0131 557 2976
  • Seasonal times open till 4 during festival, Christmas and Hogmanay
  • Bar open Mon–Sat 11.30am–2am; Sun 3pm–2am. Extended in Fest
  • Website
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Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2017 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

An honest, frill-free hub for local Scottish folk music, the Royal Oak represents Edinburgh’s ever-diminishing traditional face, stripped of canned bagpipes, faux chandeliers and obscure cocktail ingredients – in fact, any cocktail ingredients. This is an ale and spirits pub, with just three, single-portion sized wines on offer. The luxury lies in a 35-year-old legacy of unpretentious commitment to live folk music, mostly open-mike, every night. You’ll not get through the door without being absorbed into a conversation, and if you bring an acoustic guitar and a good tune with you, so much the better. The only time you’ll not be able to get right into the thick of things is during the Edinburgh Festival, when more formal concerts run every night. Both the public bar and bookable downstairs gig space are pretty small with limited seating, and decor that would make any sort of chandelier feel very out of place.

  • High point: Unguardedly, universally friendly
  • Low point: Wine lovers will need to broaden their drinking horizons
  • Provides: Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Folk music
  • Live entertainment: Folk 7 days a week
  • Largest group: 40
  • Open since: A long time ago
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 3

Events at this venue

There are 4 events at this location

Sorted by title / date & time

Frank McGuire

Folk, rock, blues and jazz combine with this solo show from Lyra Celtica founding member.

Sun 30 Apr

£5 / 0131 557 2976

With Sean O'Rourke. Part of TradFest.

Gill Bowman

World-renowned for her Burns interpretations, and a fine singer-songwriter to boot.

Sun 7 May

£5 / 0131 557 2976

Hosted by the Wee Folk Club.

Rebustours – Hidden Edinburgh

Rebustours Experience the dark, hidden world of the best-selling Detective Rebus books. Discover the history and mystery of Edinburgh's unexplored areas, with relevant readings. It is not necessary to have read a Rebus book as the tour features Edinburgh and Scottish history. This award-winning tour is educational and…

Mon 7 Aug


£10 (£9) / 0131 557 2976

2 for 1 Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tue 8 Aug


£10 (£9) / 0131 557 2976

2 for 1 Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 9 Aug


£10 (£9) / 0131 557 2976

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 15 more dates until 26 Aug

Simon Kempston

Singer-songwriter with lyrics inspired by travel, social commentary and the everyday.

Mon 1 May

£7–£9 / 0131 557 2976

Part of TradFest Edinburgh.

Reviews & features

Where to find traditional music nights in Edinburgh

16 Feb 2011

The venues full of traditional live Scottish music every night of the week

Every night of the week, the walls of the Royal Oak bar reverberate to the sound of live music, most of it with a Scottish, folk and traditional flavour. Long a focal point for folk music in the city, this cosy little bar also attracts other acoustic…