‘Edinburgh has the vibe of a big city but is tiny in terms of its scale,” says Dougal Sharp, founder of Innis & Gunn, a craft beer headquartered in the Scottish capital.
Born in Aberdeen, Sharp moved to the capital as a teenager and often worked for his dad who ran the Caledonian Brewery. But don’t just come here to drink the local brews, he says.
“If you were to stand atop Arthur’s Seat, which is a hill in the middle of Holyrood Park, you can see where the city ends on all sides. It packs a punch for a small capital city and although it’s stunning to look at, it’s the people who really make the place what it is.”
Here is his guide to the best Edinburgh has to offer.
My local is Montpeliers in the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh, which is a really vibrant, diverse community on the northern fringes of the city. I go there for good beer and banter and, as it’s only a two-minute walk from home, I can properly enjoy the beer - 29 Queensferry St., montpeliers.co.uk
Ondine is my go-to restaurant in Edinburgh. It never fails to be brilliant. The owner/head chef, Roy Brett, is such an incredibly talented man and a lovely guy and he is an ardent ambassador for Scottish seafood, which is amazing but so undervalued - 2 George IV Bridge, ondinerestaurant.co.uk
Jenners and Brotique
To be honest though, as I travel a lot, most of the shopping I do is at airports. But for anyone who’s grown up in Edinburgh as I have, Jenners is a familiar name. It’s Edinburgh’s oldest department store and a bit of an institution really. I also like the men’s store, Brotique in Edinburgh. They are pretty local to our HQ and I always end up leaving with something whether I need it or not - Jenners: 47 Princes St., houseoffraser.co.uk; Brotique: 39 Queen St., thebrotique.co.uk
It’s always been one of my favourite haunts, from my rugby-playing days to now (the sessions are a lot more civilized these days). It was recently refurbished and has one of the best beer gardens in Edinburgh – always hooching – which translates as busy – on the rare occasion the sun shines in Edinburgh. - 112 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge; theraeburn.com
In Edinburgh you can’t beat the Royal Mile or St Andrew’s Square during the Edinburgh Festival in August. It’s always buzzing, the only time Edinburgh truly becomes a 24-hour city. But, for me, I’d travel a short distance East to North Berwick or Tyninghame Beach in East Lothian. North Berwick is a beautiful coastal town and the beach at Tyninghame is so wild and unspoilt (just don’t tell anyone) - edinburghfestivalcity.com; north-berwick.co.uk; visiteastlothian.org
This interview has been condensed and edited.