Under the Stairs

Under the Stairs
3a Merchant Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2QD
  • Telephone 0131 466 8550
  • Opening times Mon–Sun noon–1am
  • Seasonal times Open until 3am in August.
  • Bar open Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun noon–midnight.
  • Food served Mon–Sun noon–10pm (snacks until midnight).
  • Average price £18 (lunch); £18 (evening meal)
  • Typical order £2.10
  • Email
  • Website www.underthestairs.org
Photo of Under the Stairs

Cocktails are their forte, but a tasteful food menu makes Under the Stairs a popular lunch and dinner spot, too.

Eating & Drinking Guide

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

With only a small wooden plaque outside acknowledging its existence, Under the Stairs doesn't give much away until you’re down in its basement depths. But cast any doubts aside: inside, old wooden tables, vintage-style chairs and a wood-burning stove create a definite home-from-home feel. On the cocktail side of things, they have all sorts of weird and wonderful tipples – a whisky-based ‘Sideboob’ or a ‘beetroot and wasabi Margarita’, anyone? Draught beer is limited, but the wine selection means business, featuring an Austrian grüner veltliner, recommended to go with fish. On the food front, there’s a handful of vegetarian dishes, including chickpea and mango filo parcels with chilli and coconut cream. Otherwise, choose from the likes of duck, stuffed squid and venison. Just like the majority of diners, the staff are young, bohemian types, eager to keep the regular flow of diners happy.

  • High point: Portion sizes and reasonable prices mean a starter, main and pud are on the cards
  • Low point: The quality of food struggles to keep up with the standard of drinks
  • Notable dish: Pan-fried rainbow trout with braised fennel, celery and lentils, crispy leeks and spiced honey cream
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Hip hop
  • Live entertainment: DJ's occasionally (NYE)
  • Capacity: 81
  • Largest group: 18
  • Open since: 2008
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 17
  • House wine: £17.95 per bottle