15 Charlotte Lane, Edinburgh
0131 225 6060
Sygn is the capital’s original style bar and a firm favourite of cocktail connoisseurs across the city. When it comes to food and drink our philosophy is having fun. Expect kitsch re-imaginings of your favourites with a sprinkling of fresh new tastes to try. Our award winning kitchen and bar team have constructed an accessible menu that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re after a couple of quiet cocktails or a beautifully cooked meal this is the place for you.
Friday night at 6pm is an interesting time to review a bar in central Edinburgh. On the one hand, with the extra pressure of attending to herds of post-work punters, it’s arguably the best time to test service, quality of drinks and attentiveness of staff. But on the other, it’s not great for getting a real sense of ambience and little details that might take a place from good to great tend to get swept away in a sea of thirsty suits.
A foxing conundrum to be sure, but not one I was immediately concerned with when I arrived at Sygn, a bar tucked away behind Shandwick Place on Charlotte Lane. It was the weekend. I wanted a cheeky tipple. And I’d only ever heard great things about the bar, with praises galore heaped on their apparently very noteworthy cocktail selection.
Unsurprisingly, Sygn was packed to the hilt, but with elbows akimbo we managed to fight our way to empty seats in the quieter restaurant area. Sadly not for long: we were informed straightaway that the tables had been reserved for the evening. Not unreasonable, of course, but, shunted off to the sardines-tin bar, we did feel a little peeved that we couldn’t even use the tables till their occupants arrived.
Not the most auspicious start but hardly a buzzkill, we dove into what has to be one of the most gloriously imaginative cocktail menus I’ve clapped eyes on. Split into International Barflies, Tiki and Tropical Tipples, Party Punches and the shamelessly gimmicky 80`s Disco Delights, these cocktails were pure, unadulterated fun. And happily, as it turns out, very accomplished ones to boot.
Up first was the Wibble, a pale pink gin double whammy (sloe and regular), with crème de mure, lemon and grapefruit juice. It was richly, roundly fruity but also refreshing, with the tang of the grapefruit cutting through the sweet crème de mure nicely. Unusually, I could also pick out each ingredient in the mix – a bit of a cocktail Holy Grail – this was a perfectly balanced drink with real finesse.
Slightly less remarkable but nonetheless still excellent was drink no.2, the Periodista Daiquiri, a concoction of rum, Cointreau, apricot brandy and fresh lime. In my inexpert eyes it wasn’t recognisable as a traditional daiquiri, but no matter – the drink was smooth and honeyish, punctuated with sweet and sour citrussy pops from the orange and lime, and devilishly easy to swig down.
Returning to my opening musings, I would say that under the Friday-night microscope Sygn very much comes up trumps. Yes, crowd control could do with some-tuning, but service was slick, staff were friendly, and the drinks were made with skill and flair. The bar is modern and elegant but bucks the current trend for self-consciously quirky design; efforts are ploughed instead into just making really, really good cocktails. Recommended – just remember to book ahead!
Jane from Jane Eats Edinburgh
Flower Power ~ Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Pressed Apple Juice, Lemon Juice, Soda Water