The Hanging Bat Edinburgh, UK


Since The Hanging Bat says to expect, "20 draught lines, over 120 bottles beers, BBQ food, happy staff (except on Mondays), 40+ speciality gins, the best bathroom sinks in any bar anywhere, great coffee" I figured this is exactly where I wanted to be Friday evening. I walked up a few stairs and quickly realized that everyone else wanted to be there too. My gaze washed over the long bar and narrow room which was jammed full of noisy Scottish accents and patrons. Finding a seat seemed uncertain as I maneuvered along the bar occasionally looking up to the slightly raised seating area just a few steps above. I rounded the corner without success and headed down a few steps to the lower area. Once I made it to the other side, the room fortunately revealed two interesting chairs under the stairs which happened to be the only empty seats here. I had forgotten that it is quite common to head out after work with coworkers or meet up with friends for a few rounds in the UK.


We sat for a moment not sure if there would be any kind of table service. After a moment I figured that there wouldn't be and headed up to the bar to order some drinks. I gazed over the beer board and made my selections. Despite the lack of space I received my drinks quickly due to the multitude of bartenders shimmying around dutifully pouring beer into schooners. Considering the crowd I didn't expect the staff to be happy, and they certainly didn't come across as such. They were a mix of rushed and semi surly which is fine. I don't expect in depth beer recommendations or anything other than service when in a large crowd. I grabbed my two beers and headed back to my cave under the stairs.


Repeatedly I focused on how noisy the entire bar was. This was one of the noisiest venues I'd ever been to at 7pm and there wasn't anything contributing to the noise besides people talking. Most of the bar was wood and the sound just seemed to echo and bounce. As I gazed at the decour I was left with the feeling that the bar was trying very hard to be trendy. The main drawback of the bar was that it was very pricey. Also I can understand the bar's desire to streamline their process by pouring all the beers into the same kind of glass, but I feel this is bad etiquette for a craft beer bar.  A few patrons trickled out as I finished my first beer, and as the noise level decreased just a touch, it was mildly more comfortable.


The beer is the main draw here. The tap list focuses on the UK with a heavy emphasis on Scottish beers as well as better known UK craft brewers. The Kernel IPA Citra and Buxton Imperial Black IPA that I had during my visit were both delicious. I also noticed the occasional brew from the USA on their draft list when I checked out their updates on twitter. The bottle list is wider reaching and very expensive with some interesting selections available. I had the impression that it would be difficult to get the bottle list and a beer from it while it was so busy that Friday night. If you are in Edinburgh this would definitely be a good choice if you want to sample beer, and I would have ordered a beer flight if it wasn't so busy.


I left this bar with fairly mixed feelings. The beer selection was full of options I wanted to drink, but the atmosphere wasn't what I go for. I understand that everyone else wants good beer too, but when I have to shout to talk to the person next to me it just isn't my scene. If I lived in Edinburgh I think I would come here fairly regularly, despite the somewhat restrictive prices. When I walked by Saturday afternoon on my way to Cloisters, I thought briefly about going in to give it another chance. I'm curious what it is like during slower times. After storming a castle or two around Edinburgh it makes sense to stop by here and re energize with a beer; I'd just be mindful of the time.

Overall: 8/10





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About Colin Smith

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.

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