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Auld Reekie Tiki Bar
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The Auld Reekie Tiki Bar
43B Frederick St,
0131 226 2224
Mon, Tues Wed 4pm–1am, Thurs & Fri 4pm-3am, Sat, Sat 12pm–3am, Sun 4pm–3am

The age old dilemma. You discover somewhere new. Do you shout it from the rooftops or keep it to yourself? Because, like many Edinburgh basement bars, the excellently named Auld Reekie Tiki Bar is pretty well hidden.

Once you do manage to find your way inside, there are no half measures, both in terms of the commitment to the tiki theme or the strength of the drinks. The bamboo-dominated interior is a treasure trove of Polynesian style artfefacts, while the ostentatious tiki mugs are crafted especially for the bar. The music is authentic too, with sixties R'n'B transporting customers to another era. The fun cocktail menu draws on Scottish influences: 'Salt n Sauce' combines sweet rum and salted bitters, 'Buckini Atoll', brings together (for no doubt the first time) Chambord, Buckfast, candy floss and popping candy, while 'Choose Life' features Irn Bru and 'an indoor firework'. We opted for the gin-based 'Saturn' from the 1967 IBA's World cocktail championship, and the classic Mai Tai. On the good advice of my bartender, I followed with the sweet and potent 'She Wolf', made with the first white rum to be distilled in Scotland.

The bar has also recently started serving a menu of Thai food, which we were intrigued to try. Our expectations were low, this is primarily a cocktail bar after all, but we were pleasantly surprised. The starters of chicken satay and a king prawn and mango salad were fresh and bursting with flavour. Despite some unusual options on the menu like coley with chilli and tamarind sauce, we opted for the green and massaman curries, and again my expectations were way surpassed. With food that is actually better than in many Thai restaurants served until 2am at the weekend, Auld Reekie Tiki Bar is an excellent choice for an early dinner, or a late supper. However, the cocktails are the real stars here and we returned to the drinks menu for dessert.

Aside from this, Auld Reekie has a 3am license, DJs at the weekend, a good beer selection, a fussball table and a large comfortable smoking area – what's not to love?

But don't tell anyone OK? This is just between us.



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