Looking for bars in Edinburgh? Read our review of Hey Palu, or check out our Edinburgh foodie guide here.
Hey Palu in a nutshell
Contemporary Italian drinking den.
Where is it?
Bread Street, a two-minute walk from the Usher Hall and within easy reach of the Grassmarket.
What’s the vibe?
Retro with contemporary features. There’s a lively ‘Campari’ bar area, perfect for that post-work cocktail, and for longer evening sessions the ‘Martini’ room has soft seating and a great playlist to while the night away.
Original black and white photos have been carefully selected to adorn the Martini area, and low lighting and blue banquette seating give the space a modern feel. It’s grown up but cool.
What’s the drinks menu like?
Cocktails, vermouths, amari (bitter herbal liqueurs typically eaten after meals) and aperitivi (drinks such as Campari, Cynar and Aperol) feature alongside a (mostly) Italian wine list. Non-alcoholic cocktails and low-alcoholic serves complete the extensive menu.
Which cocktails to order?
Garibaldi Shakerato – Campari with orange and pink grapefruit – is refreshingly citrus and bitter tasting without being too sour. Well balanced, it makes for a perfect pre-dinner drink.
Amaretto sour served on the rocks is a cocktail classic and at Hey Palu it’s served with Lazzaroni amaretto, Wild Turkey 81 bourbon, lemon, aquafaba (no egg whites here) and Angostura bitters. It’s sweet but not too sweet, bitter but not too bitter – a highly enjoyable guilty pleasure.
An amaro flight – Vecchio Amaro del Capo, Cynar and Averna – displays intriguing variety. Vecchio has notes of mandarin and cloves, Cynar has notes of artichoke, caramel and quinine, whilst Averna is treacle, oat and liquorice.
Is there any food?
A small but perfectly formed food offering features cheese platters, charcuterie, or a mix of both, as well as smaller bites including sherry tomatoes, rosemary mixed olives and toasted ciabatta. Oregano and sea salt crisps are the perfect nibbles to accompany a flight of vermouth. If you’re looking for something sweet, affogato can be served with your choice of Italian liqueur.
Hey Palu have mixed up some of their cocktails to go – pick up pre-bottled gin martinis, negronis and rum ’n’ raisin old fashioneds to enjoy at home.
Where to go nearby for dinner
It’s a two-minute walk to Timberyard, a hip, industrial warehouse space serving locally sourced seasonal dishes with a Scandi influence accompanied by natural wines.
Price: From £7 for a cocktail.
Words by Hilary Sturzaker