Nightlife in Edinburgh

As the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is renowned as a popular tourist destination with plenty of attractions to keep you captivated.  It also boasts some of the best nightlife in the whole of the British Isles.  Although clubs and pubs abound, some recommended areas include the engagingly non-conformist Lothian Road, the student infested Cowgate area, and the more up market George Street.

Edinburgh Castle seen from Salisbury Crags
EdinburghKim Traynor / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

One particular highlight is the Edinburgh International Festival.  During the festival the city transforms itself into the heartbeat of culture with an abundance of festivals flourishing around the city.  Aside from this event, the following will give you an idea of some great nightlife spots to dance, or relax, the night away.

Recommended bars and pubs

Le Monde – one of the more popular and stylish places to hang out on George Street, the Hotel Le Monde is a hip boutique facility that houses three popular bars – Milan, Paris, and Vienna.  For a dressed-up evening of cocktails, this is the place. It’s also the perfect spot for a swish lunch or dinner.

The Doric – this establishment was named after Scotland’s northeastern dialect.  Located close to the station, the Doric is a 17th century “gastro” pub that is a great place to catch a last minute drink and snack before heading out.  Chicken curry is the specialty here but there is also haggis, neeps, and tatties for those who fancy  a “wee” bit of Scottish cuisine .

Theater Royal Bar – The distinct dramatic frontage and design of this establishment make it a welcome change from your traditional boozer.  Situated adjacent to Edinburgh Playhouse Theater, you can enjoy a cozy fire inside during the winter months or sit out front and do some people watching in the process.  The aesthetics of the Theater Royal Bar make it a must-see spot on your trip.

Recommended nightclubs

Cabaret Voltaire – located in the Cowgate District of the city, you will find this club in the ancient subterranean caverns and caters to the student and younger adult crowd.  The club is open 7 nights per week and features music ranging from disco and drum and bass to rap and reggae.

Espionage – located within walking distance of the Grassmarket and the Royal Mile, the club is five stories of fun-filled clubbing action in Edinburgh.  The club is like a labyrinth or maze filled with bars, dance floors, and numerous hidden nooks all of which are decorated differently.  Additionally, every night is themed and the music coincides with the chosen theme.

Opal Lounge – a club geared to more discerning patrons, you’ll find the Opal Lounge in the hip confines of George Street.  During his St. Andrews student days, Prince William was known to have frequented the club.  The club opens every evening of the week and features music that includes DJ’s, funk, R&B, and soul.

Finally, if you’re passion is live music, you’ll find all the classical and jazz venues you can handle at Whistlebinkies and the Jazz Bar respectively.  Opportunities to take in the Theater are also abundant.  The three most recommended spots include the King’s, Royal Lyceum, and Traverse Theaters.  One way or the other, you won’t be at a loss for things to do in the evenings in Edinburgh.

By Ross Withers who has also written about B&Bs for sale in Edinburgh and the UK, and is an avid home brewer.

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