The Alex Palumbo Tiramisu at Hey Palu

INSPIRED by the Italian way of drinking, the newly opened Hey Palu pays homage to the country’s rich and vibrant cocktail culture with a traditional aperitivo menu, bar snacks, and decor reminiscent of 1930s Italy. 

Located on Bread Street in Edinburgh’s City Centre, the aperitivo-led bar is owned equally by couple Alex & Rachel and Andrew. Alex and Rachel first met in London before working together at the famed Salt Room in Brighton, whilst Alex and Andrew had met previously in Edinburgh working for Compass Group. The trio spent years trying to find a suitable venue for their first venture together before finding the Hey Palu site. Breathing new life into the premises, Hey Palu is split into two spaces: the Campari space, a lively bar area suitable for pre-dinner drinks or late cocktails, and the Martini space – filled with ample seating to while away an evening at leisure. And for those wishing to take drinks away, the on-site off-licence sells bottles of the bar’s favourite libations – Negroni, Gin Martini and Rum ‘n’ Raisin Old Fashioned – to go.

Hey Palu: Decor

Campari and Martini, two of Italy’s biggest liquid exports, have heavily inspired the bar’s retro Italian decor. Original photos have been carefully selected to create an atmosphere of nostalgia and vintage Italy, with the Campari room adorned with a series of black and white photos from 1930s Italy from Rachel’s Great Aunt’s collection. Adding a modern feel to the venue, the contemporary features include plush blue seating, low-lighting and wooden counters.

Hey Palu: Drinks 

Cocktails take centre stage on Hey Palu’s drinks menu and embrace at least one product from Italian shores. With Vermouths, Amari, and Bitter Apperitivi a strong feature throughout their house-made creations, the team of mixologists believe their libations highlight their unique qualities. Guests can sip and savour on several house favourites, including: Palu Spritz (Select aperitivo, Rosato Spumante, strawberry, soda water and rose petal); Sgroppino (Amaro Montenegro, seasonal sorbet, Prosecco and lemon zest); and Milano-Torino (Gran Classico bitter, Cynar amaro, Punt e Mes vermouth, celery extract, sea salt and baby’s breath). Classic cocktails are also in abundance.

Elsewhere, a curated wine list spanning vineyards across the globe, beers, ciders, and spirits complete the extensive and lovingly put-together menu.

Meanwhile, those on the wagon and looking for low and alcohol-free alternatives can discover a treasure-trove of cocktails. Guests can order low alcoholic serves, such as: Cynar and Tonic (Cynar amaro, Fever Tree Light Tonic, lemon and Nocellara olive); Vermouth Daiquiri (Cocchi Americano vermouth, malic solution and Island Fruits), and mocktails, like the Sgroppino Crodino (blood orange sorbet, Crodino Blonde aperitivo and lemon zest).

Hey Palu: Food

While drinks are an integral part of Hey Palu’s offering, the food menu has been created to best reflect the values of Italian aperitivo culture. Shining a spotlight on seasonal produce, both local and from Italy, the perfectly formed menu sticks to simple and classic bites centred on the spirit of sharing. Guests can expect a trio of platters, including: Formaggi – three house cheeses, pickles, rum prunes, sherry tomatoes, honey and toasted ciabatta; Salumi – three house-cured meats, pickles, rosemary mixed olives, sherry tomatoes and toasted ciabatta; and, finally, Piatto – a selection of house cheese and cured meats, pickles, rosemary mixed olives, rum prunes, sherry tomatoes, honey and toasted ciabatta.

Smaller bites come in the form of oregano & sea salt crisps, rosemary mixed olives, and toasted ciabatta, e.v. olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For dessert, guests can order the effortless Italian classic: Affogato al Caffe.

Hey Palu: Events

Fun, lighthearted and educational masterclasses will be taking place every month. Hey Palu’s first gin masterclass, kicking off on 25th January, will educate guests about the history of the spirit through the medium of 3 cocktails, all featuring an Italian twist. Bar snacks will also be served to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

February marks the start of Hey Palu’s intimate aperitivo wine tastings – an evening where attendees will be guided through different grape varieties from several regions, allowing enthusiasts to sample a range of wines, accompanied with Italian nibbles.

With a sophisticated cocktail menu, coupled with a thoughtful approach to drinking, Hey Palu’s authentic serves celebrates the Italian way of socialising. Boasting modern decor flecked with timeless features, and a concise food menu, Hey Palu has started to find its voice among Edinburgh’s established drinking destinations.