There are only three reasons why you would find Oloroso, Edinburgh's finest and most secret rooftop bar: 1) if you were wearing a neck brace and walking down Castle Street with your head jammed upwards, 2) if you had fallen over drunk beside its little hidden door, 3) if you were very local, very trendy and totally in the know. If the last, you wouldn't be letting the crowds of festival-going tourists in on the secret. Oops, I just have.
Located on the fourth floor of an unassuming building, Oloroso does not advertise itself to visiting English losers. From the street, you'd mistake it for a closed accountant's office. Make your way up in the lift to the third floor, then up a flight of stairs past a darkened office, and you will see why this is such a well-kept secret.
The discreet little cocktail bar looks south over Arthur's Seat and Edinburgh Castle, past the seagulls that bluster around the chimneystacks in the chilly Edinburgh summer. A shy barman with the reddest hair in Britain brings the cocktails: the Rhubarbski, at £6.50, represents not bad value compared to the £2.50 rhubarb and apple juice I had at the festival bookshop the same day.
If you can stand the cold, though, the roof terrace is the place to be. Catch a whiff of the Caledonian Brewery as you watch the sun set over the Firth of Forth, and you'll be amazed that this place isn't heaving. Just don't tell anyone else.
Oloroso, 33 Castle Street, Edinburgh (0131-226 7614)Reuse content