You’ve got a few days to spare in Edinburgh Scotland, with your itinerary planned out for daytime, but what about the night time? If you don’t plan on watching the walls of your hotel room, then this list is for you. I’ve listed the 11 Best Nightlife in Edinburgh Scotland, although this list doesn’t include restaurants, activities and fine dining options- I’ve got other lists for that. Edinburgh is a city rich with culture, beauty and friendly people. It’s pricier than the average U.S. city partly due to the strength of the Pound, and you’ll want to dress for a colder climate. Despite the late sunsets, Edinburgh comes alive around 6pm where working class folk and students head to Pubs and restaurants to let off steam. Without further ado- here’s my top 11 Best Nightlife in Edinburgh Scotland…
1. PANDA & SONS
A somewhat speakeasy that’s very popular (and with good reason), I checked it out on my 1st night and was not disappointed. From the outside it looks like a barber shop, but once you descend the stairs, you’ll notice the great care placed towards invoking a unique ambiance of years past. It’s all in the details and no coincidence that it’s rated in the Top 100 Bars in the World.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: The BIRDCAGE was my favorite cocktail of all!
Lying elegantly in the lobby of this amazing boutique hotel, the bar, restaurant and lounge sports a very eccentric but eye-pleasing interior. The crowd are a bit well-to-do, and you won’t find teeny boppers in here. It’s the environment for a post-business deal drinks or a most likely spot for socialites. They can also make a solid cocktail if that’s your fancy. A great place to meet fellow foreigners or expats.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: Less shorts more blazer; a tad more upscale.
3. EL BARRIO
Salsa in Scotland?!?! Yes, and far from the judging eyes of expert dancers. One of the major challenges or barriers for (not professional) Salsa dancers is having fun without looking like an idiot. Oh, I just mixed Bachata into that Salsa turn- no sweat! You’ll find a lot of patrons just want to enjoy the music, vibe and cheap beer, without actually auditioning for Dancing With the Stars. Naturally, there’ll always be a few Latinas and Hombres there to represent the culture. It’s definitely a fun place and fully commits to the latin experience.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: Just dance!
Maintaining the same class as its upstairs compatriot TIGERLILY, this ultra chic lounge is intimate but open at the same time. The lounge leather couches, booths and tucked away dance floor lends itself to multiple experiences for patrons. It’s definitely classy and a spot filled with Scotland’s most beautiful. There are tiny plastic balls everywhere which encourages a fun and not-so-pretentious vibe, in a place where it’s easy to get caught up in pretenses.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: Closest to a Vegas nightclub as it gets.
5. BULLARD & WORTH
No Hyperlink this time- you’re on your own. This is a true speakeasy which I inevitably found on my last night. The bartender was solid, the cocktails were solid and the vibe almost feels illegal. Here’s a photo of the door, which is my only clue.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: Knock once…. & wait.
If live music is your thing, then check out some great local talent and a cool vibe at Stramash, conveniently tucked away in the narrow streets of Old Town. The acoustics are great, talent in abundance and guy-gal ratio acceptable. I especially liked the retro/old school rock played between breaks- really set the vibe.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: A live band venue that delivers.
I’ve got all demographics covered, hence Why Not Nightclub is featured for your younger crowd. It has multiple dance floors with the main one playing dance, electronic and popular music. There’s a slightly smaller room for hip-hop as well and an outdoor area. If you’re past your prime like me- this isn’t the spot for you, but if you would like to get rid of your college aged kids for a night or relive the glory days before smartphones, then have at it. The bouncers did warn me and my middle aged drinking buddy!
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: It’s the fanciest nightclub in your college town.
A great outdoor and indoor spot boasting supersized screens and tons of space. It’s a great choice for stag parties, watching soccer matches or attending one of the many parties and events they host. It’s also got half a dozen countertops for serving; too busy here? Ok, I’ll walk inside and order. Check it out.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: I’d go on the earlier side since the line wrapped around the corner during peak time.
I liked this spot- very spacious, modern and tidy. It’s a tale of duality; on one hand you have the raucous nightclub scene where dancers do their thing, but in the adjacent room it’s mellow enough for a chat or a date. I was even more impressed when one of the bouncers went back inside to retrieve my coat after a power outage.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: Not as juvenile as Why Not, but not as sophisticated as LuLu. Best Hip Hop DJ in town.
A real chillax place if you want to grab a drink with friends. It most definitely reminds of those fun bars you’d play beer pong or horseshoes. In fact there are ping pong tables within the main area and after a few drinks with the right mix of people, you’d be surprised how much your inner kid can surface. The bartenders were also great conversationalist.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: I can think of a few pals who’d become regulars if they lived in Edinburgh, and with good reason!
11. Head & Tales
Last but certainly not least- is the amazing Head & Tales. The bartenders are amazing and the scenery great. It’s another pseudo speakeasy like Panda & Sons, so definitely check it out.
TRAVEL DADDY RECOMMENDS: Have them whip up a “Spooky Bitch” or “Hooked on a Feeling” for good measure!
When your memory returns from a night out, you’ll see why the nightlife in Edinburgh, Scotland is nothing to be scoffed at. I’m sure you’ll no doubt add this city to your list of great nightlife cities of the world.