Edinburgh has an extensive network of nightclubs with a broad range of music genres to suit all tastes. Whether you’re into up-market clubs, gay clubs, an eclectic mix of music, indie-rock, pop and dance, RnB or underground music, there is definitely something for you!
Surprisingly, it often seems to be the case that many people don’t know where to go to find their favourite music genre and party atmosphere.
My sister works in a bar and if she had a pound for every time she has been asked where the party’s at, well, she’d make more than the manager.
So I guess it’s time we set things straight and got people informed! I will give you the run-down on the clubs in Edinburgh worth checking out according to style and beats.
Clubs in Edinburgh tend to open at 10pm and close at 3am. However during the Edinburgh Festival, many clubs stay open until 5am to keep the insatiable crowds happy…its daylight when you go in and daylight when you leave…
Like most clubs in big cities, it’s cheaper or even free to get in to Edinburgh’s clubs before 11pm or midnight depending on the establishment. Drinks are often cheaper before midnight too, so make sure you check out the club’s promotions either before you go or when you get in there!
Clubs in Edinburgh tend to give you a stamp which allows you to leave and return at will. Many people arrive at the club at 10pm in order to pay the lower entrance fee or nothing at all and then go back to the pre-club bar until the dance floor is full. Not a bad plan at all…
I highly recommend carrying identification with you at all times even if you’re over 25 with a Tom Selleck moustache and loads of chest hair. The vast majority of clubs in Edinburgh have a very strict ID policy so take your driving licence or passport with you!
The same goes for dress code and large groups. I do not recommend trying to get in to an up-market or exclusive club wearing trainers. Turning up at a nightclub in a big group (especially men) will often cause you problems too. Bouncers tend to be wary (scared) of big groups of guys, so I recommend turning up in smaller groups.
If you love to get dressed-up, party in style and perhaps even rub shoulders with celebrities, head to George Street where most of Edinburgh’s up-market clubs are located.
At 125b George Street, New Town, below the famed hotel Tigerlily you will find the wonderfully opulent ‘Lulu’. The dance floor responds to the beat of the music and you will see Swarovski crystals glittering in the walls. Each night tends to bring a different musical direction and it’s no surprise that Monday night’s party is called ‘Decadence’. If you get there early (night’s usually start at 9pm) you can get in for free before 10pm.
On the same side of George Street(51a) but at the far end is the ‘Opal Lounge’, probably the most-renowned and up-market of all the clubs in Edinburgh and the number one choice for those with a reputation and those looking to build one.
The DJs are known for their ability to mix various musical genres to create an atmosphere that pleases everyone. The Opal Lounge is open 7 days a week and offers cheap entry before midnight and various drinks promotions.
If you’re looking for a club with a foreign vibe, look no further than ‘Shanghai’, Edinburgh’s ode to buzzing Chinese nightlife. This formerly pretentious club now boasts a varied clientele and even runs a great student night, Enigma, on a Tuesday. Saturday night may be fairly expensive at 10 for entry but you will be entertained by one of Scotland’s leading DJs, Scott Granger, who has remixed tracks for many top RnB and dance artists.
Shanghai is at 16a at the east end of George Street below the Vclub hotel and bar ‘Le Monde’.
Many clubs in Edinburgh try to tap into many different musical genres to satisfy as many of their guests as possible. These clubs are among the most popular in the city.
‘The Hive’ at 15 Niddry Street, Old Town, just off the Royal Mile does look a little bit like a beehive, I suppose. The low arched stone ceilings create an intimate, sweaty atmosphere especially when the club is full and the numerous separate sections and alleyways give the club an interesting layout and the scope to have a different vibe in each room. Fridays and Saturdays are big at The Hive with an eclectic mix to please the crowds and smashing drinks promos!
‘Espionage’ at 4 India Buildings, Victoria Street, Old Town, between The Grassmarket and George IV Bridge has five floors. Yes, five. The result of such an unusual layout is the love-hate scenario and not much in between. If you like the idea of having rooms to explore, different music on each floor and a slight identity crisis then you will love Espionage. A big plus-point is the free entry which means there’s really nothing to lose by having a look around!
One of the most popular clubs in Edinburgh at the moment is ‘Ponana’ at 43 Frederick Street on the stretch between George Street and Queen Street.
Set underground in what appear to be vaults, Ponana somehow manages to look stylishly grungy. Quiet drinks and conversations can be had in one of the numerous tomb-like booths until it’s time to hit the very intimate, electric dance floor at the back of the club.