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  • 4.0 star rating
    7/4/2013

    I absolutely love Under the Stairs, a cure little basement bar/restaurant near the Grassmarket.

    I love its quirky, comfy and cozy decor - mixmatched chairs, armchairs, plates and cutlery. It has a great cocktail menu and a food menu that changes every couple of months but which is always good value for money. They always have sharing platters with cheese and meat so it is good for small nibbles with friends.

    You can go for dinner and/or drinks but I would recommend booking as it is quite small, so if often quite busy. It is not the best option for large groups.

    It always has a great atmosphere too.

  • 3.0 star rating
    7/7/2014
    1 check-in here

    I can't believe I've never reviewed this place! It's been in Edinburgh longer than I have and I've ended up here at least once every three or so months.

    Under The Stairs is what I'd describe as 'grand' ....in a very Irish way.

    I should clarify, it's alright, it's ok, it's not first in my list but it's not last. Honestly, I think it's on some other list as I've never had a 'oooh, I think we'll go to Under The Stairs tonight' feeling.

    Since they started the table service the demographic shifted up a wage and age bracket simultaneously. The cocktails are great but not the best around. The drinks selection is good, the food looks great (I've never eaten here), the clientele are all very trendy....and yet, meh. You won't find any craic here besides that which you bring with you- and I think that's why I've never fully warmed to it.

    And holy moly the toilets....I do not like them. A good foot of space under the door! *insert 'Nope, Nope, Nope' gif of your choosing*

  • 5.0 star rating
    1/12/2013

    I've only been here a couple of times, but loved it each time. Great food, good wine, and a nice atmosphere. I love how it is a little quirky. You do need to make a reservation as it does get busy.  If you're just going for drinks it is table service, which I like as it means it doesn't get too crowded. Make sure to try the olives...

  • 2.0 star rating
    29/11/2012 Updated review
    5 check-ins here

    The more I think about it, the more I realise I don't particularly enjoy Under the Stairs. I feel like I should, but I've been going less and less, and when I do go, I come away disappointed.

    It's full of mismatched, old arm chairs. It's like an extended living room, comfy and cosy. There's quite tasty food and an interesting, inventive range of cocktails.

    There are also rude staff, and in particular (I think) a rude manager, with a bizarre 'table service' only policy. As other reviewers have noted, rather than politely helping customers realise this, you can get rudely asked to sit down before ordering your drink - although sometimes when it's busy you CAN order from the bar but no one tells you this whilst you sit for an age without a drink.

    The memory of the visit I had here in which I asked for sweet potato fries with my fish off the daily specials menu, only to be told VERY rudely I could not and if I wanted sweet potaot fries I'd have to order the burger (our whole table of 6 was left stunned and appalled at the manner the waiter / manager had told me this) meant I haven't eaten there since. (Read my previous review below).

    But I have since been for cocktails. I found the window seat to smell of mouldy cabbage (I'm guessing just mould) and the cocktails just don't seem to have any kick to them. They're inventive but they fail to get me even slightly buzzed. I'm guessing there is alcohol in them, but perhaps it's the ratio of ice that just means they're quite weak.

    3.0 star rating
    7/3/2012 Previous review
    So I came back for the pub quiz and to try the food. And it still has all the charm and highlgihts… Read more
    5.0 star rating
    21/5/2011 Previous review
    I've just realised that my last review was written after one visit during which I didn't partake in… Read more
    3.0 star rating
    13/1/2011 Previous review
    What a quirky little bar this is. I'd been warned beforehand that you need to book a table (odd for… Read more
  • 2.0 star rating
    27/11/2012

    Under the Stairs is a nice bar, eclectically furnished and with a fair range of drinks and good food, however it is also a bit pretentious and the staff can seem surly, no good thing when the bar has a strict table service only policy!

    This is what you have to look forward to assuming you get into the place as the door staff have a very definite bias toward letting the female of the species in, in preference to their male counterparts...

    In short, meh Under the Stairs you could be a great bar, you do have good food and drink however the attitude of your staff is just to be blunt, naff!

  • 4.0 star rating
    12/2/2013

    Interesting to see quite a diverse range of opinion on this place. I have eaten here twice and I have to say I've enjoyed the atmosphere and haven't had any of the problems referred to. I admit, however, that there can be an air of confusion upon arriving, regarding the slightly (only slightly) odd restrictions regarding seating, eating, and table service. I had heard (unconfirmed) that this was a licensing issue, but that doesn't fully explain it.

    We should all admit, also, that while the format of the place with its blurred boundary between bar and restaurant is not UK typical, it's not so strange a format for other places.

    Anyway, Under the Stairs has a nice vibe and decent Food. What I particularly like about it is that there's decent gastropub fare like burgers, fish 'n' chips, etc but they also do less intense, less stomach-busting options as well.

    I like it. I'd go again - but understand maybe not everyone's cup of tea.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/11/2012

    Under the Stairs is probably the perfect place for a solo traveller. I always felt cozy and comfortable to be alone, but never too detached to feel awkward and lonely.

    Just like any solo traveller will tell you, when they say that a place is perfect to be alone, they also mean it would've been better with someone ha. The dim lighting, cool tunes, comfy couches, laid back staff make a terrific atmosphere for a date.

    The place is not the the traditional gastropub that seem to be sprouting on every corner of the UK. The fare is light and everything that I've ordered has had an asian influence. The cocktails are a bit pricey but the single malts are reasonable at around 4 quid a pour.

  • 3.0 star rating
    11/12/2012
    2 check-ins here

    I think Under the Stairs suffers from a bit of split personality disorder. It doesn't know what it wants to be, a restaurant or a pub. I've been here on quite a few occasions now and even I can't make my mind up on the place.

    As the name suggests Under the Stairs is a basement venue just off the Grassmarket, which makes the place feel cosy. The lower ceiling and eclectic mixture of furniture give the place a very intimate bohemian feel however the mis-matched tables and chairs can be a tad frustrating. Last time I was there I was sat at a table I couldn't get my legs under. When the place is busy not being able to get your legs under a table becomes a major problem as you end up blocking people trying to get by you. The tables are REALLY jammed together and you'll often end up bumping in to people sat behind you if you try to move your chair.

    The whole issue with service is a bit weird too. They insist on table service, which is fine when it isn't busy and staff have time to check on tables, but it becomes a problem when you can't get anyone to take a drinks order because the place is hopping. A little flexibility to allow people to order at the bar would be ideal.

    The food is lovely here and is really its saving grace. The menu has a great selection of main meals and nibbley bar food; plus the specials board keeps things interesting. I've never had the burgers but I hear they are really good, especially as they come with sweet potato fries.

    A few flaws to work on, but on the whole, not a bad place to eat and drink.

  • 2.0 star rating
    14/3/2012

    Came here not too long ago, and my first impressions were good! It has a great design and quite a cosy place. However, the major downpoint is fairly expensive drinks and bad service! The staff insist on table service, which is okay, but not when you're waiting for the bartender to finish their dinner so you get asked if you want another one. I felt like I was waiting for ages, trying to make eyecontact with the waitress. Also, when a party has already started a dinner bill (I wasn't eating though) it gets complicated when you get the massive bill at the end!
    They should have a system like this:

    - go up to bar
    -order drink
    -pay for drink
    -take drink to table, or allow them to take drink to you (if they really want!)

    Voila! That in itself would easily notch this place up a couple points.

  • 1.0 star rating
    17/3/2012

    1 - Enter place
    2 - Find seat
    3 - Go to bar
    4 - Try to order
    5 - Have rude bar staff telling you off for not waiting at the table
    6 - Leave place

    Been there twice on other people's invitation. No reason to return there spontaneously.

  • 4.0 star rating
    9/11/2010
    2 check-ins here

    Under the stairs is a funny old place because on the one hand it's secluded and atmospheric enough to be awesome, whilst on the other it's cool and kitschy enough to be kind of annoying.

    That dichotomy is true of most things with this bar and more than for most other places for every negative, there's a clear positive that stands in opposition to it.

    Under the Stairs is in the minority of bars in the area that run exclusively on table service; meaning if the place is full when you arrive, you're not getting in. Taking the obvious limited space problem out of the equation (which in itself can either be brilliant as it keeps the place from becoming another city centre meat market) the table service is still a double edged sword of sorts with the most sway coming down on how attentative the staff are. If there are enough people on and they keep a good enough eye on how you're progressing with your drinks and food then it can be a great experience. If however you're having to get up and chase them down every time you want something else to drink then it makes the whole idea of not being able to go to the bar pretty redundant.

    I've been a couple of times before and find the staff and most of the clientele to be pleasant enough and it's quite reasonably priced for a "cool" city centre bar. The selection of beers is nice and varied and the food I've had was worth the money I paid for it (even if the falafel is a little bland - bloody good sweet potato fries though!)

    It's four stars then as long as it's on the right night and you get the service you deserve. If you turn up and it's pretty busy, it might be wroth knocking one of those bad boys off. I'd definitely check it out though and make your mind up for yourself. I'll be going again.

    Just make sure you check your bill - mine had an extra ten pound added on for something we didn't have which in these trying economic times is enough to feed a whole bunch of hungry Yelpers a whole load of fudges...

  • 3.0 star rating
    13/3/2012

    I visited Under the stairs for a drink on Saturday for the first time. I'm very conflicted with what i found.

    I love the place, it is so cosy and relaxing with big comfy chairs and a tropical fish tank. A great place for a date. However, the issue is unfortunately the staff. They offer table service which is great, if it worked. It took about half an hour to get my first drink. Repeat drinks were also an issue. At one point i was sitting without a drink and a waiter came and cleared the empty glasses away but didn't ask if i wanted anything, so we asked for a bottle of white wine and he looked at us as if we'd asked for a Swedish massage.

    All in all, this was pretty disappointing. Maybe if they changed some staff this place would be awesome!

  • 2.0 star rating
    8/8/2011

    I've been to Under The Stairs once or twice in the past and liked its ambience and cocktail menu, but this was my first visit for food. Unfortunately, I didn't have a very good time.

    We had placed a booking for eight people and had a table set aside for us. I arrived to find that the place was freezing; not the best atmosphere to eat your lunch in. The back door was propped open, so the rear of the restaurant felt like a windy alley. It was baltic! I sat with my jacket on for the whole time.

    We ordered food, but had to wait approximately 45 minutes to an hour - I can't remember the exact wait time, but it was absolutely ages. A couple that arrived after us received two courses and left before we got fed. We were all starving, so even with plenty chat to keep us occupied the wait for food was ridiculous.

    The saving grace was the actual nosh. I ordered the goats cheese and potato salad dish, which came in around £7.50, so not too expensive. Unfortunately, because we'd been waiting for so long it wasn't enough to fill me up. The portion size was not really big enough so I wouldn't order it again despite being nice - I really expected a large salad but all I got in the way of greens was a sprinkling of rocket. Not ideal.

    Everyone else seemed to have a lovely meal, however. The falafel burgers and beef burgers were massive and came with amazing looking sweet potato wedges and a side salad. The lamb kofta looked brilliant too.  

    So I clearly ordered the wrong thing. Pick the burger and you'll be good to go.

    After the main course, we waited a loooooooong time for the plates to be cleared. We wanted to order hot drinks but the table service was very, very slow so again we waited a considerable amount of time.

    We got to order hot chocolates, but when mine arrived it wasn't warm enough, and it was the same situation with another diner on our table. The guy did return our beverages lickety split with much hotter milk, so I was happy with that but it shouldn't have arrived luke warm in the first place.

    All in all, a mixed bag. The place is quirky and cool and is affordable, but the service was very poor, the windy draft was terrible and I didn't really enjoy my meal. For me, there were too many negatives to make this a good experience and I won't be back for food again.

  • 5.0 star rating
    23/8/2011
    10 check-ins here

    Absolutely amazing!  A great place to bring a date (have done so), extensive drink menus, chill environment, and amazing cocktails.

    Well some of them are amazing.  The Mango Margarita isn't exactly a great combination.  I love tequila so gladly finished my friends drink, as the mango does not mask, or lessen the flavour of the tequila.  Traditionally Margaritas are made with a more bitter flavour.  Maybe Acai would be interesting?

    The Citrus punch is good, but the Mojito is what has brought me back 3 times in one week.

  • 4.0 star rating
    13/1/2011

    I've been here a handful of times, most recently for dinner with friends for my birthday.  

    As Jenny L and Chris M have said, it is a small place about half-filled with (pre-booking required) tables, and the rest of the space isn't terribly conducive to standing about.  Because of this, they stop letting people in before the place becomes sardine packed, which is really rare, and really nice.  

    My meal here was very reasonably priced (three mains, a bottle of wine, two cocktails a whisky, and a dessert, about 60 pounds) and nice.  I'd read Chris M's review where he commented on the meh-ness of the falafel burger but I love falafel so much I had to try it for myself.  Unfortunately I have to say I agree with him, but again as he said, the sweet potato fries were very yummy, and my friend's halibut was also apparently quite nice.

    I'm with the others on the service in that our waiter came by every five minutes looking for our order, but once we'd placed it it was pretty difficult to get anything else.  I think I've decided that the trick is to go here during the week.  It is considerably less busy and you can easily get a bartender to help you with anything.

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/10/2011
    3 check-ins here

    Now that I'm back Stateside, I often find myself wishing that I had an Under the Stairs of my own to comfort me during the long, dark, rainy Portland nights. The little low-ceilinged basement bar is cozy as all getout, with couches, armchairs and tiny tables for two packed in like sardines - cozy, cozy sardines. It gets busy early and stays busy late, but the helpful staff will somehow manage to wrangle you a table at the last minute.

    If you're after a bite, the kitchen will deliver in spades. We've tried the pan-seared coley, the mushroom thyme rigatoni and the beef burger, and they were all excellent. The portions aren't heaping big, but the flavors will have the classiest of patrons licking their plates.

    While the kitchen is more than competent (and turns on a light when a dish is ready instead of clanging a loud bell) the real draw of Under the Stairs are the cocktails. Mary Under the Stairs is spicy and hearty, Chili Palmer is equally spicy but simultaneously refreshing, the Mango Margarita is just sweet enough and You're A Plum is plum perfect, featuring such rare ingredients as plum liqueur and nettle cordial.

    As far as I'm concerned, there are few places better for curling up on a rainy day and nibbling on a charcuterie platter or fresh crab cakes while savoring a meticulously-crafted cocktail... or three.

  • 3.0 star rating
    16/3/2012
    5 check-ins here

    Wandering along Merchant Street there's every chance you'll blink and miss this place. I did the first time I visited! Look more closely (erm!) under the stairs and you'll notice the cosy glow emitting from behind the windows, and happy folk enjoying a pint. Head downstairs and you'll find a quirky bar full of shabby chic, wooden tables and wonderful photography!

    I first came here with lovely Yelpers to do the popular pub quiz on Monday nights (9pm/£1entry) and have returned for more quizzing action since. The quiz is good fun and challenges the grey matter well!

    There is a great selection of drinks available, not a massive selection, but perfectly adequate, and the menu is interesting and varied. I had a risotto cake the last time I ate here, and it was delicious. The sweet potato fries looked tasty too however, as we know from previous reviews, they are only for the privileged few who order burgers! Prices are pretty reasonable too.

    Under the Stairs is too wee to have folk crowding round the bar and they don't really let people stand... so this bar is table service only. This is really the one main thing I dislike about the place. The staff are, at times, are not the friendliest or most attentive, and it quite often takes a while to catch their eye. When 'table' service is what they're all about, I would expect the staff to pay more attention to the actual 'tables'!

    And my top tip...you can't book a table to drink, so if you're coming in on a busy night, pub quiz for example, then make sure you arrive at least an hour earlier to ensure you have a place to sit!

    I like this place, it has a good vibe and I will, no doubt, make many return visits...but I really do hope they get the service issues sorted out!

  • 4.0 star rating
    25/10/2011

    This place has a comfortable atmosphere, decorated as it is like a gentrified country pub, with low ceilings and mismatched furniture adding to the charm.

    I had lunch with a friend here recently and was impressed by the quality of the food. The Interesting flavour combinations (chili and chorizo hollandaise! elderflower and bramble sorbet!) and attractive presentation of dishes served at Under the Stairs certainly help consign the stereotypes of Scottish cuisine to the waste disposal of history.

    As delicious as it was surprising.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/6/2012

    This is a great place to go and have a relaxing drink with friend or even a good venue for date night.  With comfy chairs it gives a really cosy atmosphere and feel to the place.  You can't help but sit back and relax.  

    The food here is good.  Definitely a step up from usual pub grub but this is only a good thing.  With ingredients like crab, goat's cheese, fig, walnut, chorizo etc you'll have a problem deciding what to choose.  They also have a sharing menu which is available until midnight so great shout if you get the munchies or need something to soak up the alcohol.  

    The only bad thing I'd say is this place is popular and does get rather busy.  There isn't anywhere to stand and you can't prop up the bar so make sure you get there early or reserve a table if you want food at the weekend.

  • 4.0 star rating
    30/1/2012

    I come along to the pub quiz sometimes so although I'm fairly limited on the menu I thought I'd rate the quiz instead!

    First the more traditional stuff!
    It is a lovely place to sit  and drink with friends. The decor is chilled and it is comfortable and cosy. I like the fact you're sort of packed in with everyone else which makes for a really lively atmosphere sometimes but at the same time makes it feel quite European and relaxed.

    Food - never had it but their specials are always very tempting so I'll have to go soon and check it out!

    Drinks - they have an excellent range of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails but these have been lauded at length in other reviews so I reckon I'll leave it to those who have explored the available tastes on offer more broadly.

    Service. Slow and sometimes a little bit cold if I'm being brutally honest. The staff seem frustrated and rather annoyed some of the time as it seems to be quite hard for them to get around and take orders. Also it's a bit weird not just being able to go up and order at the bar.  However It's not enough to actually make me drop marks but perhaps the only thing stopping this from being a 5 star review.

    The Quiz - IS FANTASTIC. I've no idea who the dude is that runs the quiz but he's awesome. He is clear and writes some interesting questions. He's also got a strong anti cheating policy which I strongly encourage. It's just long enough to be appropriate for a school night and the competition strong enough to keep you coming back. Get in there early if you actually want to get a seat!

    So! That's my review of just the quiz... I really need to control my mind spew sometimes.

  • 5.0 star rating
    26/5/2011

    Went here on my last night in Edinburgh, after the final days of fringe, so everything winding down, except for this bar.

    Loved the feel of walking into what seemed like an ancient cellar turned cocktail lounge with good music, lots of space to sit (with cushiony couches, chairs, tables, whatever strikes your fancy), fun people, and, of course, fantastic drinks.

    Really appreciate expertly crafted beverages and this place certainly did not disappoint.  I sampled much of the menu and remember a twist on a bloody mary and some kind of cucumber-gin-gimlet-like-drink which, although hard to do poorly, was exceptionally good.  See pictures and make your own decision :)

  • 2.0 star rating
    21/3/2012

    No. Just, no.

    I've been back several times and I just keep being disappointed. The manager and staff, as Jen has mentioned, are rude beyond believe.

    They'll rudely tell you to sit down, as there's table service, but they won't actually come and take your order for quite some time. Also, the place stinks. I'm sorry, there is a very persistent and bad smell that lingers. It's been quite noticeable on my last three visits and as a result I haven't been since.

    Don't get me wrong, the food is lovely, the cocktail I had was marvelous, but the rudeness of the staff, the smell, and just the way you're treated means that I won't be back in until this place changes owners.

    No way, no how.

  • 5.0 star rating
    30/3/2010

    I hear it's owned by Scandinavians.. You can tell by the minimalist style and underground comfort.

    Peppered with vintage style, mismatching furniture but a ice-cool white tiled DJ booth it's incredibly "fashionable" without being something that will date. Friendly, laid back service and is genuinely somewhere you can spend hours in.

    My friend introduced us all to the Falafel burger with smoked cheese and caramalised onions. I think I may have kissed it and then her, and then took credit for finding it, which I now admit to be wrong. The sweet potato chips with 2 special little dipping sauces is exactly my kind of thing.

    Possibly one of the best meals I've eaten in Edinburgh.

  • 4.0 star rating
    20/1/2014
    1 check-in here
    Listed in fancy a drink?

    this review will be short, as although my time there was rather lengthy i only had one item off the menu.  well three really, as in three glasses of pinot noir which i can highly recommend.  the place itself is also quiet nice, loads of tablse and chair so easy to get a seat, not quite as easy to get the attention of the wait staff who insist on table service.  but overall a really nice place to go for a drink.

  • 4.0 star rating
    22/5/2010

    Coming to Under the Stairs is much like having a wee drink in the various rooms of someone's home, with the soft glow of retro lampshades, kooky furniture, sofas, and general "shabby chic" vibe on the go. The crowd that come here relaxed, sometimes arty, and just a bit different, and I get a really good feel about lounging in here for a good while every time I come in, because it's ultra homely and welcoming. When you're sitting with a group of friends, because of the arrangement of the decor and chairs and tables, it's kind of like you're in your own little compartment of a room, which is nice if you're having quite an in depth chat, rather than party talk.

    Under the Stairs serve a range of very decent food, with some dishes available to share until midnight, plus they have a funky little cocktail menu, which includes the tasty pamplemousse cocktail with pink grapefruit liqueur and the good old classic mojito, which I'm always partial to.

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/4/2010

    On first impressions, I have to be brutally honest and say that this place doesn't look like much. Tucked down a flight of stairs on the edge of the grassmarket, if it weren't for the sign on the railings outside you wouldn't even notice it's even there.

    However, once you get inside it's a whole different matter. The furniture is quirkily mismatched yet somehow still stylish, the bar is extemely well-stocked with a huge range of drinks you wouldn't expect to find in an average bar, and the staff are extremely friendly and polite. More importantly... they make a great dirty vodka martini!

    At one end, there is a full set of DJ decks and the barman told me that they do put on a live set once every two weeks or so (nearby residents permitting!) At the other end of the long, low-ceilinged venue, there are vintage comfy sofas to while away an afternoon on - something which is very easy to do in a place as relaxed and chilled as this!

    Rather than being a bar that serves the odd bit of food, or a food place that serves drinks, it does seem as though Under The Stairs manages to do both equally well. The food menus are printed on LP sleeves and contain everything from burgers to salads to pastas ranging from £6-8. The one that won me over was the Falafel Burger with Mint Yogurt Dip, topped with Applewood Smoked Cheese and served in a flatbread for £7.85.

    If you're not feeling that peckish, I spied some other people sharing the bread and various dipping oils alongside their bottle of wine, and I have to say it did look tempting.

    For 2 main courses, a cocktail and a pint of Kirin you can expect to get a bit of change from £25; the drinks prices are the only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars... everything else about this place is amazing!

  • 5.0 star rating
    23/5/2010

    The term 'hidden gem' gets thrown around liberally these days, but this bar truly deserves that title.

    They house furnishings I'm convinced were snagged from a skip, yet have managed to skilfully place them under the 'shabby chic' umbrella. A DJ booth sits casually close to the diners and the bar staff are all top notch.  One of few places to sell Kirin Ichiban (a Japanese lager) which is a mouth watering novelty. The food is excellent too, I recently scoffed a expertly cooked rib-eye steak with mash and a red wine reduction.

    Great for casual drinks and quality food.

  • 4.0 star rating
    31/7/2010

    This is a review dedicated explicitly to Under the Stairs' Bloody Mary, or, more accurately, their Mary Under the Stairs. It's really quite difficult to find a good Bloody Mary in Edinburgh. Sometimes when you go to a pub and order one, the bartender will just look at you with this hopelessly lost expression on their face, wondering what exactly a Bloody Mary is. I once ordered one in Teviot's Library Bar and all I got was tomato juice with a celery stick in it. Not a drop of vodka. It was disgraceful.

    Under the Stairs, though, does it right. They do it better than just right. Instead of using cheap vodka, it's made with Bison Grass Vodka, which, I assure you, will knock you out almost immediately. My friend mentioned this to me, and I laughed at her, claiming she was a total lightweight. How wrong I was. There're also chunks of cucumber, and sugar snaps, whole pink peppercorns, and fresh basil leaves. It's. To. Die. For. Ok, so it's a bit pricey (at 6.10 a glass), but utterly delicious. The burgers, as a side thought, were also very good.

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/8/2010

    A chic, hidden bar/restaurant tucked away off Candlemaker Row, Under the Stairs is not as pretentious as some of its George Street counter-parts. With comfy sofas and armchairs set around a wood burning stove, this bar offers classy drinks, continental lagers and tasty nibbles. If you're after something more substantial, it also has gastro-pub style meals, which, if I'm honest, are sold at gastro-pub style prices, with a main course costing around £10-15.
    As it's a small trendy hang-out it's probably worth booking ahead if you're eating, but as a place to have a quiet drink and escape the bustle of the Old Town it's ideal. Definitely worth a visit if you can afford it.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/6/2011

    My husband and I came here on our recent trip to Edinburgh, and I absolutely loved it, wished I could have brought it home with me.
    First off, the atmosphere. Loved that all the tables and chairs looked to be yard sale finds and hand me downs, although a lot of the tables were really short. Fine for me, but might be annoying for a taller person there to have dinner.
    The menu was right up my ally, especially after a week of sampling heavy pub foods. The cocktail menu is super creative, and my bloody mary had tons of veggies in (the only thing I love more than a good bloody, is a good bloody with food in it).  Food wise, there was plenty of options for a veggie and seafood loving gal like myself. The only reason it gets only 4 stars is because my conchigle needed more sauce, but that's just the opinion of a flavour whore.

  • 4.0 star rating
    29/9/2008
    First to Review

    Its always great when you find someplace new in Edinburgh.

    Stumbled upon this little basement bar just off Candlemaker Row on Saturday and what a great find it proved to be. The place has a very comfy feel thanks to the basement setting and mix of furniture of the kind usually picked up from a second hand shop. It was a little quiet when we arrived on Saturday lunchtime but since it's not the most obvious location this is to be expected and will probably be a plus point as far as I'm concerned.

    When ordering food I was a bit dissapointed to be told the item off the specials board I was interested in was off. How can a special be off so early in the day? Take it off the board in that case. I settled for a burger with red pepper pesto instead and my partner had a salad. The burger was homemade and grilled to perfection, accompanied by some sweet potato chips. Both of us were happy with our choices and would definately eat here again.

    I'll be checking out Under the Stairs again soon to see how it shapes up as an evening venue.

    • Qype User es…
    • Edinburgh
    • 15 friends
    • 99 reviews
    1.0 star rating
    7/1/2009

    As a born & bred Edinburgh gal I'm always overjoyed to receive a recommendation to a new bar in my city and happily hopped along to check out Under the Stairs, off Candlemaker Row (the basement bar that was the Chai teahouse).

    I must admit I normally avoid bars in this area of the city, the cowgate adjacent has carried a smell of rancid excrement for as long as I remember. However I'm always game for a challenge and held my breath on the way in.

    The bar was pretty busy when I got there, full of people who were obviously regulars and, as such, commanded the special attention of the Bar Staff. As such I found the service very slow and the drinks menu was dissappointing, however as I was in good company I was happy to stay longer.

    The decor is remeniscent of your grannies front room, in a twee attempt at shabby chic and is probably better appreciated when the bar isn't quite so uncomfortably full. As a basement bar the celings are very low so it is altogether a claustrophobic excersise on a busy evening.

    As a new bar, I wish it every success but am in no hurry to revisit + the smell outside has put me off ever eating food there.

    Ess

  • 5.0 star rating
    1/8/2010

    Seemed that Under the Stairs proofed itself and transformed into a popular and successful bar in Edinburgh's night life! It was really busy on a Thursday evening therefor the service was rather good!

    Cosy atmosphere sitting in car boot sale furniture with arty decorations on the walls (Red Door Gallery) and little treasures in hidden corners (lovely old sewing-machines).

    The wide choice of drinks offers also German Erdinger and Japanese Kirin beer besides cocktails and classics - each to its own.

    Vibrant and young customers in a really nice atmosphere!
    Definitely worth one (or more) visit(s)!

    • Qype User eit…
    • Edinburgh
    • 3 friends
    • 25 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    15/3/2009

    There's things I like about this place and things I don't but overall I wish them success and to keep working at their glitches until they get it right.

    The good: its fairly unassuming. Too many trendy bars around the town's center feel like all they need to do is stick a bit of designer wallpaper up somewhere and they've got a vibe. This place manages with less decor than most; dark wood floor basement-looking space and a clutterf**k of scruffy chairs give it that 'extention-of-your-livingroom' feel.

    The bad: Prices are up on some similar places nearby. The service can be slow [see below] and the music is confusing. By around 10 on a fri/sat night there already queuing peeps at the door.

    The ugly (but oh so funny): The bar doesn't actually have a bar license so you order and pay for drinks and the staff come around the side of the bar and serve you from a tray. Yes, really. Sounds like it'd make the service slow and hectic at the weekends; you're right!

    Somehow, I'm going to keep going here on the odd night, not sure why but look forward to the place getting to grips with itself.

  • 2.0 star rating
    20/3/2013

    I think this place has so much potential. It is a cool looking bar and is quite cosy. It feels like you could spend a long time there drinking coffee or having some food and a few drinks with friends which is what I used to do when I was a student. We used to come here quite a lot but there have been too many instances of staff being really rude to my friends over the years and that totally turns me off going there anymore. There's plenty of really cool bars with friendly decent staff who aren't too cool for school!! I'm not sure what the attitude is about and it's a real shame.

    • Qype User mrtomj…
    • Edinburgh
    • 7 friends
    • 187 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    18/5/2010

    Really good pub, very chilled out and hidden away ('Under The Stairs').

    It's actually quite big inside, but is very cosy, with really nice decor as well.

    Some of the cocktails are really good these days too.

    • Qype User Jonath…
    • Edinburgh
    • 0 friends
    • 4 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    24/8/2011

    Under the stairs used to be one of my favourites. It has a really nice atmosphere and you can also smoke outside under the stairs without getting wet when it rains!

    Too bad they are offering only table service right now and can't stay there without a table.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/2/2013 Updated review

    As noted there is a confusion about this place. To be frank, I think the whole "order at the bar or not" dilemma could be easily sorted if the management put a sign at the bar clarifying that orders are taken at the table, and please wait to be seated, as seen in similar establishments in New York. Sorted!
    My experience going on a busy Friday night with no booking was very positive! We were quickly seated by a very friendly waitress and didn't have to take long to order our drinks and later some food. It got very busy but we still managed to get the staff's attention when we needed to. I had the special main of tuna which was delicious and my friend's steak was done to perfection and just how she wanted it. The veggie burger was a bit of a disappointment flavour-wise but the sweet potato fries were delicious!I have to agree with other reviewers that their prices are a bit high for their drinks.
    Other than this small glitch I do enjoy this place every time I'm here and hope it improves it service for other Yelpers and customers as well!

    4.0 star rating
    25/4/2010 Previous review
    This little bar is a real gem, the buzz on a Saturday night is great and you don't really care if… Read more
  • 4.0 star rating
    30/1/2011
    1 check-in here

    ooohhh I am liking this trend that I am seeing in Edi bars! Couches, table service, roaring fire? Indeed! It's not a place for slamming down a few tequilas, but definitely for nursing a wee whiskey and discussing the political world... or um rock climbing (not so good on the political discussion front, me). Like Underdogs, Under the Stairs is looking for a relaxed vibe - less hen party and more high end. And the good thing here - no queuing or fighting the crowds to the bar. It made for a much more amenable catchup space than the previous bar myself and other Yelpers visited that night.

  • 3.0 star rating
    4/1/2012

    So strange the review underneath is by my brother! Graeme! Check him out and add him!! Anyway..Under the stairs is cute and would be great for a first date! I went alone (get the violins out) but the food was nice! I got the soup (lentil) was yummy but the bread it came with was a bit too hard! And I also got the halloumi salad! I heart halloumi! I reckon this would be a great joint to start an evening of fun in. A bite to eat and then some cocktails...

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