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GIN JOINT OF THE MONTH: PANDA & SONS

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79 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2NF

Welcome to Edinburgh’s best-known secret – the charming speakeasy Panda & Sons.

Where does this bar get its unique name? “The pandas are personifications of our owner Ian McPherson and his family and friends,” explains Panda & Sons’ Jono McDowell.

The pandas are also an important symbol of the comfort and kinship that you can expect in this underground gin joint. “Everyone that walks through our door feels welcome,” smiles Jono.

That’s if you can find the bar in the first place! When you arrive at 79 Queen Street, you’ll find a barbershop with a flight of stairs leading to a bookcase. But don’t be fooled by the façade! The bookcase swings back, beckoning you in.

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Once inside, a friendly, old-school atmosphere awaits. The wood-panelled bar is filled with rich leather chairs, vintage adverts and books, gramophones, antique lamps and, as you might expect, plenty of panda imagery.  It’s perfect for good conversation and company, full of cosy corners where you can enjoy the friendship of your favourite Gin Pals.

The Harry Belfonte Cocktail

The Harry Belfonte Cocktail

From the 30 exquisite gins stocked at the bar, the team crafts inventive and elegant gin tipples, including the Angel Face (apricot; apple), Red Panda (tomato; kaffir lime Leaves; sriracha), Chai Fox (chai; pimiento) and Stars in your Guise (coriander; grapefruit).

Jono himself recommends the Super Tonic. “It’s a gin and tonic, but with a Panda & Sons twist. We top it with hibiscus and a dusting of cayenne pepper, making a fruity, floral drink,” he says. The perfect tipple to sip while enjoying the confidences of your nearest and dearest in the intimate depths of this basement bar.

What and where’s your favourite gin joint? Let us know!