Sultry Interiors & Bizarre Cocktails: Find Out What We Thought Of George Street's Quirkiest Bar

After the success of their first Edinburgh venue in St James Quarter, The Alchemist on George Street opened its doors last summer and boasts a prestigious location among the upmarket shops in the city centre. While I’d been dazzled by many Instagram stories and TikToks showcasing the theatrical cocktails, I had yet to experience them myself. So, after a day of strolling and browsing the surrounding shops, it was time to see for myself if the tipples really were all that. And, of course, it was only fair that we sampled the trendy food menu too. So, were the cocktails as impressive IRL? Read on to find out.

The Alchemist George Street Reviews | DesignMyNight

The Alchemist on George Street - Edinburgh was sultry and intimate.

The moody low lighting complemented the alluring, dark interiors, such as the wooden features and warm tones. Having seen many snaps of the colourful, ‘extra’ molecular cocktails, I was expecting the interiors to emulate this, so I was surprised to be met with an understated, sleek venue as I made my way to my table.

Upon first glance, I was a bit overwhelmed by the extensive cocktail menu. Once I’d managed to familiarise myself with the different sections (and after a few Google searches of some niche ingredients), my friend and I decided to stick to the Chemistry & Theatre section of the menu - because of course we wanted the full show. I went for the Lava Lamp (£10.50) which was, indeed, a lava lamp. After I was taken aback by the test tube placed in front of me, the server then proceeded to add all sorts of colour-changing elements to my drink, with some mystical dry ice to top it off. The disco balls at the bottom of the test tube illuminated the sweet, fruity prosecco cocktail. My friend decided on Pop Notch (£10.50) which arrived in a classic margarita class, complete with a classic dry ice bubble. Is there anything more satisfying than popping one of these bad boys?

The Alchemist George Street - Edinburgh Reviews | DesignMyNight

The cocktails we tried from The Alchemist Edinburgh menu were spectacularly theatrical.

High on dry ice bubbles and neon disco balls, we decided to order some food. The eclectic menu showcased contemporary dishes, taking influence from many different regions across the globe. My friend was grateful to see an interesting range of vegetarian options, and was particularly drawn to the cauliflower bites (£7.50) to start. The sticky, spicy glaze went down a treat and set expectations high for the main event. I must admit, I was slightly disappointed with my salt and pepper squid (£8.50) which just didn’t quite hit the spot. However, my hopes remained high as I eagerly waited for my main course.

Now, I won’t pretend I wasn’t underwhelmed when my smoking board with BBQ chicken (£16.25) arrived at the table - a large skillet with a small amount of grilled vegetables and a sliced chicken fillet, topped with a slightly melted slice of cheese. The flavours were okay, however I was expecting a more impressive-looking board and some BBQ marinade on the chicken which appeared to be a plain breast. I maybe chose the wrong dish, as my friend was pleasantly surprised by her AFC flatbread with plant-based goujons (£12.25) which was covered in a lovely maple and Bourbon BBQ sauce. If there was ever a time where I was eyeing up someone else’s food as opposed to my own (surely it’s not just me?), then it was now. The food envy was real.

The Alchemist Edinburg Photos | DesignMyNight

If you're looking for cocktails on George Street, Edinburgh, The Alchemist is a great shout.

We decided to end the meal with a round of cocktails as opposed to desserts as we were keen to experience one last performance, opting for a Pop-sicle (£12) for a final bubble pop and a French Kiss (£11), complete with a tongue (a fake one, don’t worry). This fun gimmick was rather entertaining, especially when it kept falling in the drink and my friend had to retrieve it. The sharp citrus and sweet popping candy were a delightful combination and was the perfect end to a girly day out.

The DesignMyNight Digest

So, is The Alchemist worth the hype? For the cocktails, absolutely. As for the food, that’s up for debate; although my dinner date thoroughly enjoyed her meal, my main dish left a little to be desired. Overall, the captivating cocktails paired with the moody interiors set the scene for a luxurious night out, making this a must-try for those seeking TikTok-worthy cocktails and a good spectacle.

  💰 The damage: £89 for two.

  📍  The location: 51 George Street, EH2 2HT.

  👌 Perfect for: Girls night out or a fun date.

 ⭐ Need to know: Keep an eye out for the eye symbol on the cocktail menu, which indicates theatre.


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