#67: The Bon Vivant, Thistle Street, Edinburgh

The Bon Vivant, Thistle Street, Edinburgh (exterior)

This is possibly the darkest place on the tour so far. So dark, in fact, that I couldn’t get a decent photo inside, and the one of the bar is pretty crap. A lot of the lighting was from candles, so it was a bit hot too. It reminded me of a trendy Parisian bistro / wine bar. There wasn’t much in the way of beers (though I have to admit I didn’t check the bottles out), and it felt a bit more like a restaurant than a pub.

Quite a mix of clientele age-wise, but mostly well-to-do or at least trendy people. I felt a bit out of place. It was relatively busy, but we managed to get a table.

Gav wondered if they only employed bearded men, and postulated that it wasn’t actually dark, just that the thick beards of the barmen absorbed most of the light from the otherwise high-watt lighting.

The Bon Vivant, Thistle Street, Edinburgh (interior)

Edit: I went back and got a photo in the day-time, see right. It was a lot quieter, but thankfully a bit brighter.

Like the Queens Arms round the corner, we used to come here a lot around 10 years ago when it was still “The World”. It was a very different pub back then, also luring office workers in on a Friday night with free food to keep them drinking. It went downhill and eventually out of business, and now we have The Bon Vivant instead.

They’ve got another bar down in Stockbridge bearing the same name, an offy next door and something called “Pep & Fodder” over on Waterloo Place which I assume is a restaurant.

The Bar

The Bon Vivant, Thistle Street, Edinburgh (interior, bar)

Considering the small and boring beer selection on keg (Guinness, Belhaven Best, San Miguel, Kronenbourg 1664) and complete lack of cask beers, I think they’re more about the wine in here. They had a fancy wine list which meant nothing to me, sorry.

The round was £17.70 for 3 beers, a soft drink and a rum and coke. Let’s say around £3.90 per pint/drink+mixer, £2 for the soft drink. Not as bad as expected. Whoever it was that went to the bar said they expected it to be one of those places where they return your change on a silver tray to encourage you to leave it as a tip. But no, ’twas not the case. Bonus.


Dang, having not taken any notes about the food while we were there I can’t cheat and just look at their website (they’re “currently having a refurb of [their] online portal”). All I can go on is what I remember last time we were here maybe two years ago. It’s relatively fine dining fare, verging on dining first, pub second.


If you’re trying to hide from the law, head here, it’s pretty dark.

They’ve got an offy next door selling “specialist wines and spirits” called The Bon Vivant’s Companion.

Castle View



Website: bonvivantedinburgh.co.uk
Twitter: @the_bon_vivant
Facebook: The Bon Vivant


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