Panda and his kin launched the family-run Edinburgh prohibition-style bar in November 2013 and it has since gone from strength to strength.
Panda is still very much involved in the business, while his two sons – Rupert and wee Benson – will be much more involved soon.
Don’t be fooled by the street-level barber shop exterior, it’s all part of the prohibition-style disguise. Once you get downstairs, though, the prohibition theme is strong with witty curiosities adorning the walls.
On the bar’s website, Panda says: “We are a hidden bar fusing the classic Prohibition style Speakeasy and a nod to the vintage-style barbershop.
“All we can say is that if you find a barbershop with some foreign currency, you have made it to the libation destination.”
Although there is a twee theme, centred around a fictitious panda and his family (you didn’t really think a panda owned a bar, did you?), the cocktails on offer are first-class, refined and intelligent.
There are six menus to peruse – Meet the Family (classics), Bartender Billy (tipples), Barber Branson (concoctions), Panda’s (selection), Rupert & Benson (selection) and Barbers’ Strike (mixed).
Although there is a wide choice of menus, the selection of drinks on each is relatively concise. What’s fun is each menu has a story to tell about the history of the Panda family.
On Meet the Family, you’ll find the likes of Angel Face, which is £9, and made using Star of Bombay Gin, Pere Magloire VSOP Calvados and apricot brandy.
On Bartender Billy, drinks include the Maverick Goose, which serves two and is made from Grey Goose Vodka, tropical oleo, citric and basil leaves which is topped with Lambrusco sparkling wine and costs £18.
Drinks on the Barber Branson menu include Amor Joven, which is made using QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan Mezcal, Arette Blanco Tequila, apricot agave, smoked paprika and lime juice (£9).
The fourth menu – Panda – has drinks like Raisin the Stakes made with Aberfeldy 12 Whisky infused with raisins, Pimento Dram, Maraschino Liqueur and peppermint bitters (£9).
Rupert or Benson is on the fifth menu and has cocktails such as Shreddy To Rock (£9), which is made using Sipsmith Gin infused with shredded wheat, Crème de Cacao, Lillet Blanc and whey syrup.
Finally, Barbers’ Strike is the sixth menu and has mixed drinks like Chai Fox, which is Star of Bombay Gin, chai syrup and Pimento spritz, costing £5.50.