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
Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2016 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the 2012 edition.

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

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…