Edinburgh is a city that truly comes to life after dark. Once the sun sets, the Scottish capital turns into a bustling hub of nightlife, with its historic castle and stone buildings providing an atmospheric backdrop. If you’re looking for a city with a diverse nightlife, you’re in the right place with Edinburgh. From quiet, cosy corners to buzzing party scenes, there’s something for everyone here.
From vibrant pubs and clubs in the chic district of Leith to the more serene and intimate spots nestled in the Old Town, Edinburgh extends a diverse selection for those seeking to experience the city under the moonlight. Boasting a variety of local hotspots and concealed treasures, Edinburgh nightlife scene caters to every inclination, guaranteeing a memorable night for both residents and visitors.
Whether you’re desiring a quiet pint at a traditional Scottish pub, swaying to the melodies of well-known DJs, or savoring the unique atmosphere of a quintessential whisky lounge, Edinburgh has you covered. With its constantly shifting nightlife panorama, the city keeps its denizens and tourists engaged, assuring a new experience waiting to be unveiled each evening.
In this guide, we will be sharing in-depth details on the premier venues to revel in Edinburgh’s nightlife, tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable night out, along with a brief on the typical costs associated with a night of merriment in Edinburgh. So, gather your mates, strap on your dancing shoes, and get ready to dive headfirst into the vibrant and fascinating world of Edinburgh’s nightlife.
Where to Party in Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s nightlife can be found across several key areas, making it simple to venture from one spot to another. Here are some of the most popular districts for a night out in Edinburgh:
Royal Mile: The city’s historic heart is home to a plethora of pubs and bars, as well as some of the city’s most notable landmarks. This area is ideal for a relaxed evening enjoying a pint and good company amidst beautiful surroundings.
Grassmarket: This trendy neighborhood is renowned for its lively pubs and clubs, making it a go-to spot for those seeking a more energetic night out.
George Street: Situated in the New Town, this central district boasts some of Edinburgh’s most fashionable and upmarket nightlife venues.
Leith: Located in the northern part of the city, Leith is a bustling neighborhood offering a mix of traditional pubs, stylish bars, and live music venues, making it a popular spot for a night out.
Cowgate: Known for its vibrant club scene, Cowgate is the ideal district for those who want to dance the night away.
Edinburgh Nightlife Tips and Advice
Like any city, it’s crucial to be conscious of your surroundings in Edinburgh and take common-sense precautions. Keep your personal items secure and never leave your drink unattended.
The legal drinking age in Scotland is 18, so carry ID if you appear younger.
Tipping is not obligatory in Scotland, but it’s usual to round up the bill or leave a small tip (10%) for excellent service.
Public transportation in Edinburgh is reliable, with buses, trams, and taxis operating until late. After hours, night buses run on select routes, or you can use a taxi or rideshare service.
The dress code for most pubs and clubs in Edinburgh is casual, but some high-end venues may require a smarter dress code. When uncertain, opt for smart-casual attire.
Cost of Partying in Edinburgh
Drinks: A pint of beer typically costs around £3-5, a glass of wine £4-7, and cocktails can range from £6-10 in most bars and clubs. Upscale venues may charge higher prices.
Cover charges: Some clubs in Edinburgh charge an entry fee, usually ranging from £5-10. Some venues offer free entry on certain nights or before a specific time, so check their websites or social media for promotions.
Taxis and rideshares: Fares will vary depending on the distance and time of night, but typically you can expect to pay around £10-20 for a short ride within the city center. Fares may be higher during peak hours or special events.
Best Bars in Edinburgh
Nestled discreetly in a basement on Queen Street, Bramble Bar is a treasure trove for cocktail enthusiasts. Regarded as one of the best cocktail bars in the city, its intimate and dimly-lit ambiance make it a cozy retreat. Bramble Bar boasts an eclectic mix of drinks on their menu, each crafted meticulously by skilled mixologists. Whether you are a gin aficionado or a whisky connoisseur, their innovative concoctions and twist-on classics are sure to impress.
The Devil’s Advocate
Situated in a beautifully converted Victorian pump house tucked away in the historic Old Town, The Devil’s Advocate offers a modern, yet timeless charm. The bar presents an impressive list of over 400 whiskies, craft beers, and a selection of innovative cocktails. Complemented by warm wooden interiors, a striking mezzanine, and a tranquil outdoor seating area, it’s an inviting location for both a leisurely afternoon pint and a spirited evening out.
Panda & Sons
Hidden behind the façade of a vintage barbershop on Queen Street, Panda & Sons is a unique blend of whimsical speakeasy charm and modern sophistication. Upon entering, guests are treated to a cozy, prohibition-era ambiance, replete with antique furniture, bookshelves filled with classic novels, and low lighting. Their cocktails are creative and playful, often served in quirky glassware, adding an element of surprise and delight to the drinking experience.
For an authentic taste of Scottish culture, Sandy Bell’s on Forrest Road is the place to go. This renowned folk bar hosts live traditional music sessions every night, providing the soundtrack to an unforgettable evening of revelry. Offering a selection of local ales and an array of whisky, Sandy Bell invites guests to immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Scotland’s music and drink scene.
A must-visit for those who prefer a traditional pub experience. Nestled in the heart of the city, this classic Irish pub is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, live folk music, and a broad selection of beers, whiskies, and ales. The wooden interiors and vintage decor transport patrons back in time, making it an excellent spot for both a quick pint and a leisurely meal.
Best Nightclubs in Edinburgh
Nestled within the heart of the Old Town, Cabaret Voltaire is an institution on the Edinburgh club scene. Situated in a network of old vaults beneath the city, this unique location contributes to its underground (both literally and figuratively) and intimate vibe. Cabaret Voltaire boasts two club rooms that cater to a wide range of musical tastes and hosts some of the city’s best club nights, including nights dedicated to techno, house, and indie music. Renowned for attracting top DJs and live acts, it’s a must-visit for music enthusiasts and night owls alike.
The Bongo Club
Tucked away in the bustling Cowgate area, The Bongo Club is a unique arts venue that doubles as a vibrant nightclub. The club is known for its eclectic mix of music, ranging from techno and house to reggae and hip-hop, and it hosts a variety of live performances and events. Its cultural relevance, creative spirit, and inclusive ethos make it a must-visit destination in Edinburgh’s nightlife scene.
The Liquid Room
In the heart of the Old Town, The Liquid Room serves as both a popular nightclub and a renowned live music venue. With a capacity of 800 and featuring a broad lineup of DJs and bands, this spot is a local favorite. Its spacious outdoor terrace is a particular highlight, making summer nights here a special treat.
Lulu Bar and Nightclub
Nestled underneath the chic Tigerlily boutique hotel on George Street, Lulu offers a more elegant clubbing experience. With its white leather booths, chandeliers, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, Lulu exudes sophistication. Top local and international DJs spinning a mix of house, R&B, and chart hits make it a magnet for the stylish set.
A stalwart of the Edinburgh club scene, Why Not on George Street continues to draw in the crowds with its mix of music, trendy interiors, and outdoor shisha lounge. The club’s iconic LED room with its fully programmable ceiling is a sight to behold, while the domed Glasshouse with its open roof allows for partying under the stars.
Edinburgh Pub Crawl
There are numerous options for Edinburgh Pub Crawls, and we highly recommend this site for an expertly curated list of the best nocturnal adventures in Scotland’s capital. From the historic charm of the Royal Mile to the bustling atmosphere of Grassmarket, these guided tours offer a comprehensive experience complete with traditional Scottish ales, whiskies, and insider knowledge from local guides.
Whether you’re exploring ancient taverns steeped in history, enjoying live Celtic music, or discovering hidden gems in the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, each pub crawl is designed to offer a unique and enriching experience of Edinburgh’s diverse pub culture. With seven distinct options to choose from, there’s an Edinburgh pub crawl that perfectly suits every traveler’s taste for adventure and revelry.
Edinburgh Nightlife Conclusion
The Edinburgh nightlife scene is truly something that can only be experienced in person. This city offers a diverse range of evening experiences, from the high-energy party scenes in the district of Leith to the quieter, intimate spots tucked away in the Old Town. Whether you fancy a quiet pint in a traditional pub, a night of dancing to renowned DJs, or a serene evening in a whisky lounge, Edinburgh’s ever-evolving nightlife guarantees a unique experience every night.
This guide arms you with the knowledge to fully enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Edinburgh. It covers all aspects, from the best places to party across the city’s districts – Royal Mile, Grassmarket, George Street, Leith, and Cowgate – to vital tips for a safe and enjoyable night out, and the expected costs. From cosy bars to energetic nightclubs, and useful insights into Edinburgh’s culture, you’re set to make the most of your Edinburgh nights.